Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Queen’s ArborRestaurant Insider
June 26, 2022
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach general manager MATTHEW GRAUSO
Where on Oahu can you enjoy a stunning sunrise breakfast right on the famous Kuhio Beach in Waikiki? Queen’s Arbor, across from the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, offers two farm-to-table seatings that feature executive chef Alexandre Petard’s curated breakfast menu.
What else makes this truly special is the cultural aspect that you will be able to be a part of — a storytelling experience highlighting the rich history of Waikiki and the legacy of Hawaii’s last reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. This is a re-creation and homage to the queen’s summer retreat and cottages that were opposite Kuhio Beach. The partnership with the city to celebrate Waikiki is how this opportunity came to fruition. By offering a unique one-of-a-kind experience for locals and visitors, general manager Matthew Grauso shared the vision of the experience while we tasted exquisite farm-totable offerings, overlooking beautiful Kuhio Beach.
AL: Tell me more about Queen’s Arbor.
MG: This is a new concept in partnership with the city to celebrate the rich history of Waikiki and continue the spirit of Hawaiian hospitality. Located directly across the street from the resort in the Kuhio Beach pavilion, Queen’s Arbor is an elevated sunrise breakfast and cultural storytelling experience overlooking the ocean. Guests will also learn from local cultural practitioners through daily demonstrations and unique handmade crafts, including ohe kapala (the traditional art of stamping), seashell necklace crafting, and lei kukui wristlet or brooch making.
AL: How did this concept start and why?
MG: Queen’s Arbor is named in honor of our last reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. This land that we sit on is named Hamohamo. It is here where she would visit her summer residence and seaside cottage, Paokalani and Kealohi lani. Our team came up with this concept: area director of food and beverage Chase Heu, who has many years of experience with Iron Chef Morimoto; executive chef Alexandre Petard, who is a mastermind in the culinary field and is passionate and creative about using local ingredients; director of sales Courtney Conching puts forth her creative lens; and area director of e-commerce and digital marketing Stacey Yamashita handles the marketing. And, Kelly Sanders, our executive vice president of operations for Hawaii, maintains a relationship and partnership with the city that really enabled us to do something special.
We wanted to be able to continue her legacy and honor such an important woman and leader in Hawaiian history by sharing this with the local community and visitors to our islands.
AL: How did chef Petard come up with the Queen’s Arbor menu?
MG: The menu inspiration came from local farmers, discovering new flavor and Hawaiian culture. Regarding the menu, his ideation and curation is based upon our Alohilani brand pillars, specifically community and sustainability. His aim was to provide a one-of-a-kind culinary experience that doesn’t just use local ingredients but one that is also reminiscent of our local, plethora of flavors.
AL: Tell me more about the dishes.
MG: The Queen’s Arbor breakfast menu ($59 a person) features:
• Rainbow Yogurt Parfait with ube and chia yogurt, aloha granola and exotic fruit
• Bean Sprout and Watercress Sesame Salad with smoked tofu and soy-pickled mushrooms
• Curried Kauai Shrimp with Maui pineapple and mango
• Coconut-Lemongrass Quiche with sweet peppers and Thai basil
• Pork Belly Confit with roasted peewee potatoes and smoked tomato relish
• Roasted Pee Wee Potatoes & Smoked Tomato Relish
• Waialua Baked Egg with broccoli and cheddar
• Almond Mochi Pancake with Chantilly and Manoa Chocolate Hawaii sauce
• Beverages include coffee, mock-tails and juice.
AL: How can readers make a reservation?
MG: Breakfast will run seven days week with a set menu and two daily seatings (see contact box for more). Reservations can be made at opentable.com or for parties of 10 or more by emailing or calling our team.
AL: Tell me more about O Bar and its happy hour.
MG: We recently launched our O Bar raw bar Thursdays-Sundays featuring $1.50 oysters with wasabi cocktail sauce. We also have specialty cocktails such as Alohilani Sazerac, a variety of whiskeys and scotches, and wines by the glass from California. All of this is set against the mesmerizing oceanarium with live evening music.
AL: What other exciting dining events are happening?
MG: SWELL Restaurant and Pool Bar features our Earth to Cup happy hour, which is our sustainable food and cocktail series centered around crave-worthy small bites that are reflective of the local farms and ingredients here on the island. Another exciting addition is our Sunday club, which is our weekly brunch at Longboard Club where guests can enjoy the sounds of DJ KK and enjoy bubbles.