Brunch Fare That’s Made from Scratch
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It’s the middle of the morning — not quite breakfast or lunch — but that hasn’t stopped a steady flow of eager diners from walking through the doors of Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop.
As some settle down at tables, others leave with leftovers or doggie bags full of fresh-baked pastries that Scratch also sells. Owner and chef Brian Chan stops for a moment to thank a couple of diners on their way out who can’t seem to stop telling him how much they loved it.
All of this seems like a normal day for Scratch.
It has been open now for just over a year, having celebrated its first anniversary last week. With a playful and inventive menu that offers a mix of the savory and sweet, Chan continues to explore Southern and Latin flavors — a concept that comes from, well, what he likes to eat.
“It’s just from travels on the Mainland,” says Chan. “I love Mexican food; it’s probably my favorite thing to eat.”
His love for that cuisine has given way to items like Chilaquiles ($12), a savory and flavorful dish made with chicken that is shredded into thin, tender strips. It is then combined with a roasted tomato-chipotle sauce and freshly fried tortilla chips. Topped with lime crema, queso fresco and sunny-side up eggs, each bite is an exploration of the senses.
Representing the second half of Chan’s inspiration for the menu at Scratch is Creole Shrimp n’ Grits ($14). It’s a dish so authentic that Chan ships in his grits from South Carolina. Prawns from Kauai bring a local touch, and hominy (dried maize) gives it some added texture. Served with spicy smoked sausage, red-eye gravy and fried eggs, it’s all at once an indulgence that feels sort of like slipping under the covers for five more minutes after your alarm goes off.
There is, of course, some usual breakfast fare, though Chan puts his own spin on things.
Pancakes, for instance, aren’t made of just batter. Chan’s “Milk & Cereal” Pancakes ($10) includes one key ingredient: Frosted Flakes. The dish is served with a medley of fruit (whatever is in season) and “milk” syrup, made with three different types of milk.
The result is a stack of no ordinary pancakes that achieves exactly what Chan sought to create: “You know, when you’re done with your cereal and you have that milk in the bottom,” he explains.
Scratch’s most popular item, however, is the BLT Benny ($12), Scratch’s take on a BLT for breakfast. This one is made with thick-cut, smoked bacon, kale and tomatoes. Chan takes it one step further by brushing a little bit of bacon grease onto the English muffin to enhance each bite. Its finishing touches are in line with a traditional Benedict — with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce — and it’s served with “smashed taters.”
Breakfast is served all day, with a handful of lunch items offered from 10:30 a.m. And for customers who want more, beginning Wednesday, Chan will do a popup dinner service with a menu that will change weekly.
For more information on that, visit scratch-hawaii.com.
Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop
1030 Smith St., Chinatown
8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily