Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Alohilani Resort Waikiki BeachRestaurant Insider
August 7, 2022
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
ANNE LEE speaks with Highgate Hawaii area food and beverage director CHASE HEU
Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach offers many dining options for guests and local foodies. One mission is its goal toward sustainability, and offering a creative food and cocktail series — called Earth to Cup, Taste of the Islands Menu — centering around sustainable farming and locally sourced products. Chase Heu, area food and beverage director for Highgate Hawaii, joined me for a tasting at SWELL Restaurant and Pool Bar, as we talked more about this concept at this beautiful property.
AL: I wanted to talk about the Earth to Cup menu, as it’s a unique way for guests to sample farm-to-table dishes, highlighting touches of the neighbor islands. Can you tell me about each dish and concept?
CH: The Earth To Cup Menu is offered 4-6 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, and we wanted to offer our guests an exclusive offering, something other than the poolside menu, which is more local American-style fare. These dishes were created to make the local product stand out, with a creative spin on Hawaii favorites. Based on what’s available, the menu will change with the seasons. And, in addition to some cocktails, we offer select wines by the glass, and local beers on tap and beer from Honolulu Beerworks. Call 808-294-4108 for details.
• Maui Surfing Goat Cheese Samosa ($14) with Hawaiian goat cheese, Hamakua alii mushrooms and a tarragon emulsion. We use local chevre from Maui Surfing Goat Dairy to prepare this fun and unique plant-forward dish. These Hawaiian goats are raised on the beautiful slopes of Haleakala Crater in lower Kula.
• Molokai Venison Meatballs ($15) with Italian-style venison, local spices and housemade spicy tomato sauce. Gaining popularity among local chefs, venison is invasive and needs to be controlled to protect the endemic environment of Molokai.
• Oahu Kampachi Ceviche ($15) with kampachi, Ho Farms tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and a coco nut lime sauce. Our Oahu-caught kampachi (amberjack) is considered the fish of the future. Modern aquaculture techniques are used to rear this phenomenal, sustainable local Hawaiian product.
• Bacon Wrapped Kauai Shrimp with Papaya Mustard ($19) with Kauai shrimp, alaea red sea salt and Hawaiian chile Sriracha. Kauai shrimp are grown in the most eco-friendly environment possible. They are sweet and simple, just the way nature intended. Hawaii chile peppers are fiery hot; however, they complement the local shrimp and the Kahuku papaya mustard sauce.
AL: Tell me about the cocktails.
CH: The art of mixology comes to life with island-sourced fresh ingredients in these craft cocktails.
• Alohilani Guava Mai Tai ($12) with Koloa Kauai Hawaiian rum, Old Lahaina dark rum, Disaronno amaretto, Pierre Ferrand dry Curaçao, pineapple juice, guava and fresh lime. This is one of our most popular cocktails.
• Swell Hawaii ($13) with coconut oil-washed Ocean Vodka, Koloa Kauai Hawaiian white rum, pineapple juice, fresh lime, Hawaiian cane syrup and blue Curaçao. This is our version of the Blue Hawaii.
• Pineapple-Azerac ($13) pineapple-infused Koloa Kauai Hawaiian gold rum, High West Whiskey double rye, Pierre Ferrand dry orange Curaçao and barrel-aged Peychaud’s bitters. This is our version of a traditional sazerac.
• Coco Loco ($15) with Tres Generaciones anejo tequila, fresh coconut water and white creme de cacao. This is Kelly Sanders’ favorite cocktail. For an additional $25, you can have it served in a young fresh coconut!
• Local draft beers ($5) — Alohilani Loral Ale, Longboard Lager, Hana Hou Hefewezien, Big Swell IPA
• Honolulu Beerworks ($5) — Cocoweizen, Kewalos Cream Ale, Hop Island IPA, El Guapo
AL: How do local purveyors learn more about how to be a part of the Earth to Cup menu?
CH: I encourage them to reach out to me by way of email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and bring some samples for new creative foods and drinks.
AL: What makes Alohilani so unique?
CH:We elevate the brand by having a hip new environment, a trendy, chic, modern place that’s family friendly. There are so many different offerings of shops and restaurants. Our OBar offers $1.50 oysters during happy hour (4-6 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays).We also have Iron Chef Morimoto’s two flagship restaurants: Momosan (ramen) and Morimoto Asia.
We have Kai Coffee that offers handcrafted locally grown coffee. There is also Spa Uilani, fitness center Fit Waikiki and we have the giant aquarium in the lobby. We invite you to watch our free daily fish feedings at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
AL: How do you reserve a cabana?
CH: Call 808-441-4891 or email email@example.com. It’s perfect to rent if you have a celebration, or just want to have dinner with a group of friends. We have five cabanas you can reserve and they go quickly. Hotel guests have access first. It accommodates six to eight, with two water loungers. There are two time slots: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m.
AL: Anything else you want to share?
CH: We are constantly evolving; trying to be above the guest’s expectation. This used to be Pacific Beach Hotel, and we still have the famous huge Oceanarium aquarium. This resort is the same structure but with a facelift.