First Look: Egghead Café in Kaka‘ako
This breakfast and brunch spot offers stacks of playful pancakes, filling sandwiches and Taiwanese-inspired specials. And eggs. Lots of eggs.
What we ate at Egghead Café, a new breakfast spot in Kaka‘ako.
Photos: Catherine Toth Fox
Our criteria for a good breakfast café:
Comfortable, welcoming atmosphere
Not super busy
Plenty of seating options
So when we walked into Egghead Café, which opened in January in an industrial part of Kaka‘ako, surrounded by auto body shops, we were happy to see cute decorations (“Smile, be an egghead”), open seats at the window and outside, and a full menu of egg dishes.
Inside the café on a weekday for breakfast. No line, but it was definitely busy.
Unlike most sit-down cafés, at Egghead, you place your order at the cash register before grabbing a table, and the staff will bring your food when it’s ready. That gives you time to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi and marvel at the adorable mugs that say “Egghead gives a French toast.” Around 10 a.m. on a Wednesday, there wasn’t much of a line, but enough people sitting around to make us wonder who they were and why they had time for brunch in the middle of the week.
With a name like Egghead Café, the eggs better be cooked perfectly. We ordered four dishes that each took a different approach to cooking and incorporating them.
First, breakfast. We got a caramel latte ($3.75 regular, $4.25 large) and a stack of s’mores pancakes ($11.50)—three fluffy ’cakes cloaked in marshmallow cream and dark chocolate ganache, topped with mini mallows and graham cracker crumbs. I’m a sucker for sweets, but it was difficult to make much progress without anything like fruit on the side to cut the sugariness. Happily, the pancakes were nice and fluffy, not too dense—the downfall of many stacks that are further weighed down by syrup. Even on day two, when I reheated my leftovers and added some boysenberry syrup, they stayed fluffy. How do you make pancakes fluffy? You separate your eggs when making the batter. Point Egghead.
First things first, we ordered a caramel latte.
The s’mores pancakes features three fluffy ’cakes cloaked in marshmallow cream and dark chocolate ganache, topped with mini mallows and graham cracker crumbs.
The Mexican Benedict ($10.25) comes with house-made chorizo (everything is house-made here) under two poached eggs dripping with a tangy verde hollandaise sauce. The chorizo was a nice substitute for Canadian bacon—how many people actually eat that for breakfast, anyway?—and the buttery French bread stood up to the oozing sauce and yolks with resolve. And the eggs? Flawless. Point two.
For another style of egg, we ordered the liliko‘i BLT ($9.25), which has your standard bacon, greens and tomato slices, but also scrambled eggs with mayo and liliko‘i dressing, on toasted focaccia. Unfortunately, I couldn’t taste any liliko‘i at all, but it was a nice breakfast sandwich nonetheless, especially with a side of seasoned waffle fries. (You can get a side of greens instead of fries, but you’ll find greens on your plate regardless. The menu says it’s important to eat your greens.)
The Mexican Benedict has house-made chorizo under two poached eggs dripping with a tangy verde hollandaise sauce.
Online, Egghead claims to be Taiwanese-inspired, but we found more local and California flavors than Asian, which only showed up in the specials. One of our favorite dishes was the porky bowl ($8.50)—a surprise for me, a breakfast girl through and through. Chunks of pork belly are braised in shoyu, then served atop rice and pickled cucumber and carrot. The umami was a nice reprieve from the pancakes, which I kept pecking at between bites.
Despite the occasional loud blender noises making conversation difficult, Egghead is a thoroughly pleasant spot for a bite to eat. To top it off? It has a private parking lot shared with nearby businesses, with dedicated stalls.
885 Queen St., open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, parking in a private lot with dedicated stalls, 591-0066, eggheadhonolulu.com