Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Cattleya Wine Bar at OrchidsRestaurant Insider
October 20, 2019
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
ANNE LEE speaks with CHRISTIAN TESTA, chef de cuisine for Cattleya Wine Bar, Orchids and Lewers Lounge and, KEITH MALLINI, general manager
Born and raised in Genova, Italy, Christian Testa has just celebrated his three-year anniversary of working as chef de cuisine for Orchids, Lewers Lounge and Cattleya Wine Bar.
“My inspiration comes from cooking with my grandmother as a child — a lifelong passion that has translated into an innovative new menu at Orchids, with something special infused into every dish,” Testa says.
Since its inception, Orchids has been known for serving guests delectable dishes that reflect sophisticated simplicity.
With its Mediterranean menu concept, complemented by its unparalleled seaside location on the ocean at Halekulani, plus adding Cattleya Wine Bar, the restaurant as a whole offers a relaxed yet elegant ambiance that promises to deliver an extraordinary guest experience in each bite.
General manager Keith Mallini explains that his passion for the restaurant business stems from extensive restaurant industry experience.
Testa and Mallini further discuss some valuable insight about Cattelya Wine Bar at Orchids a few tapas and elegant wines.
AL: When did Cattleya first open its doors?
CT AND KM: January 2019 — we have created an informal space in the middle of Orchids, Cattleya the Wine Bar at Orchids. The cattleya flower is a specific genus of orchid. It’s very rare and they only bloom three days at a time. The cattleya orchid is also in the Halekulani logo, the logo on the pool as well as all of our Halekulani logo items. The concept of Cattleya Wine Bar was created to have a casual gathering place where guests can enjoy a glass of wine and some light fare created by chef de cuisine Christian Testa. This was also the vehicle that was created to do more Italian and Mediterranean wines.
AL: What type of cuisine is offered?
CT AND KM: Mediterranean and Italian influenced tapas style cuisine paired with curated offerings of wines by the glass. Upon entering Orchids, guests will first see the striking earpod wood communal table, with seating surrounding the table, to encourage a relaxed and more casual drinking and dining setting.
AL: What does Cattleya bring to the Hawaii food scene?
CT AND KM: Cattleya Wine Bar presents WineView, the first and third Thursday of every month for the remainder of the year. It is an informal and informative event, where we invite an expert to share their knowledge of the specific wines/regions that these varieties are selected from. Guests are invited to join us between 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. as there is not a formal presentation. They may taste the wines as well as enjoy light bites that chef de cuisine creates — $59 per person, inclusive. Reservations are strongly encouraged. We’re a really unique option for diners as there are not many Mediterranean/Italian cuisine options that are readily available.
• 5 ounces homemade fresh pasta cut into 2-inch-by-2-inch squares
• 1/2 tablespoon each of chopped garlic, onion, and shallot
• 3 ounces fresh scallops
• 3 ounces Kahuku shrimp
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 ounce Chardonnay
• 2 ounces avocado
• 2 ounces fresh tomato cut in half
• 1/2 tablespoon Italian parsley chopped
• Salt to taste
• Chili flakes to taste
Toss the extra virgin olive oil, garlic, onion, and shallots. Add the shrimp and scallops. (Ensure that the shrimp and scallops are cut the same size so that it cooks evenly and at the same time.) Add white wine and fresh tomato and cook for four minutes. Add a little bit of chili flakes and Italian parsley. Cook the pasta in boiling water with salt and a dash of olive oil. When the pasta is ready, saute all of the ingredients together with avocado for three minutes and serve.