All-you-can-eat bread & pastry, good coffee, lovely ambience, and notoriously long wait times. These were all things that I had either heard or read about before I stepped into Cafe Lani, one of the restaurant offerings in Ala Moana Center’s new Ewa Wing. But what would my actual experience be like?
For me, the highlight at Cafe Lani was the Siphon Coffee.
This coffee making process utilizes vapor pressure and vacuum to produce a cup of coffee goodness.
The barista giving the coffee a bit of a stir. This slow style of coffee making was developed in the 1830’s, but “fell out of favor” by the 1960’s (instant coffee, I’m looking at you). This was my first time seeing a siphon coffee maker in action.
Almost ready to drink…
The production of the coffee is almost more satisfying than the actual presentation once it arrives at the table. If ordering a cup, do walk on over to the bar to see it being made. That’s definitely part of the experience. If not, you might balk at paying $4.50 for your morning cup of joe. Still shaking your head at the $4.50 price tag? Keep in mind that free refills are a perk, so drink up.
So, the Siphon Coffee was, yes, delicious. The ambience was great as well. FYI: We actually got seated quickly (a concern based on Yelp reviews). Popping in shortly after they opened probably helped a lot. They don’t take reservations here, though they really should.
The food and service left much to be desired. The bread was “all-you-can-eat”, with the exception that you need to wait for one of the staff members to come around with a bread tray. Why not have a dedicated bread station? Service was indeed slow (getting the menu, refills of water and bread, the check)…I’ll just leave it at that.
This was the Fried Egg Set with bacon and sausage…
And this was the French Toast. I didn’t originally order this dish, instead, I ordered an Acai Bowl. When the Fried Egg Set arrived at our table, our waitress told us that the Acai Bowl was not available…this happened long after our order had been placed. Err mah goodness. So, I end up ordering the French Toast, which comes about pretty much after my partner has finished her breakfast. Ugh. Not a good experience.
I’d come back to Cafe Lani on a slow day (of mine), with no line present, and just for the Siphon Coffee. But, that’s about it…
Located in Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96814