Where Chefs Eat: Coffee Pen's Yas & Fumi Hisai Share Their Top Spots In Auckland

Yas and Fumi Hisai share their favourite places to eat and drink around the city


Coffee Pen’s Yas and Fumi Hisai. Photo / Babiche Martens

Coffee Pen is the definition of a hidden gem; tucked away down a side street in Eden Terrace with owner Yas Hisai and his wife Fumi just the welcoming personalities you hope for at your local coffee shop. Go for the coffee — it’s their own handcrafted blend — and stay for the lunch specials, sandwiches, and signature home baking.

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The couple opened their cafe three years ago after moving from Sydney, where Yas worked as a barista since 2001. He was inspired by the strong cafe culture in Australia where all ages come in for a coffee, which he says is so different from Japanese cafe culture.

“I opened Pen to be nothing special like an izakaya in Japan,” says Yas. “Just a corner cafe that becomes part of the community like a good friend’s house. We serve simple, good and reasonably priced homestyle food.” 

• Find Coffee Pen at 6 Basque Rd, Eden Terrace

Cosy up at Coffee Pen with daily lunch specials and signature cheesecakes. Photo / Supplied

What dish would you recommend at Coffee Pen?
The Reuben beef sandwich. We make the corned beef and red cabbage sauerkraut from scratch and add English mustard, cheddar cheese and rye bread.

Hare and Turtle Cafe on New Windsor Rd for coffee and cabinet treats. Photo / Supplied

Where do you go for coffee?
We like Octo, Good Day Cafe, Sea Breeze, Hare and Turtle and Kokako.

A no-expenses-spared dinner?
Pasture and Cazador. Their food is always great.

READ: Restaurant Review: Jesse Mulligan's 20/20 for Pasture, Parnell

For the best fresh produce, Yas and Fumi reccomend OMG on Symond's St. Photo / Supplied

Where is your favourite takeaway spot?
Eden Noodle for the won ton soup, pork mince noodle with pickles. Or Sal’s pizza after a late night out drinking.

What about fresh produce?
OMG (Organic Market Garden) in Eden Terrace has the best produce. Everything tastes so good. Our local vege shop on Khyber Pass Rd sells good seasonal veges.

The Coffee Pen duo can'ts go past Pasture's cult favourite sourdough bread. Photo / Supplied

A quick and tasty dinner?
Apero for their weekly specials, great atmosphere. They always choose interesting wines. Ima has lots of interesting flavoured food and we love their Kanafeh dessert. Viet Kitchen in Mt Eden does a great papaya salad. If you don’t know a lot about Vietnamese cuisine the waiter always gives good recommendations.

READ: Where To Find: Auckland's Best Bread

And a loaf of bread?
Pasture, their sourdough is the best!

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