Arvo in Paiko Is Our Dream Neighborhood Coffee Haunt
So much prettiness, so much yumminess, so many flowers.
The rose latte with dainty floral notes is topped with roasted pistachios and edible flowers. Very Instagram-worthy.
Photos: Natalie Schack
Morning just got a little more Instagrammable. Arvo, the Aussie-inspired coffee shop that just opened up in the former Paiko Brue Bar space in Kaka‘ako, couldn't have chosen a prettier, airier venue. Pincushion protea and monstera are tucked into every corner of the floral boutique, while pretty local ceramics and charming curios stock the shelves.
Nestled against the floor-to-ceiling windows, the Arvo café tables are in a prime spot for catching that ample Honolulu sunshine—which means the pics you snap of those painstakingly prettified lattes and toasts will get the best possible lighting. At Arvo, it’s all about having an eye for style.
That’s not surprising, considering Mason and Dixie Rose, who founded the café with Dixie’s sister, Casey, are in the photography and fashion industries. Mason also hails from Australia, so you’ll find quite a few nods to Aussie coffee culture and tastes in Arvo’s (Aussie slang for “afternoon”) small, but tasty, menu. Opt for a lattelike flat white, a blend of rich ristretto-style espresso and milk, or long blacks, the Australian version of Americanos. Vegemite, a dark, salty spread beloved in the land down under, is also found on the food menu. Or, rather, we should say the toast menu.
The popular—and pretty—smoked salmon and loaded avocado toasts are gorgeously presented on a rustic wooden boards.
While Arvo has a non-toast option here and there (matcha chia seed pudding with whipped cream and a whole passel o’ fruits, anyone?), it’s definitely got its head primarily in the crisped bread game—and we’re OK with that. Avocado toasts ($6.50), fresh greens and chunks of tomatoes, smoked salmon ($7) with tangy dill and cream cheese, and fresh fruit with Nutella ($6) are all divine, if simple, meals in our book. Gorgeously presented on a rustic wooden plank and with edible flowers, these delicately arranged, snackable creations do take some time to make. And, yes, you could make them yourself, but the last time we treated ourselves to an intricately laid-out banana-and-strawberry-slice-covered toast garnished with flowers was just this side of never—what about you?
Coffee drinks are just as pretty. We tried the ultra sweet, beautifully green matcha latte and two specialty options perfectly fitting the hip, florist atmosphere: lavender ($4.50), which tasted a bit oppressively like a bar of soap and is one we’d pass on in the future, and rose ($5), a wonderfully subtle treat with dainty floral notes we’ve been craving daily since. Delicious drink aside, it was also topped with roasted pistachios, which we’ll now miss on every sans-pistachio latte we get from here on out. Oh, and latte art lovers, you will not be disappointed. Like we said: Instagram-worthy to your heart’s content.
In sum, if you start your day off demanding high-concept, chef-prepared cuisine that challenges your taste buds, skip Arvo. (Or, if you don’t like toast. Do those people even exist?) If you’re looking for one of the prettiest casual munching spots in the city, with serious style, a great taste for simple, familiar flavors and a coffee menu that’s just the right amount of different, don’t walk, run to ‘Auahi Street and come say hi. We’ll probably be hanging out and taking in the charming atmosphere ourselves.
Paiko, 675 ‘Auahi St., 988-2165. Arvo is open Monday–Friday, 7:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and Saturday–Sunday, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Validated parking is free for the first hour and $2 for every hour after in the SALT Garage (entrance on Keawe Street). Metered street parking is also available.