Hoku’s Sweetest Superstar EndingsColumns Jus' Desserts
June 16, 2013
Story By: Nicole Kato | Photos by: Rachel Breit
Within the walls of The Kahala Hotel & Resort sits Hoku’s, which features Hawaiian, Asian and European fusions that delight guests and locals alike.
These fusions are evident in dessert items that Michael Moorhouse, executive pastry chef for The Kahala, created.
Thai Basil Panna Cotta ($12) features traditional panna cotta infused with Thai basil leaves topped with ruby grapefruit granita and coconut sorbet.
“It’s also served with a little chip that is made with coconut rice pudding,” explains Moorhouse. The rice pudding is made from risotto rice cooked in coconut milk.
“This is a really unusual flavor combination, but it works well,” he continues. “I was shocked the first time I tasted the basil, grapefruit and coconut all together, but it’s a very pleasing dish. It’s one of my favorite flavor combinations.”
Moorhouse says the coconut flavor provides a base for the granita and basil flavor.
Haupia Katsu ($12) is inspired by one of Moorhouse’s favorite foods: katsu don.
“Before I moved to Hawaii, I never was exposed to a lot of Japanese food,” he explains. “I like haupia, I like frying things, so we decided to combine panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and fry it. We tried it one day as an experiment and it was really tasty.”
The fried pieces of haupia are served with a tropical fruit minestrone of papaya, mango and pineapple dressed with lime juice, as well as mango sorbet.
“It’s hot and cold, and creamy,” Moorhouse says. “It’s good and tasty.”
Hoku’s Molten Chocolate Cake ($12), served with seasonal accompaniments, also is a popular dessert among guests.
“It’s the ubiquitous warm chocolate cake,” Moorhouse says. “It’s a flourless chocolate cake baked to order. A while ago, we featured blood orange and bananas, but right now it’s vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries.
“It is something I wanted to take off the menu,” he explains, “because I think so many people do the molten chocolate cake — I wanted to try something new. But it’s something that our regular guests request all the time. Rather than fight it, I embraced it.”
And this is one dessert that Hoku’s absolutely has to keep on the menu.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.
Open for dinner Wednesday-Sunday, 5:30-10 p.m. Sunday brunch, 10 a.m-2 p.m.