Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko OlinaRestaurant Insider
March 26, 2023
Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO
ANNE LEE with Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina executive chef MICHAEL ARNOT
There’s a new, exciting concept that’s happening at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina called Manalo Lounge. It centers around the diverse cuisine celebrated here in Hawaii and features a unique cocktail menu that helps to create an inviting ambiance in which to gather with friends and family — whether to simply talk story, take in a beautiful sunset or enjoy sharable plates prepared by executive chef Michael Arnot. I had a chance to meet the chef and taste some of his favorite menu items.
AL: Chef Michael, how did you get into this industry?
MA: Both of my parents loved to cook. I was actually going to school to become a lawyer, but realized that my passion was really cooking. I enjoy seeing the expressions of satisfied guests after having a meal, and being able to mentor younger chefs is important to me. I have been the executive chef here for five years.
AL: How did you come up with this concept?
MA: We were looking for something more approachable and casual, highlighting the unique Asian influences that makes us the melting pot of fusion that we are. Many people are looking for open-air dining and this concept provides a unique one-of-a-kind experience.
The name Manalo means “sweet water” — where the fresh water from the mountains meets the ocean. We have a stream on our property where that comes from, so it was a perfect name for this concept.
AL: What are the signature items that you prepared for us to try?
MA: Our signature dishes include Stone Pot Bibimbap ($38) with duck confit that is made in-house, hapa rice, homemade mac nut gochujang sauce served tableside with a fried egg on top.
The menu also features a selection of sushi and sashimi, along with the signature A5 Wagyu Hot Stone (market price). We prepared the FS Oahu Roll ($24), which features sashimi-grade tuna, a shiso leaf, cucumber, avosabi aioli — a combination of avocado and wasabi that we came up with — and a bit of mayo.
The Yakitori Trio ($31) includes three types of skewers that consist of local grilled alii mushrooms, beef filet mignon grilled with sesame sauce, and crispy fried Korean chicken served with cucumber namasu and spicy sesame dipping sauce. We also prepared Steamed Bao braised short ribs ($29) with a hoisin sauce.
The libation menu is led by a collection of coveted Japanese whisky and sake varieties. Signature drinks include the Wagyu Old Fashioned ($35) with A5 wagyu, washed Tottori bourbon whisky, housemade syrup and bitters; the Matcha Aloha ($18) with Suntory Toki whisky with matcha, Cointreau and lemon; or the Neko Neko ($25) with Roku gin, yuzu sake, strawberry Calpico and lemon, which is served in none other than a ceramic lucky cat glass, a traditional Japanese good luck symbol.
For dessert, we prepared the Toasted Sesame Ice Cream Sundae (contact for price), which is very unique. We make the ice cream in-house and serve it with a miso butterscotch furikake pizzelle, a fun sweet and savory type of dessert.
AL: What do you like about the dining culture at the hotel?
MA: We have something for everyone. You can have a breakfast buffet, sit by the pool and enjoy unique cocktails, have a snack at the lounge, then indulge for a wonderful dinner. Manalo Lounge is casual; Noe offers higher-end Italian and everything made from scratch; La Hiki emphasizes local ingredients and farms; and Mina’s Fish House showcases our fresh fish options and fish sommeliers, and offers casual dining where you can grab a sandwich. You can check all the boxes.