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Island flair fills new tapas menu, debuts today

Inside Feature

March 1, 2020

Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

After a multi-million dollar renovation of the old Waikiki Parc Hotel, the Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani opened its doors last fall, welcoming in a new era for the luxury brand.

Waikiki’s newest boutique hotel, as imagined by New York City firm Champalimaud Design, is an oasis of aesthetic harmony. With the Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant, located adjacent to the hotel lobby, the Halepuna offers world-class baked goods, chocolates, cocktails and cuisine as part of its considerable appeal.

“The bakery at Halepuna Waikiki was inspired by the decision to feature a food and beverage outlet that complements the offerings at Halekulani,” explains general manager Julie Arigo.

As a splendid new option for breakfast, lunch, cocktails and dinner, the Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant boasts state-of-the-art European equipment; an international staff of experts; locally sourced ingredients and a chocolate-viewing kitchen so you can watch as your favorite treats are concocted.

Chef de cuisine Aaron Furuto brings a local boy’s sensibilities to the elegant dishes he has created for the restaurant. Dishes like Molokai Venison Rack and Cioppino, fragrant with saffron and loaded with Kauai Shrimp, have become favorites with local guests. And the Warabi and Opai Salad, with Big Island fiddlehead ferns, red onions and tomatoes, is inspired by Furuto’s grandmother on Hawaii Island.

With a menu developed by executive pastry chef Mark Freischmidt, baked goods here are out-of-this-world. “The bakery retails the treats we’ve been known for, like the Halekulani signature coconut cake, our classic chocolate macadamia nuts and more,” says Arigo.

A selection of Viennoiserie and sweet breads includes goods like lilikoi brioche, pain au chocolat and three kinds of kouign-amann, while the savory side includes baguettes, epi, focaccia, ciabatta and more. Tarts, profiteroles, mousses, gateaux and bonbons provide lovely dessert options. And each month, the bakery will feature something new — February’s treat was the Guava Creme Pan.

A brand-new menu of tapas debuts today, with beverages created by cocktail sommelier Tuda Grehan. Priced at $16, the Culture Trip, with Maui Pau vodka, is a Collins-style drink that’s dry and citrus-forward; and the Lychee Martini, also with Maui Pau vodka, features scratch lychee liqueur, Creme de Violette and a lipstick rim of browned ginger sugar. The Garden Punch includes Kaffir lime leaf-infused Bombay dry gin, ginger lemongrass syrup and Hawaiian Natural chamomile tea.

Relaxed and casual, filled with light, this lovely restaurant features a menu filled with flavors from near and far. No matter when you visit or what you order, you’ll be delighted.

ISLAND FLAVORS

After 15 years at the Halekulani across the street, chef de cuisine Aaron Furuto brings a local boy’s expert knowledge of island flavors to this exciting new table. Ahi Sashimi with Avocado Puree ($6) is tantalizingly accompanied by yuzu kosho, spicy and bright with citrus and freshly baked edamame bread. Also spectacular: a clever new fusion of two local favorites, Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant’s Ahi Poke on Won Ton Chips ($6).

SAVORY SATISFACTION

A glorious medley of flavors, the Prime NY on Brioche with Mushroom Duxelles and Foie Gras Butter ($8) begins with Prime beef, simply seasoned and cooked to your exact specifications, on a buttery fresh brioche from the bakery, served with duxelles of minced mushrooms and herbs and topped with rich, earthy foie gras butter.

MMM, MMM GOOD

Another winning tapa from Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant, the Coconut Mac Shrimp with Lilikoi Kaffi r Lime Sauce ($8) features shrimp breaded with crushed macadamia nuts and coconut flakes, accompanied by a complex sauce of kaffir lime and delectable lilikoi fruit. Cocktail sommelier Tuda Grehan has created a variety of new beverages, many featuring locally produced spirits, to complement the restaurant’s marvelous selection of appetizers.

START WITH THIS

If you love edamame, this might be your new favorite pupu! Edamame Hummus ($6) is a tantalizingly scrumptious dip made with cilantro, lemon zest, lemon juice and furikake. It’s one of the wonderful new tapas (small plates) from the Halekulani Bakery & Restaurant, which introduces its new Cocktail Hour menus of delicious pupus and adult beverages today.

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