The Flavor of Love
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Iove is always in the air at Kit n Kitchen, where the aroma of attraction tugs on the heart-strings of diners, wooing them to partake in culinary goodness. And when guests finally dig in at this eclectic eatery on University Avenue, they indubitably end up falling for its dishes — and hard.
You can credit Kit and May Yiu — an inseparable husband-and-wife team since the restaurant first opened its doors a decade ago — for that chemical reaction. The couple’s love of food, and for each other, is readily apparent in the care and ingenuity they bring to a menu replete with Eurasian delights.
Dining Out recently caught up with the Yius who, even after 11 years of marriage, are still firm believers in the mantra, “Love is food for the soul.”
DO: It’s always great when people are able to do what they love, and it’s evident that both of you possess a love of food.
May: We really love food and we like to try different kinds of food. I grew up in Hong Kong, but spent some time during my high school years living in Quebec. It was there that I was introduced to a lot of French-style cuisine that’s often blended with a Canadian-style cuisine.
Kit: I was born and raised in Hong Kong, and later moved to Hawaii and graduated from Moanalua High School, and I’ve always loved food. I’ve been in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years and had many opportunities to travel, having worked in Japan for a bit. It was there that I was greatly influenced by the Japanese-European mix, as well as Italian. A lot of Asian and European twists also can be found in Hong Kong, and I grew up accustomed to that kind of flavor and cuisine.
DO: Diners can find many of these Eurasian influences in your cuisine. Could you name a few that they must absolutely try?
Kit: Our risottos have always been popular, and by popular demand we’ve added additional risotto variations to the menu. For example, the Lamb Risotto Rosemary ($13.95) features tender roast lamb seasoned with rosemary atop a Burgundy tomato sauce risotto with fresh onion, celery, tomato and a touch of Parmesan cheese. The Red Duck Pesto Risotto ($13.95) is unique with roasted duck atop a refreshing tomato pesto sauce risotto with a pinch of Parmesan cheese. The broth that we simmer with the risotto is really special.
May: Kit serves as executive chef here and we have many Chef’s Specials like Pepper Lamb (two pieces, $14.95; three pieces, $16.95; four pieces, $20.95), a rack of lamb grilled with herbs, black pepper sauce and a mix of vegetables. It comes with your choice of rice or spaghetti. The Red Wine Ox Tail Stew ($13.95) is also one that you’ll never forget. Served with jasmine rice, the ox tail simmers in a red wine sauce that gives off a tender yet powerful taste. The Osso Bucco Milanese ($16.95) is another favorite. This dish consists of beef osso bucco braised in an aromatic sauce with fresh Roma tomato, fresh vegetables and herbs. If looking for an appetizer, I recommend Kit’s Sampler ($9.95) that features escargot Wellington, beef chimichurri and garlic basil shrimp.
DO: That’s quite an eclectic array of flavors! Kit n Kitchen also has a Four-Course meal option. What is this all about?
Kit: The Four-Course meal is priced at only $19.95. For the first course, customers can pick from a Garden Salad with a homemade ginger dressing, Milano Tomato Soup, Creamy Corn Soup or a Creamy Mushroom Soup. Then, for the second course, you receive Kit’s Sampler, and as part of the third course, diners may choose one entree from the entree section of the menu. Finally, the meal wraps up with your choice of dessert — chocolate cake, ice cream sundae or cheese-cake. The four-course meal can feed one person, and wine pairing is available for an additional cost.
DO: You obviously have something special going on here — especially when it comes to the restaurant and your marriage. It’s a perfect pairing. How did Kit n Kitchen come to be?
May: We met in Hong Kong and shortly after we were married, Kit says to me, “You like to eat and I like to eat. How about we open our own restaurant?!” So that’s pretty much how Kit n Kitchen came to be (laughs).
DO: Do the two of you come up with all the recipes on your own?
May: Yes, Kit and I are both very creative and we’re constantly thinking of new items. We have our friends and customers try our new items, and if they like it then it goes on the menu.
Kit: I cook, but May’s the boss (laughs).
DO: Do you think that being married has been beneficial when working together in this business?
May: Of course! In the restaurant business, people can be out for themselves, but we really want the best for each other. We’re always looking in the same direction.
Kit: We do fight from time to time, but in the end, it’s all worth it.
DO: You’ve constantly been adding to your restaurant by including a very successful breakfast menu, for instance, that many say offers the best Eggs Benedict on the island. Any more plans for Kit n Kitchen?
Kit: Maybe opening another restaurant? We’re not sure yet. We have a lot of people approaching us to open another one. But we’re a tag team, so we’ll always be together at whatever restaurant it may be.
Kit n Kitchen
- Varsity Center
- 1010 University Avenue
- Honolulu, HI 96826
- (808) 942-7622
- Breakfast served Wednesday through Monday
- 8 a.m. – 11 a.m.
- Lunch served daily
- 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
- Dinner served daily
- 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.