While having a pretty laid back morning this past Wednesday (which happened to be a Hawaiian holiday, Prince Kuhio Day), I suddenly had a craving for beef cheeks. Yes, beef cheeks. To think, I never had that dish before, but it was due to him raving about it for months that I’ve had it on my list of foods to try. Before I told him of my lunch plans, I had already made reservations on OpenTable.
We have been to Orchids for dinner and for their famous Sunday brunch, but we’ve never been there for lunch.
Halekulani’s Orchids restaurant is tucked away by the beachside in Waikiki. As its name implies, the restaurant is adorned with orchids at each table and in large vases throughout. Though the view of the beach is blocked by a hedge alongside a pedestrian walkway, you can certainly see and hear the waves. Not to mention, you would probably have a view of Diamond Head no matter which outdoor table you were seated at.
Service was great. The host and servers were attentive and polite. Our dishes were cleared quickly. The water in our glasses was constantly refilled. I thought that the staff would be bothered by our constant photo-snapping, but they in fact, offered to take our picture during and after lunch.
We both started off with some plantation iced tea. This one came with a thick slice of pineapple.
In uncovering the bread basket, we found a generous serving of lavosh, multi-grain rolls, and sourdough rolls.
We thoroughly enjoyed the butter that had been sprinkled with two different kinds of Hawaiian sea salt.
The first appetizer was quite visually appealing: ahi crudo – delicate slices of ahi, artfully decorated with horseradish, daikon, and sake-lemon dressing.
The lobster bisque was warming. Chunks of lobster were hidden in the creamy soup, waiting to be eaten!
The BL&T roll was bacon and lobster in a tarrogon roll. It was topped by wasabi tobiko that was made by a fascinating scientific technique.
It was served with French fries and hirabara greens.
The Kahuku shrimp ravioli were stuffed with a lot of shrimp and plated with two tips of Waialua asparagus. The lemon verbena butter was creamy and delicious.
And the real reason why we went to Orchids was to order the beef cheeks. Okay, it was my idea and I think it was a great idea. The beef cheeks were super tender. It reminded me of super tender shortribs.
The wasabi mashed potatoes was smooth and not overpowering. Loved how it came in a Staub cast iron mini cocotte. If you want to get your hands on one of these to present single servings of sides such as mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, then you may end up forking over about $65 for one.
This is the Lilikoi and chocolate bar, served with coconut ice cream atop macadamia nut powder. Lilikoi gelee, or pâtes de fruit, were curved alongside it, along with candied macadamia nuts in between them. And for that touch of sophistication, a piece of gold foil atop the dessert.
The perfect ending to lunch was a slice of Halekulani’s signature coconut cake – three layers of light and moist chiffon cake layered with coconut-amaretto cream, frosted with whipped cream and shredded coconut. As he described it, “it was heavenly.”
Food Rating: 5/5
Ambiance Rating: 4.5/5
Service Rating: 4.5/5
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Phone: (808) 923-2311