What is a gastropub? These days, I’m not too sure. Early on, though, when a pub went from just serving beer to serving fanciful takes on traditional dishes, they were said to have morphed into a gastropub. Nowadays, the term gastropub is synonymous with establishments that serve high-end beer along with creatively thought out dishes. Whether they started out as just a pub…well, that’s no longer a requirement. Enter The Brilliant Ox, the latest gastropub to hit Oahu, in the old Pearl Ultra Lounge space in Ala Moana Center.
We first visited Scratch Kitchen more than three years ago when they were located in Downtown, Honolulu. They’re no longer at their original location, instead, they’ve moved into new digs at the South Shore Market at Ward Village. They may have moved, but you can still expect to find some of their most popular dishes. Also, as you salivate through the photos, do keep in mind that the menu at Scratch is seasonal…and so some of the items that you see below may no longer be offered.
I first tasted Nitro Cold Brew (NCB) on a coffee crawl through New York’s East Village with a friend of mine as my guide. That friend also happened to be a lead barista at Third Rail Coffee, a popular indie coffee shop in New York City’s Greenwich Village. I had my first taste of NCB at one of ours stops and I was utterly confused and captivated. I immediately explained to my friend that this was like no coffee I’d ever had. Instead, with its thick mouthfeel and foamy (yet creamy) head, it tasted similar to Guinness…yes, the beer. It took a few years, but NCB has really started to become a trend in indie coffee shops throughout the main island of Oahu. Let’s sample some of the options, but do keep in mind that they were all ordered black (as coffee should be).