PHOTOS BY NADINE KAM / firstname.lastname@example.org
Neko pan is one of the delightful new pastry selections at the new BRUG Bakery at Ala Moana Center.
Pastry lovers can get more than their share of daily bread now that BRUG Bakery and Kai Coffee have opened new locations.
First up, since the closing of the Shirokiya store on the Diamond Head end of Ala Moana Center, BRUG is now a solo act, moving into the lower level mauka side of the center between Lupicia and the Sanrio store.
It opened its doors June 25, offering a range of sweet and savory options, including fruit danishes, ratatouille cake, sausage rolls and adorable neko pan, complete with bread tails.
The bakery also has plans to open at Pearlridge in November, followed by the addition of a downtown branch.
BRUG Bakery is on the mauka side street level of Ala Moana Center, next to Lupicia. Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Call 945-2200 or visit brugbakery.com.
The Japanese name for this pastry translates as "North Country," in honor of BRUG's Hokkaido roots. The foccaccia is topped with fresh local produce that BRUG Bakery Hawaii president Miho Choi said is evocative of the fresh produce Hokkaido is also known for.
SECOND SITE FOR KAI COFFEE
Bing cherry and honey ricotta soustenir from Kai Coffee.
Once downtown, the bakery will find company. On the same day of Brug's opening, Kai Coffee opened the doors to its second location in downtown Honolulu's Arcade Building.
In addition to serving craft-brewed coffees ranging from cortados to lattes, the new café also marks the debut of a menu featuring Kai Coffee's own in-house baked goods, which produces dozens of savory and sweet pastries.
In addition to cafe basics such as croissants, scones and cakes, those hungry for a quick breakfast or lunch bite will find items such as banana bread and soustenirs—ciabatta and focaccia breads baked with toppings such as pastrami and onion, Black Forest ham and cheddar cheese, or baked fruit. A few salads and stew selections will round out the menu.
A sampling of peanut butter, honey and chocolate croissants.
Responsible for producing all these baked goods is Antonio Domingo who spent 26 years as executive pastry chef at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, while simultaneously working as a pastry chef at the Hilton Hawaiian Village 24 years, learning on the job after moving here from the Philippines.
"I always liked cooking and baking," he said, knowing it was unusual in the macho culture of the Philippines for a little boy to prefer helping his mom in the kitchen than playing outside.
Coffee love, inside the new Kai Coffee in downtown Honolulu.
Samples of Domingo's work were in abundance during a grand opening celebration ahead June 24, where it looked like a wedding day when local founders Samuel and Natalie Suiter cut into a congratulatory cake baked for the occasion. Only this time, it wasn't Natalie who got splattered by cake. Frosting flew around the room as Sam hacked away, saying, "I always wanted to do that."
Sam and Natalier Suiter made the grand opening celebration look like a wedding day as they cut the celebratory cake.
The couple opened the first Kai Coffee in the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa two years ago to showcase the best Hawaii regional and international coffee.
Now with its own in-house bakery, what started as a coffee bar is well on it's way to becoming a full-fledged dining café.
Kai Coffee's new location, at 207 S. King St., will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call 537-3415 or visit kaicoffeehawaii.com.
A view of Kai Coffee from the street.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her food coverage in print in Wednesday's Crave section. Contact her via email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.