By Elizabeth Harper By Elizabeth Harper | August 11, 2021 | Food & Drink Feature
Recently reopened in the Kaimana Beach Hotel, Hau Tree restaurant is poised for its next chapter with a foodie-approved menu and a redesigned interior aesthetic.
Local firm Henderson Design Group oversaw Hau Tree and Kaimana Beach Hotel’s new interiors.
The atmosphere is full-on beachside chic—the food elevated, the location spectacular and the come-as-you-are air unmatched. Newly revitalized Hau Tree restaurant, inside Kaimana Beach Hotel, is officially back on Waikiki’s dining scene.
The modern-boho aesthetic transcends the banquette seating, clean palette and woven basket lighting—all courtesy of Hawai‘i-based Henderson Design Group—making an undeniable impact on the menu. “Hau Tree brings not only a vibrant new look but also a refreshed energy and flavors to the best location to dine literally on the sand in Waikiki,” says general manager Ha‘aheo Zablan.
A cosmo gets an upgrade.
From daily brunch to specially curated dinners in the private dining room, Hau Tree delivers. Grounded in shareable plates for “conversational dining,” says Zablan, standouts include the succulent, flaky grilled kanpachi with Hirabara Farms vegetable ragu, harissa and lemon thyme broth; or for the meat-lovers among us, the kurobuta pork chop with balsamic Dijon, Brussels sprouts and pomegranate cannot be missed. Brunch here is also a draw with Hau Tree’s spin on a classic eggs Benedict and French toast, as well as ahi burgers and lobster rolls. Topped with a yuzu tart or toasted coconut cake for a sweet finish, this is arguably Waikiki’s best brunch showing.
The Kapua Fizz is made of Suntory Roku Gin, apricot and maraschino liqueurs, calamansi, lemon and absinthe with egg white and organic edible flowers
“Our culinary casual beachcentric fare is perfect for open-air dining before or after a dip in the ocean,” notes Zablan. “We incorporate local produce as often as possible while focusing on small independent purveyors who are the best in their field. We highlight favorites from established chef Alan Takasaki along with fresh and vibrant seafood and vegetarian dishes from up-and-coming chef Randle Pagaragan.” The bar program follows a similar philosophy, with Jen Ackrill leading the charge. “Ackrill has really transformed Hau Tree into one of the best spots in Waikiki to enjoy sunset cocktails,” he says. “[She] designed the drinks to excite and pique conversation with nods to the classics and reworks of some favorite beach cocktails.” Of which he shines a light on the Kaimana cocktail with coconut-washed Broker’s gin, apricot liqueur and Gran Classico Bitter; and the Hau Tree, a concoction of hibiscus-infused Pau Maui Vodka, yuzu and lavender.
Ahi tartare with gorgonzola and avocado
Adds Zablan, “Kaimana has been an integral part of the fabric of Waikiki for more than five decades and has been a beloved spot for locals and travelers to surf and hang out at the iconic Hau Tree restaurant.” Here’s to the next 50. 2863 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu
Photography by: Courtesy of KBH Restaurants