Restaurant Insider with Anne Lee: Podmore

Restaurant Insider

July 16, 2023

Story By: Anne Lee | Photos by: ANTHONY CONSILLIO

ANNE LEE with Podmore chef/owner ANTHONY RUSH

Hawaii has many restaurants and bars near beautiful beaches. But where do you go when you want a non-tropical experience similar to one you would have in a major metropolitan city? You head to Podmore, which is located in the heart of the financial and capital districts of Honolulu.

Sticky Toffee Pudding ($16)

The restaurant is intentionally designed to look and feel like New York City and London, which are special cities to chef/owner Anthony Rush and his wife, Katherine Nomura, who also founded the popular restaurant Senia.

Full English Breakfast ($30)

Anthony and Katherine, who have roots in Britain and the Big Island, respectively, wanted to do this historic landmark justice by making the inside as beautiful as the outside. The duo created something reminiscent of their journey together through exquisite cuisine, impeccable service and beautiful ambiance.

Smoked Soufflé Pancake ($20)

I had the opportunity to sit and share a meal with this talented chef and learn more about what’s to come from Podmore.

AL: How did this concept start and what does Podmore mean?

AR: In 2016, the D‘Ascoli family purchased the building, which had mostly been vacant for close to nine years. Due for a major restoration, the second floor was converted into two apartments and the ground floor as one commercial space. Senia is located in another historic building in China-town owned by the D’Ascolis, and, due to the historical nature of the building, they reached out to us as they felt we were the right fit.

Christmas Breakfast ($26)

Podmore is the name of the gentleman who built the building back in 1902 — Joseph Podmore, who ironically was a British sailor back in the day, so it all ties in.

We started calling it Bar Pod- more purely because the social media handle for Podmore wasn’t available. It’s a misconception to some people that we are just a bar, as we serve food — brunch and dinner every day that we’re open (Wednesdays-Sundays).

Mediterranean Salad ($18)

AL: Can you tell me about your history?

AR: In my last year of high school, I entered a cooking competition judged by the teachers as well as a local celebrity chef Peter Gordon. I placed second, but Peter saw that spark in me and offered me my first job as a prep cook.

This led me to my career working at Michelin-starred The Horn of Plenty, Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage, Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry, The Fat Duck, then in 2005, landing at Thomas Keller’s New York Michelin-starred restaurant Per Se, where I met Katherine.

We came to Hawaii on March 9, 2016, and the rest, as they say, is history.

AL: Let’s talk about the menu. Walk me through the experience from brunch to dinner.

AR: I wanted our food, at least the way it’s presented, to reflect the space itself. For example, you would order a full English breakfast in the UK from a greasy spoon. My vision of a Full English Breakfast ($30) was to make it beautifully presented. Not only is ours full, but everything is made from scratch.

When you walk into Podmore, the bar is front and center, then everything else kind of evolved around it. In the evening, we have a beautiful cocktail menu, and our menu has evolved over the last two years as the demand has grown for larger dinner portions — with more coming soon. We have a full dinner menu and a prix fixe menu all made in-house.

AL: What are the dishes you created for us today?

AR:Today, we prepared the Christmas Breakfast ($26). The truth behind this dish is I wanted to create a classic eggs Benedict, eggs royale and eggs Florentine dish for a special, memorable Christmas from start to finish with food for my family. It’s really packed full of flavor, and you simply can’t get it anywhere else.

For the Smoked Soufflé Pancake ($20), I wanted our pancake to be different and special and uniquely ours. I had a very good buttermilk pancake recipe, which I cook all the time at home, and I was like, “I wonder if I can take that recipe, adapt it into a more of a soufflé style and just make one big one; make it really beautiful and just showcase it, and add the fruits around the outside, like literally framing the pancake, garnish them with some shoots and flowers?” And I was like, “Well, why not smoke it? How bad can that be?” We tried it and it’s good.

The Sticky Toffee Pudding ($16) is a very British classical dessert. It’s offered at brunch and dinner.

The Mediterranean Salad ($18) is inspired by a dish I had back home about a year ago down in Cornwall. It’s fried chickpeas with tahini, an eggplant and a tomatillo relish. There’s all types of textures and flavors going on it.

A few of our house cocktails are St. George and the Dragon ($18) and the Spring Chung Chow ($30).

202 Merchant St, Honolulu, HI 96813

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