Over the past five years, Common Ground Coffee & Kitchen has provided the residents of Hurstville in New South Wales the kind of artisanal café experience you’d expect in the ‘coffee capitals’.
“I honestly think it’s one of the best cafés in the area. We’re known for our great food and coffee,” says Co-owner Harvi Singh. “My background is working as a chef, so we take a lot of pride in our food.”
While Harvi and Co-owner Amit Khatri enjoyed sharing their culinary experience with customers, built over years of travelling the world, he knew Common Ground could do more with a larger space. When another location in the same Westfield shopping centre opened up in 2020, Harvi saw an opportunity to bring to life the café he spent five years envisioning.
“It’s very chic industrial. It continues the industrial look we previously had, but with more refined and modern elements,” he says.
“It’s a fantastic location, more open and in the middle of the centre, so there’s a lot more traffic. We were closed for about two months during the move and the best part of reopening was really seeing all the regulars come right back. They missed us, which was great to see.”
Harvi says Common Ground’s new look has continued to prove popular with customers since the reopening in November.
One of the many cool elements combining the chic and industrial themes are brass pipes hanging from the ceiling that dispense takeaway cups for the barista. The centrepiece is an electroplated bronze Tech-Bar below-counter espresso machine, one of the first of its kind in NSW, maximising bench space while inviting customers into the coffee making experience.
“The Tech-Bar works like a dream, and with it, our espresso stands apart from the rest,” Harvi says.
“There was always a lot of clutter on top of the bench [in cafés], and having the machine there, blocking out the customer, just didn’t make a lot of sense. But people just got used to the idea. Now, when customers see something like the Tech-Bar, they actually stop. It starts a conversation. It’s a great icebreaker as well as looking really good.”
Common Ground serves coffee from San Pedro, running its Super X blend for milk-based coffee, Cartwheel for black, as well as the Night Bloom blend and rotating single origins for filter. Harvi says the recent partnership began out of a desire to serve a bolder coffee.
“We did a lot of research and San Pedro hit all the right notes for us. I think the market here is NSW is a little obsessed with lighter roasts,” he says.
“These guys from San Pedro came in with this darker roast, that was bold with a lot of character and way less acidity. It packs a punch and that’s what I like in my coffee.”
On the food side of things, Harvi says the menu takes inspiration from many influences, particularly Taiwanese dishes. The Pork belly and Crispy fried chicken bao, served with Asian slaw, peanuts and toasted sesame seeds, is a particular favourite, though with such a diverse menu, Harvi says there is something for everyone.
“We have lots of different people come in, with a good balance of ages and backgrounds,” he says.
“That’s what I wanted to do here with this café, create a common ground for everyone.”
Common Ground Coffee & Kitchen
Westfield Hurstville, 301/3 Cross Street, Hurstville, New South Wales, 2220
Open seven days 8:30am to 5pm