The Veranda Afternoon Tea Serves as Respite During Hotel Renovations
The multimillion-dollar facelift hasn’t affected tea service one bit.
The Kāhala Hotel & Resort is under renovations, but the afternoon tea service at The Veranda remains the same. And that’s a good thing.
Photos: (left) Courtesy of The Kāhala Hotel & Resort, (right) Catherine Toth Fox
The Kāhala Hotel & Resort is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, which has shut down its signature restaurant, Hōkū’s, through May. But one thing remains (thankfully) the same: the afternoon tea service at The Veranda.
I love the concept of afternoon tea, where you can relax with a beautiful cup of aromatic tea and plates of finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and mini pastries—lots of mini pastries. And I’m not really a tea drinker!
The Veranda’s afternoon tea service is one of my favorites, served between 2 and 5:30 p.m. daily on the lānai overlooking the hotel pool, palm trees and Pacific Ocean. The menu was updated in May 2017, with all of its teas curated by the former tea sommelier Brittnee Lau, now the director of dining and wine at the O‘ahu Country Club.
There are four options when it comes to afternoon tea here. You can order just the sweet treats or the savory sandwiches—sans tea—for $20. The Classic Tea Service—the most popular—comes with four sweets and four savory sandwiches, including tea, for $50. At $60, the Royal Tea Service is everything the Classic has but with a glass of Champagne. And the Imperial Tea Service is all that plus a half-pound box of the hotel’s signature milk-chocolate-covered macadamia nuts for $80. You can keep adding glasses of Champagne for $16 each.
There are 12 different tea options, including the popular Kāhala Signature Blend, a black tea with lemon peel, lemon myrtle, dried fruits, hibiscus and marigold petals. I also like the White Rose, a delicate Chinese white tea with dried fruit pieces and rose petals, and the Sunny Meadow, a bright blend of chamomile flowers, spearmint, liliko‘i leaves, lemongrass, orange peel, cinnamon and strawberry leaves. All of the teas are meant to be served hot, and asking for any of them iced will elicit lengthy explanations about why that’s a bad idea.
The beautiful china is part of the appeal of afternoon tea at The Veranda.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox
The food is where this afternoon tea service shines, especially considering this is what most people complain about—portions are too small, flavors are meh. Not at The Kāhala. I can honestly say I was full by the end of it.
The four savory offerings are incredibly tasty and beautifully plated. The standout is the king crab and bacon deviled eggs with cream cheese, chives and Dijon mustard. The three sandwiches—prosciutto with fig-jam butter and pears on organic sprouted wheat bread, curried roast chicken and avocado salad on nine-grain bread, and the open-face Greek yogurt cheese with fresh herbs topped with shaved radishes on toasted dark rye bread—are both filling and delicious.
The savory offerings at The Veranda’s afternoon tea.
The plate of sweets served at afternoon tea at The Veranda.
There are scones, too, of course.
For sweet treats, The Kāhala serves a roasted pineapple and pistachio tart, hibiscus and raspberry mousse, chocolate-yuzu macaron and a strawberry-guava pâte de fruit. I appreciated the variety—one chocolate, a couple of fruity flavors—that kept the plate interesting. And, of course, there are scones, too, proper ones that are both sturdy and moist.
My only complaint? I wish afternoon tea was offered all day long.
2 to 5:30 p.m. daily on the lānai off The Veranda, 5000 Kāhala Ave., (808) 739-8760, kahalaresort.com