In The Spotlight - Hyst Coffee & Kitchen
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This month emmaheaven.com is shining the spotlight on...
Emmaheaven.com readers will already be very familiar with The Hyst, in Swansea. It is where I launched my business from, have celebrated many events and The Hyst is a home to The Ladies With Attitude. So it’s safe to say, we are good friends.
The latest addition to this tremendous establishment is the opening of a new daytime cafe, Hyst Coffee & Kitchen. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the brains and talent behind it: Yanni Hrysicos.
“My name is Yanni, I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia but have a Greek background. My parents emigrated from Greece to Melbourne back in the 950’s along with many other Greeks. Melbourne is now well known for its fantastic Mediterranean food, superb coffee and has become quite a haven for foodies.
Having grown up in that environment, with good home cooking, traditional Greek cuisine and good coffee, it was just part of normal daily life.
I’ve been in the UK for 20 years and noticed that especially in places like London, Bristol and Bath that there’s a big influence from Melbourne coffee shops. So I’m bringing a little of that to South Wales, further west and beyond the M4!
I originally came to the UK as a lecturer in Sports Science and Nutrition at Pembrokeshire College and Glamorgan University. I’ve always had a passion for good food, nutrition, sport, exercise and living a healthy life.
About 10 years ago I fancied a change of direction. I’d always wanted to open a cafe. I’d talked about it for years with friends and family over drinks. It would always come up in conversation, but like most people I just talked about it!
In 2007, out of the blue an opportunity came up in Tenby, with an empty property available. It had a spectacular sea view. It was time to take the plunge and just do it. I didn’t really have a clue what I was going to do or how to do it but it was time to stop talking about it and time to go for it.
Cafe Vista was born, and we carved our own little niche in Tenby. It was only a small place but boy did we punch above our weight! We served really good coffee, Melbourne style, and simple but great home cooked food, some of it Greek style. We built a great business and reputation.
A few years ago, with family circumstances changing and the birth of my daughter, we decided to move to Swansea and keep the business going in Tenby. But as time went on, it became increasingly more difficult to manage the shop from a distance.
In the meantime I had met Danny Evans from The Hyst while hosting some live music events. At my cafe in Tenby, I had combined my passions of coffee, food and music. I love really good music - jazz, folk and blues - and had started doing monthly shows at the cafe where I met some really great musicians. This led to me doing these events at different venues and places; and in turn, that led me to Danny and The Hyst.
While Danny and I got to know each other, I told him I was passing the business on in Tenby and was wondering what to do next. We started to hatch a plan…
The Hyst had recently been refurbished, with a new stage and state of the art sound system, becoming an evening entertainment venue, available for hire for parties and private events, live music shows etc. However it stood empty during the day.
So the plan was to team up where I would take over the daytime operation, which is how Hyst Coffee & Kitchen was born.
The cafe is open Monday to Saturday, 9am-5pm. We serve really, really good coffee, Melbourne style; a simple lunchtime menu of sandwiches and filled jacket potatoes; and some traditional Greek dishes from my mother’s recipes. All home cooked and totally authentic.
A few months after opening, in walked a man called Theo Kochlios. He had seen our sign outside offering Greek dishes. He introduced himself as a Greek chef who had been in Swansea for six months having come here from Greece where he had been a professional chef for 35 years, and had tutored at a catering college. As you can imagine, his repertoire is phenomenal!
We quickly teamed up. Ever since, we have been building and expanding the menu to include many new Greek dishes along with traditional Greek style pastries and cakes.
Our plan is to make the Hyst Coffee & Kitchen into a busy, successful destination cafe, offering good home cooked food, including traditional Greek food and really great coffee and cakes.
We have also started planning special themed food nights - unlike a regular walk in restaurant, we will have a themed event like a ‘fish, seafood and folk music evening’, where people will have the menu in advance, with pre-ordering essential so that all the produce is ordered in fresh earlier that day. It will be a night where people will eat great food, drinking wine and be entertained. An intimate dinner party that’s unique and special.
This really excites me as it’s my background, my passion, and part of my Greek culture - good food and great hospitality - and that’s very difficult to escape!”
You can visit Hyst Coffee & Kitchen at 218 High Street, Swansea, SA1 1PE
Telephone: 01792 654366
To keep up to date and find out more about their themed nights, follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thehyst
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