Stephen Chew likes to say that he is not a professional restaurateur. But with several years of success and multiple restaurants in his portfolio, one might want to question that premise. The newest project launched by him and his partners is called, H29 Coffee and Wine Bar, located in Burlingame, California (South of San Francisco and North of Palo Alto).
The cafe was named after the historic Highway 29 in Napa Valley, and the wine connection does not end there. The decor is sleek and industrialized, but in a warm and breathy wine-country theme. The rooms are divided in general between a streamlined “to-go” coffee shop which stays fairly busy during the day, and a larger restaurant and wine bar which serves food and wine for those who want to sit and take their time.
Says Stephen, “This space was originally another one of our restaurants, which we moved to another location. Then we used it as a kind of pop-up for Thai ‘river food.’ The food was good, but it took too much work to explain to people the difference between it and regular Thai food. So we decided to gut the space, event to the ceilings, and do something really different.”
One successful difference is that they have brought to the upscale town of Burlingame, flowing with tech and finance money, an affordable and stylish wine bar. Of course they have an extensive selection of vintages from which to chose, but what stands out most is their inexpensive yet high quality selection of wines on-tap. These includes labels such as Hahn and Liberty School.
The food is intriguing, and one of our favorites is the Cauliflower Risotto with Grilled Shrimp. The dish is made without rice, and uses the cauliflower as its base. The flavors mixed together have an appealing bite, and are quite appealing.
For anyone on the San Francisco Peninsula looking for a great glass of wine in a cool environment with tasty food and coffee, we recommend H29.