Sentinel Café

Sentinel Café

A sentinel serves as a diligent and watchful eye, keeping the interests of the locality in mind. This title is aptly applied to the Hamilton café and its consultant, Craig Paul, who oversees Sentinel Café in the town’s business district.

Since the café’s beginning in May 2020, Craig has been involved in the café’s design and project management with Foster Construction alongside wife Courtenay, as a part of their consultancy business called Tabletalks.

Situated on the ground floor of an office building, Sentinel café holds a considerable advantage for corporate customers, boasting four executive meeting rooms which are available for hire.

The café’s culture is centred on providing a comfortable ambience, which is facilitated by its design features. The foyer layout is spacious, with accessible areas exhibiting wooden and plant accents that are warmed by gentle, spherical lighting.

“It’s one of only a few foyer-style cafés in Hamilton’s CBD,” says Craig. “The entrance is through the main doors of the building, and you come in from the side of the café, meaning you see the whole café in operation as you walk through.”

Sentinel Café’s team consists of two front-of-house staff, two chefs and two baristas.

“It’s a fully managed café, so everybody’s responsible for their part of the operation there, the team are really passionate about providing a quality product,” says Craig. “They work together a lot and they’re very proud of the product they deliver.”

The baristas utilise the white Victoria Arduino Black Eagle to serve Grey Roasting Co.’s Daily Blend. Two-time New Zealand Barista Champion Dove Chen is the founder of the Hamilton-based coffee roaster.

“Originally when we were looking at the different roasters in Hamilton, Dove’s brand appealed to us with the quality of his products and the ethos of his business,” says Craig. “We always have our baristas focused solely on making our high-quality specialty coffee, making sure that it’s made extremely well and to a high standard. That is certainly our target, and accompanying that with really healthy food.”

Sentinel Café offers seasonal menus, with an emphasis on nutritious and fresh ingredients. A popular summer favourite is its nourish bowls, which form a big part of the menu when the warmer months roll around. Craig also advises trying one of its cinnamon scrolls.

“We have one of the best cinnamon scrolls in the CBD and to be honest, the reason that I pushed them is because of a baker that does wholesale supply to my absolute favourite Melbourne café,” he says.

“A lot of what we look at, in terms of what we like to do, comes out of Melbourne, actually. I’m always looking at what other people are doing and ways that we can take that item and make it friendly in the cafés that we consult to.”


586 Victoria Street, Hamilton, New Zealand, 3204

Open Monday to Friday 6:30am – 3:00pm

This article appears in the December 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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