Honolulu | Afternoon Tea at The Kahala Hotel

Monday, December 24, 2012 9comments No tags Permalink 0

Most hotels in Hawai’i are centered in Waikiki, but Kahala Hotel & Resort is secluded, tucked deep within the Kāhala neighborhood.

It’s only a 15-minute drive from Waikiki but almost feels like another island.

The hotel originally opened as the Kahala Hilton. Years later Mandarin Oriental took over and it was the Kahala Mandarin Oriental. And now it is the Kahala Hotel & Resort.

I loved afternoon tea when it was under operation by the Mandarin Oriental (they afternoon tea service seriously. There are three options:

Simple Tea Service – tea, scones, and four sweets OR tea and four savory sandwiches

Classic Tea Service – tea plus scones, four sweets, and four savory sandwiches

Royal Tea Service – the classic tea service, plus a glass of champagne

The menu lists various sweets and sandwiches and you can pick the ones you want. I thought that was a nice touch since most tea places don’t give you the option to select. There’s a little drawing next to each item designating them as either Island Inspired, Asian Flair, European Elegance, or Heartier Selection.

Teas are from Harney & Sons. We ordered a pot each of:

Caribe – green and black tea blend with guava and strawberry

Pomegranate Oolong – Ti Quan Yin oolong infused with pomegranate

Bangkok – green tea blended with lemongrass, ginger, coconut, and vanilla

They use teabags instead of loose leaf. That would irk me in NYC, but I’m always in a good mood in Hawai’i. No complaining ^_^

Here’s the view from our table. The Veranda Room is beautiful, but ask to sit outside if you want a view of the water (and dolphins!)

I met Kelly and Steph for tea this afternoon. We are very lucky to call Hawai’i home.

Ready to eat? We tried all six sweets, six sandwiches and three scones on the menu. Just for your viewing pleasure ;) Let’s take a closer look…

Sandwich #1: Smoked Salmon on Rye Toast. With capers, red onion, and parsley cream cheese

Sandwich #2: Hamakua Springs Farm Mushroom Turnover. Stuffed with Shimeiji & Ali’i mushrooms sautéed with butter, olive oil, garlic, shallots, and white wine.

Sandwich #3: Rare Roast Beef with Romaine. With ponzu mayonnaise on baguette. Garnished with Tobiko.

Sandwich #4: Ka Lei Egg Salad with Watercress on Mac Nut Bread. Egg salad is mixed with celery, cucumber, and green onion.

Sandwich #5: Chicken Tarragon and Grape Salad on Endive

Sandwich #6: Ham & Manchego Cheese with Parsley Butter. Layered with fresh tomatoes on multi-grain bread.

Onto the scones! Sugar-dusted tops. One each of cranberry, raisin, and chocolate…

…scones come with clotted cream and orange marmalade.

A little break and a fresh pot of tea before we move onto sweets. It’s important to pace yourself, otherwise you’ll end up stuffed and sleepy. I haven’t seen Steph in over a year (I saw Kelly in San Francisco the other month) so we had lots of catch-up to do. She’s living in New Mexico for the next few months!

Sweet #1: Chocolate-Raspberry Tart – the filling this tart shell was like an extra rich dark chocolate pudding.

Sweet #2: Lilikoi Madeline – this was my favorite. A classic madeline with a brush of lilikoi curd.

Sweet #3: Kona Coffee Ganache Pave – flourless chocolate cake topped with Kona coffee whipped cream and chocolate pearls

Sweet #4: Yuzu Macaron

Sweet #5: Brown Sugar Shortbread

Sweet #6: Profiterole with Sicilian Pistachio Studded Pastry Cream

Whew! Hope you guys enjoyed that. Definitely worth going out of your way for. Especially if you plan to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach (or drinking champagne in the shade).

9 Comments
  • anonymous
    December 24, 2012

    I love the contrast between plate lunch and tea (and everything in-between) and the way you can embrace it all.Mele Kalikimaka!Alan

  • K and S
    December 24, 2012

    bummer they used to serve Mariage Freres teas, the food looks better though!

  • Cassaendra
    December 25, 2012

    Hi Kathy, It's great to catch up with friends – added bonus, bigger assortment to try. :) Which sandwich did you enjoy the most? I'm a sucker for madeleines. I need to try them with lilikoi curd one day. Thanks for the fantastic ideas!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    December 25, 2012

    Thanks, Alan! Mele Kalikimaka!!Hi Kat! Yes! Wish they didn't change tea brands…having Marriage Freres in Hawai'i was such a treat!Hi Cassaendra! The mushroom turnover ^_^

  • KSWH
    December 26, 2012

    Hey Kathy!How did the Kahala tea compare to the tea at the Moana Surfrider or Halekulani? I'm trying to decide where to make a reservation this week. Fellow Punahou alum (c/o '01)…love your blog! Makes me homesick when I'm in NYC, too. xoKim

  • Kathy YL Chan
    December 26, 2012

    Hi Kim! Always so good to meet another Punahou alum ^_^ Halekulani does the best tea on the island, hands down. I'd put Kahala second, and Surfrider at the bottom (Surfrider used to be good, but it's gone downhill a ton in the past few years).P.S. Going for afternoon tea at Mariposa today…shall report back!

  • KSWH
    December 26, 2012

    Oooh, please keep me posted. I'm going to Waiolas now and then Sushi ii for omakase tonight (if you haven't been, you should totally go, so Ono!). When in Hawaii… stuff thyself!

  • Kathy YL Chan
    December 26, 2012

    Just looked up Sushi ii…it sounds amazing!! Can't believe I haven't been, will have to add it to my list ^_^ We're having family dinner at Yanagi's tonight haha. Stuff thyself – I agree 100%!

  • anonymous
    December 29, 2012

    The experience is just exquisite. They have the finest hotels with the most outstanding services in accommodation and food. They're definitely worth the trouble to travel from any parts of the world.

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