A Bakery that goes Above and BeyondCover Story Features
May 6, 2015
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
From the moment Fendu Boulangerie debuted at Manoa Marketplace six years ago, diners have been captivated by the refreshingly simple concept of having a neighborhood bakery dedicated to providing an array of all-natural, freshly baked goods and pastries. Nowadays, as the years have progressed and the menu has evolved, customers across the island are realizing that there’s much more to this cozy bake shop than meets the eye, as its flavorful and made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch and dinner items have been home runs as well.
While loyal patrons are stopping in regularly for their fresh baguettes and classic Miche loaves ($5.85 each), they’ve become accustomed to starting their day with a tantalizing Bacon Egg and Cheese Panini ($7.50), or devouring a rustic Oven Roasted Smoked Turkey and/or Black Forest Ham Sandwich ($7.60) for lunch.
“We wanted to offer baked goods that are made without chemicals and are fresh, so people don’t have to go buy frozen entrees … When they’re on their way home, they can stop in — they don’t have to cook, they don’t have to clean — and they can still have something that’s healthy and delicious,” says chef and owner Niel Koep.
Mirroring the quintessential breads and pastries Fendu provides, its entrees are based on tried-and-true comfort foods that all diners can relate to. Yet, because of the bakery’s attention to quality control, use of local ingredients and thoughtful flavor combinations, the selection of gourmet sandwiches and paninis, hearty pizzas and more are unlike anything you’ll find in neighboring shops.
“The whole focus is to make things that taste really good,” says Koep, when describing his desire to focus less on the trendiness and presentation of dishes and more on the quality of their flavors.
Fendu Boulangerie’s diverse menu items range from a creative Basil Pesto and Goat Cheese Pizza ($12.25, 8 inch; $18.75, 14 inch) — yes, the dough is made in-house! — to a mouthwatering Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich ($7.65) prepared with locally made and organic Kaiulani Spices.
A host of one-of-a-kind specials also are inspired by all-time favorites. Koep’s take on Squash Soup is dressed up with curried shrimp and brioche croutons ($6.75), while Japanese Eggplant “Lasagna” ($10.25) is baked to perfection with local eggplant.
When it comes to Island Style Chicken Pot Pie ($12.25), green papaya and Okinawan sweet potato enhance the dish. “I’ve stayed within the classical roots of things, and added a little island flair here and there,” explains the owner. “The food is more comforting that way.”
The bakery’s gold mine of desserts continues to be among its key offerings, with Valrhona Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake’s ($4.75 per slice, 7-inch round $36, 10-inch round $48) layers of sinfully delicious chiffon cake and mousse remaining irresistible to diners. Buttermilk and Fresh Berry Panna Cotta ($4.85) also stands out as “the wahine dessert, because women love that one!” expresses Koep. The modest baker notes that a variety of gluten-free options, including purely magical Pate de Fruit squares (99 cents each, $10 for a dozen) are available as well.
Just as the recipes bakers work with are precise by nature, Koep has managed to find the exact combination of dishes that works for his customers at this stage of Fendu Boulangerie’s story. So whether he’s selling a good ol’ loaf of Multigrain Bread with Flax Seed ($5.60, $3.85 petit) or pressing a Basil Pesto Chicken Panini ($8.95) into melted heaven, at the moment Koep is happy with making a well-rounded assortment of purely good eats for his guests to enjoy. It really is as simple as that.
2752 Woodlawn Drive
Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m.