Rich and Hannah Hayes

Rich and Hannah Hayes

by Victoria McGuin

There’s a welcome addition in Montville’s Main Street: the bright and stylish café, Little May Espresso.

The owners of Little May are Rich and Hannah Hayes, who moved to Flaxton from Port Douglas with their two boys in 2012.

“Rich had been working as executive chef at Nautilus, and we ran a private dining company,” Hannah explains. “We decided to be nearer our families, so Rich sent his CV to Cameron Matthews at The Long Apron on Spicers Clovelly Estate.”

Within two weeks of his interview, Rich was working as sous-chef at Clovelly, where he remained for three years until his own personal opportunity knocked.

“We both dreamed of having our own place,” smiles Hannah, “and we fell in love with this building.”

The space is breezy, comfortable and with fresh, organic, local produce used as much as possible. And for coffee aficionados, there is a tempting choice of blended or single origin coffees.

Artists from the area display their work for sale, which varies monthly. Western Avenue Floral Design provide striking, unusual arrangements and local builder/sculptor Rod Nash made the bench tops and herb wall.

“We really appreciate the support of the locals; that’s why we’re here. I love that the space brings people together.

“Quite often one person comes in and then another will pop in and go, ‘Oh, hi!’, and an impromptu catch up begins.”

Little May has been a labour of love. Hannah designed the venue and “bounced ideas” off Rich, who created the sumptuous, yet affordable menu of “real food”, and the boys enjoyed the “taste testing” along the way!

Having sampled a cappuccino and caramel custard tart (with espresso cream and banana jam), I would happily “taste test” there every day myself.