Kopi Bar is a coming full circle of a series of coffee-centric projects for Chef Nora: Executive Chef at Crema, Monkey Forest Road, then Culinary Operations Manager at Blue Bottle to Drip Line, her own concept and ode to Indonesian cafe dishes with a Northern California lens. And before all of this, she was inspired by friend Luigi Du Ruocco’s Coffee Bar and Mr. Espresso’s generations-long mission to bring true Italian espresso and oak wood roasting to California restaurants.
On pastry: Chef Nora may be most known for her art of blending Nusantara spices, fruits and other ingredients with laminated pastry such as croissants, cruffins, and danishes, as well as tarts and variations on coffee cakes or single layer, pound cakes, and more.
The Menu/What’s on Offer
Kopi Bar is a blend of Indonesian coffee drink pairings, the guiding principles of West Coast sourcing and roasting, and espresso-brewing technique. The beans at Kopi Bar are locally roasted, direct trade. Partners include multigenerational family-owned Mr. Espresso of Oakland, and Beaneka in Concord, Indonesian-immigrant owned. Pairing ingredients are all natural, fresh, and/or prepared from scratch.
Coffees tend towards medium roasts, in contrast with the quite-dark roast popular in Indonesia. The Kopi Avocado is made from fresh, whole avocado – no powdered fruits or artificial flavors and colors. Inspired by a recent trip Chef Nora made to Bali, made in a Californian way.
Chef Nora Haron was born and raised in Singapore, and is of Indonesian-Indian descent. Both Chef Nora’s Javanese mother and grandmother are the biggest influences in shaping her culinary point of view today. Her grandfather’s family on her mother’s side was from the Kerala state in South India and her grandmother’s family was from West Java, Indonesia. Her father’s side of the family are of mainly Indonesian background, with some South Asian background as well.
Chef Nora’s passion for diverse-influences cooking ignited while helping her mom prep meals in their Singaporean home and tasting her way through the enticing neighborhood ristorantes of Lucca, Italy. Upon returning to California, Haron attended the San Francisco Baking Institute. Burnishing her skill set, most recently as Head Kitchen Manager and Culinary Operations Manager for Blue Bottle Coffee, and previously, Director of Food Operations for Farley’s, as well as Executive Chef at Monkey Forest Road and Crema.
Advocating for super-local, sustainable, organic, and exotic ingredients, Haron is a vanguard in the kitchen and a revered baker of artisanal, house-made breads and pastries. She was Executive Chef at Drip Line Oakland, a café and gathering place in the heart of West Oakland, and recently Executive Chef and Partner at Local Kitchen in SoMa SF, Rincon Hill.
Chef Nora was the Founder and Executive Chef of the popular Pandemic Pop Up IndoMex, in Oakland, CA.
Chef Nora is currently the Director of Culinary for Killiney Kopitiam, USA and Executive Chef of SanDai Restaurant + Kopi Bar.
amanda toh steckler
With her life & family spanning Singapore to the San Francisco Bay Area, Amanda Toh Steckler loves how food brings people together. An avid cook and prolific host, Amanda was always struck by how Singaporean cuisine is not defined or represented by any single nationality, and how each dish connects people from a myriad of cultures. When she first lived in Palo Alto from 2014 – 2019, Amanda discovered how difficult it was to find classic Singaporean dishes in the US. She is passionate about sharing Singaporean cuisine with everyone who loves food adventures or memories of home, as not everyone has the luxury to travel to sip Kopi.
Amanda collaborates with Chef Nora Haron, the first Singaporean Chef to make Laksa at the James Beard House in NYC. In addition to her love of cooking, hosting & sharing food cultures, Amanda is a car collector and board member of the Magical Bridge Foundation.