Heine Kioskcafe: Great New Place For A Light Meal
You do not need me to write about coffee shops in a franchise. But if you want to have a light meal in Haifa in a spot with local flavour, then try out Asaf’s Heine Kioskcafe. I saw it from the street and it just called out to me. It is easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for, so put 2 HaYovel Street into your navigator. It is at the corner of Tchernokovsky.
This corner at the top of the French Carmel in Haifa was home to a green grocer for 40 years and then stood empty for 5 more when suddenly, 6 months ago, a breath of fresh young energy renewed the site. Asaf (28 years old) and two friends together opened three separate eateries under the name, Heine Kioskcafe, and today I happened by this one.
It is quite unassuming. At first glance it looks like old Israel – a few tables and chairs on a simple patio in front of a small shop-like arrangement. There is a cold drink refrigerator inside and to the left and a some shelves with a variety of snacks and baked goods for sale. Inside, it reminds me of the lottery shops you can still find in some places, lottery shops that used to be filled with smoke and the scent of Turkish coffee. Along the outer front edge is a counter with high stools, so typical in these types of places.
I just thought I would have a coffee and pastry but on the off chance they make sandwiches, as some of these places do, I asked Asaf about that and, lo and behold! Out comes a menu. Looks like typical light-meal fare – but I was in for a surprise.
I ordered a salmon toasted sandwich. These usually look the same wherever you order them in Israel. You get a huge bagel with cream cheese and a slice of salmon, flattened using a waffling iron. That is not what was delivered to my table. Look at the photo and you will see that this was toast with a twist. It had both melted cream cheese and yellow cheese with slivers of salmon. I loved it! It looked good and tasted just as good.
What was also pleasing was that it came with a salad that I actually ate with great relish (I don’t usually eat the salads that are added as side-dishes because they are usually so poorly done). The vegies were cut smaller than I have ever seen and it was hard to believe these were the product of human hands. But Asaf said that his intern cut them and that usually the salads are cut even smaller. It made for a most pleasant eating experience.
I could see the Carmelite Monastery from my table:
Asaf sought to open a people-oriented coffee-shop eatery. Even though he completed his higher education in gourmet cooking and managed four restaurants in Romania, he wanted his own enterprise to be more down-to-earth. His location is perfect for that. Somewhat out of the way, he caters to local residents, most of whom come by foot – older people and mothers with children. His own friends drive in and I was intrigued enough, seeing people sitting outside by the road, to turn into the small road and park to have my second cup of daily coffee that turned into coffee and a sandwich.
Just about any time you want to drop by, Asaf will be there. He is a very hard-working entrepreneur. Open till 10 pm every day except Friday – open till 6 pm on Fridays.
During the time I was there, a steady flow of customers came and went. Most of them know Asaf and the atmosphere was friendly and neighbourly. Made me wish Asaf had opened around the corner from my place of residence. He would have seen me there a lot. That is a certainty. In any case, I have to go back one day to try his soups.