Spring into Season
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Spring is making its way into oceanfront restaurant Orchids this month, as part of its monthly lunch specials. Located at the five-star Halekulani hotel in Waikiki, the restaurant features a seasonal “Chef’s Special Menu” with salad, an entree and dessert. Customers may choose two courses for $28, or all three for $38, available throughout the month of April.
Asparagus Spring Salad headlines the menu. The dish looks and tastes like spring: Fresh green and white asparagus are topped with grilled strawberries, and adorned with a colorful variety of delicate microherbs and vibrant edible flowers. Creamy herb buttermilk dressing ties the dish together, along with a garnish of pink peppercorn and strawberry compote.
“The colors and flavors of the dish are bright and refreshing in honor of spring — the peppery tartness of the compote is made from a cabernet reduction, a mixture of herbs, lemon peel and ginger,” says Robin Abad, sous chef at Orchids. “Also, we, as a restaurant, do our best to source local as much as possible.” Select ingredients in the salad are sourced from Waialua farms, ‘Nalo Farms and more.
The second course is a play on the humble dish of Pork, Peas and Carrots. “Peas and carrots are a very familiar, ‘American’ kind of dish, and we went with that and added some flavors that we love,” says Abad. The tender pork loin is brined for several days and then roasted and served with smoked tomato sauce infused with Asian flavors of garlic, ginger, paprika and more. The plate is accompanied by a medley of vegetable purees, which adds another layer of visual dimension and texture to the dish.
For dessert, executive pastry chef Mark Freischmidt brought in his pastry staff to be involved with the planning process. “It’s important for me to include my staff — they come up with ideas and get to develop their pastry skills. It’s a great learning process for them,” says Freischmidt.
The Tropical Chocolate S’more is inspired by a staff member’s childhood memory. “S’mores are whimsical, something you might have had as a child, and the tropical flavors bring in the essence of Hawaii,” says Freischmidt. There’s honey graham sable, Grand Mariner truffle, marshmallow and “Pabanana” sorbet, which is an assortment of fruity flavors like banana, mango and lilikoi.
The Chef’s Special Menu is available until the end of the month. Taste the seasonal course Mondays through Saturdays, excluding Wednesdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are required, so call 923-2311. For more information about the hotel, visit halekulani.com.
* Part of Chef’s Special Menu; $28 for two courses, $38 for three courses
Orchids at Halekulani
2199 Kalia Road, Waikiki
Monday-Saturday, breakfast: 7:30 – 11 a.m.; lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; dinner: 5:30 – 9 p.m.
Sunday, brunch buffet: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.