Monday, July 21, 2014

Koko Head Cafe

 About a couple weeks after Koko Head Cafe opened in May 2014, I stopped in see what the buzz was all about. They are located in the old 12th Ave Grill spot in Kaimuki. Parking isn't easy as there are lots of spaces, but the stores around there are always busy. It's also metered, so don't forget to put in some change!

My friend Joe and I stood in line for a good hour, and were finally seated. I had wanted to order almost everything on the menu since Chef Lee Anne Wong's plated presentation is always so on point. Everything looked delectable!

We started off with the Breakfast Bruschetta- a sweet twist on the usual savory bruschetta you're thinking of. It is spread with Macadamia Nut Yogurt and then topped with refreshing fruits and some sprinkled zest. It's a little sweet for my taste especially during brunch, but it was interesting to try. We also ordered their "Dumplings of the Day"- Double Dan Dumplings- Pork and Cabbage dumplings in a szechuan tahini sauce with house pickles. Not one of my faves, but good to try once.

For my entree, I ordered the Ohayou Eggs that I had been eying on Yelp. Looks like a soup, but it is indeed the creamiest eggs you will ever eat. Baked eggs, heritage ham, local mushrooms, parmesan dashi cream and topped with bonito a fresh, hot skillet. A lovely take on a local-Japanese-y-breakfast with everything you could ever want in eggs. It was delicious and definitely rich.

Joe's pick was the Koko Moco- Koko Head Cafe's take on the infamously local Loco Moco with rice, gravy, hamburger, topped with easy over egg. The difference? A Maui Cattle Co beef patty, crispy garlic rice, and tempura kimchi on the side! I'd ask for that tempura kimchi over and over again!

Knowing me, we also ordered one last thing. Breakfast Congee. I'm Chinese and I love me some good Jook! I had to try Chef Lee Anne's. Verdict? Another interesting dish. It definitely isn't something you'd find at a typical Chinese restaurant, and is on the sweeter side since it is topped with cheddar cheese and cinnamon-bacon croutons.

Fast-forward to last week. Koko Head Cafe with friend Brandon! He has a serious sweet tooth, so I figured he'd love this place. He placed me on restriction saying I could only pick 3 things, but left the ordering to me. Thanks! I indefinitely wanted to try the Eggs Haloa, so that was first pick. Then Koko Moco since Brandon wanted to try it. For the last and final dish, I couldn't make my mind up so I asked our waiter. When in doubt, always ask the waiter/waitress for their opinion! The Dumplings of the Day were housemade garlic pork sausage wontons with soft scrambled eggs and Bacon-sage gravy, which were so tempting. Plus, they only have it for one day!!! Then our waiter told us we couldn't pass up the Cornflake French Toast which "if you haven't tried, is one of our staples." That set it off. Done! We're getting both!

So out of everything we tried, what was my favorite? EGGS HALOA. I've been obsessed with kalo/taro lately (cue Pa'i'ai bowls from Impressed Juice- post to come soon!), so this hawaiian Eggs Benedict hit the spot! Poi biscuit, coconut luau, sour poi hollandaise topped with perfect poached eggs......can you ask for anything more?! A hearty and filling meal, plus poi has tons of health benefits. Next time I'll add heritage ham or smoked pork!

Now that it has been a few months since Chef Lee Anne opened her restaurant, Brandon and I didn't have to wait at all to be seated. I would highly recommend going on a weekday as there is no line; on the weekends, beware! Otherwise, a big cup of Illy coffee and Eggs Haloa will make my morning shine any day. Enjoy!

Ohayou Eggs

Double Dan Dumplings

Koko Moco

Breakfast Congee

Cornflake French Toast reminded me of Burger King's French Toast sticks. Only Koko Head Cafe's is topped with Billionaire's Bacon and Frosted Flake Gelato!!!!!

Breakfast Dumplings- garlic pork sausage wontons with soft scrambled eggs and bacon-sage gravy. These were AMAZING. Hope they have these dumplings again!

Eggs Haloa.....YES PLEASE!

Koko Moco again- look at that Kimchi Tempura. SO crispy and light. One of my favorite things in this dish!

Lilikoi Fizz- Gin, Lilikoi, Ginger Beer, Thai Basil

Apple Banana Pudding with wafers

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