I was first introduced to afternoon tea several years ago by one of my friends, Lorie. Along with some of our female co-workers, we would get together to celebrate her birthday with afternoon tea at the Veranda at the Kahala Hotel and Resort.
Earlier this year, Lorie and I had gone for afternoon tea during the hotel’s Golden Jubilee celebration, marking 50 years since the hotel’s opening in 1964. At that time, we noticed that the furniture at the Veranda had changed to furnishings from the Tommy Bahamas line. Gone were the delicate Oriental-inspired dresses worn by the female staff as well.
Fast forward to several months later, more changes have occurred at the Veranda. Upon walking into the Veranda, the first thing I noticed was that they had swapped out their usual china (as seen in pictures by Kathy YL Chan) with Wedgwood china. The Oberon pieces are rimmed with lustrous 22-karat gold. Quite fitting for their golden jubilee celebration! Of course, they come with a hefty price tag with the tea pot alone costing $225!
Interestingly, unlike other afternoon tea places on the island, the Veranda uses tea bags (from Harney & Sons) instead of loose leaf teas. Coty and I didn’t mind this, though. As in my previous visits, I chose the Caribe tea, which is a green and black tea blend with guava and strawberry. Coty chose the Pomegranate Oolong, which is a Ti Quan Yin oolong infused with pomegranate.
I read from a few sources that the correct order to eat from the tiers of food is 1) savories, 2) scones, 3) then sweets. However, I think some prefer to eat the scones first while they are warm. I assured Coty that there was no real order. I, in fact, tend to eat the scones last because they always seem to fill me up before I get to the savories and sweets.
The scones, plain and cranberry, were accompanied by clotted cream, ginger lilikoi jam, and blueberry preserves.
Moving on to savories, I was surprised that there was now a set menu for them. We were no longer given the option of choosing 4 from their offerings of 6 savories. Regardless, the savories, though small, are always tasty. Their set menu of savory sandwiches now include:
Roast Chicken Salad with candied walnuts, pineapple, grapes, arugula on a whole wheat crouton.
Shaved Serrano ham and truffled Manchego Cheese, with mango and Kula tomato and onion jam, sandwiched between nine grain bread.
Smoked salmon and three caviar crème fraiche on a bagel crouton with pickled red onions and chives.
Asparagus mimosa with a garden vegetable ricotta spread over white bread.
The bottom tier included these sweets:
Raspberry dark chocolate tart—fresh island raspberries with rich Valrhona dark chocolate ganache in a sweet chocolate tart.
Macadamia Nut Financier Rum Cake—Big Island macadamia nuts roasted in a classical french cake soaked in aged rum.
Lilikoi meringue tart —Hawaiian lilikoi puree with fluffy toasted meringue in a sweet vanilla tart.
Coconut French macaron—macaron with toasted, shredded coconut, filled with rich Valrhona white chocolate coconut ganache.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort offers one of the best settings for afternoon tea in Hawaii. While sitting outside, you get a wonderful view of the ocean. Look the other way and you get to gaze at their spectacular chandeliers made of multi-colored Italian glass. It definitely sets the mood for a relaxing afternoon, enjoying a pot of tea over a long conversation.
The Veranda at The Kahala Hotel & Resort
5000 Kahala Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816-5498