Looking out from the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel’s newest addition, the Leahi Club Lounge, is hard to miss the magnificence of the Diamond Head, Hawaii’s iconic volcanic crater. The million-dollar room, perfect for small groups seeking breathtaking views, was the final touch of a $188 million-dollar renovation that added more F&B options for foodies. Every hotel rehab brings new flavors.
The 1,634-room hotel’s RumFire, a super hip rum bar with “Bahawaiian” cuisine is as diverse and intriguing as the mixed culture of Waikiki, fusing the tropical Hawaiian style with the heat of the Baja coast. Dishes include the seared kalua pulled pork quesadilla: a tortilla filled with braised, tender smoked pork shoulder, caramelized onions and jalapenos. All their meals are served Pupu style, Hawaiian term for appetizer, perfect for a groups’ Pau Hana fun — Happy Hour.
With 7,000 sf of space, this bar has more than 101 vintage rum selections, fire pits that enhance the interior, and live music that heats up the night.
For sustainable farm-to-table eatery, the Kai Market takes pride in using locally-grown ingredients.
Inspired by the “food fairs” that emerged from Hawaii’s plantation era 130 years ago, the 350-capacity restaurant showcases family recipes contributed by the descendants of Chinese, Japanese, Okinawan, Korean, Puerto Rican, Portuguese and Filipino immigrants.
“Kai Market reflects Hawaii’s melting pot of cultures by delivering a modern and upscale dining event,” says Rob Morishige, Assistant Director of Catering/Convention Services. “It does so through the celebration of ohana (family) and aloha, which are the key ingredients of this uniquely Hawaiian experience.”
Executive Chef Darren Demaya is the “local boy” charged with overseeing this ample gourmet buffet that’s as grounded in culture as it is in sustainable cuisine. As fresh and tasty as made-to-order specialties, dishes are presented in oversized skillets that are swapped out frequently.
Even the decor plays a role, as chefs pluck fresh herbs and spices from swaths of greenery referred to as “living walls.”
Armed with traditional cutlery and chopsticks, we graze on alae salt-crusted, slow-roasted prime rib, pan-fried Hawaiian sea bass with Thai lobster curry sauce, Niihau seafood chowder, salt and pepper Kahuku shrimp and Molokai red potato salad. The ultimate palate-pleaser for us, however, is Aunty Tin Tin’s macaroni salad, which she whips up per our request. This type of interactive environment with chefs and staff makes an evening at Kai Market so much more than simply a meal.