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Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: The Kahala Hotel & Resort

Restaurant Insider

December 19, 2021

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

ANNE LEE speaks withThe Kahala Hotel & Resort restaurant manager WON BAE and executive chef JONATHAN MIZUKAMI

When you imagine having afternoon tea, the one place that comes to mind is The Veranda at The Kahala Hotel & Resort. I was excited to hear that they restarted tea service this past September, and I had a chance to experience exceptional service with restaurant manager Won Bae and The Kahala’s executive chef Jonathan Mizukami.

The combination of sweet and savory sandwiches and treats and the artful combination of the locally sourced teas make it a delectable experience. It’s the perfect opportunity to dress to the nines and indulge in this incredible experience.

Assorted sandwiches are a part of The Kahala’s high tea service ($65 per person)

AL: Why did you restart tea service and what can guests expect?

WB: Mainly due to the request from our guests that enjoy our high tea service ($65 per person plus tax and service charge), which we had to stop due to the pandemic.

September is when we were able to restart the service with Saturdays seatings at 2 or 3:30 p.m. Jonathan created a savory and sweet menu of delectable treats, from sandwiches to pot de crème. Due to popular demand, reservations are highly recommended. There was a lot of intention behind selecting the teas, and Byron Goo of Tea Chest Hawaii was insightful on the choices

AL: What options can guest choose from? WB:When we worked with Byron on selecting the teas, our intention was to highlight the values of the property as many famous dignitaries have stayed here and continue to do so. We dug into the archives and researched the area prior to the hotel being here and we came up with a Decorated History menu, which communicates the culture, values and sense of place in the blends of teas. One cultural value in our staff’s training is sustainability and one ingredient that we repurposed were cacao shells — we literally were throwing those away — so we made a tea out of it. The Lilikoi Cacao to honor the intention to be more sustainable.

Preparations of the Alii tea

AL: What tea options can guests choose from?

WB: Classic English teas are Darjeeling, English and green teas. One in particular is the Silver Needles ($15 supplement), which is a rare white tea of impeccable quality with complex notes of fruit and pistachio.

Under the black tea blends is the Alii ($25 supplement), one of the rarest teas. The husband-and-wife team at Maui Tea Farm, located 4,100 feet above the Pacific Ocean, painstakingly handpicks and processes the leaves. We gave it this name as it means “royalty” in the Hawaiian language, honoring the many monarchs that have stayed at The Kahala over the years. You will taste flavors and aromas of ohia blossoms, dried banana and raisins. The Hukilau blend represents festive occasions that celebrate the bountiful provision of the ocean. We also have our Kuuipo tea. This Earl Grey represents the bridge between traditional and local. The Kahala has been a destination for numerous weddings and in honor of that, we created this tea, also known as the Wedding Tea. Hukilau, Lilikoi Cacao and Kuuipo teas will be available for retail purchase in gift shops early next year.

A selection The Kahala’s exclusive teas

AL: Tell me more about the menu. JM: There is a different kind of bread for each sandwich and its own unique shape, as I wanted it to be appeasing to the eye, as well as easy to eat with your fingers. The Hawaii Smoked Fish Baguette is made with the fattiest pieces of ahi, kampachi, hamachi and a little bit of salmon. We smoke it and serve it with an aioli-based spread on our housemade baguette. The classic Cucumber Sandwich features dill butter and English cucumber. The Deviled Egg Sandwich is on rye bread with caviar. The eggs are mixed with mayonnaise and crème fraîche — a French twist on this classic. The Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich was on the original menu. We are known at Plumeria Beach House for our chicken curry sandwich, so we took that recipe and added green apple for texture and tartness on white bread.

Enjoying The Kahala’s high tea menu is the perfect way to spend a Saturday.

On our Sweet Treats menu, we have our scones, which will change with the season. We serve it with our lilikoi curd and pineapple vanilla jam that are all made in-house. The Pot De Créme is basic dark chocolate custard, creamy and flavorful. The Chocolate Éclair is baked in-house. Our Green Tea Mille Crêpe is also popular. Mille crêpe stands for “a million,” which translates to a million layers and we added the green tea for local flavor. I made an Ube Madeleine to keep the local flavors and add a little color, too. Palmier means palm leaf in French, so I created the Coconut Palmier. Usually this is puff pastry brushed with sugar, and rolled and baked. The way we make ours is we add coconut, brush it with egg and a little bit of sugar, and add coconut within the layers. Then, we roll, cut and bake it.

You can also order a glass of Champagne or mimosas.

AL: Anything else you’d like to share?

WB: Credit cards are required to make reservations. Must pre-book and pre-pay via OpenTable. Reservations canceled within 48 hours and no-show reservations will be charged $65 per person. We are happy to accommodate pescatarian and vegetarian options with 72-hour notice. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free items.

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