First Look: Juicy Brew Kaimukī
There’s a new vegan and gluten-free eatery in Kaimukī.
Photo: Diane Lee
Health nuts, rejoice! A new Juicy Brew location recently opened in the former HI Tech Glass Designs spot in Kaimukī.
Don’t let the name “Juicy Brew” fool you. It’s not a store dedicated to juice cleanses. Yes, you can order fresh juice here on Mondays, but the vegan and gluten-free foods and baked treats are the main draw.
Juicy Brew Kaimukī owner Gary Blum, a surgeon during the week, cooks brunch with his mom on Sundays. Sisters Jennifer and Christina Hee split their time between cooking at the Kaimukī and the original Beretania Street location, tucked in the bottom level of Hale Pawa‘a.
THE OKONOMIYAKI WAFFLE.
The brunch menu changes every week and the baked treats change every day. The availability of locally sourced ingredients and vegetables often dictates what’s on the menu. When breadfruit is in season, you’ll find ‘ulu chips, ‘ulu baba ganoush and ‘ulu cinnamon rolls on the menu. “A lot of the ingredients we use aren’t common—it gives us room to play,” Jennifer Hee says.
That sense of experimentation is alive at Juicy Brew Kaimukī. Jennifer Hee, who also caters weddings and sustainable events, taught herself to cook with cookbooks borrowed from the library and online cooking videos. Hee favors organic cane sugar and organic agave over high fructose corn syrup, which is good news for health-conscious types. Juicy Brew’s baked treats use organic whole grain flours, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, we popped into Juicy Brew for “Japanese Vegan Brunch Your Face Off,” after circling the neighborhood block for street parking. As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by a deli-style counter filled with pre-made meals to go (breakfast sandwiches, vegan burritos, kale and black eyed pea soup, rainbow salad and vegan bread pudding). Juicy Brew has a few stools at the window counter, plus two tables that seat four people each.
We chose to sit at one of the tables and ordered three of six items off the brunch menu.
My friend Keiko, originally from Tokyo, gave a thumbs up to the tororo zara soba with miso dipping sauce. We really liked the perfectly cooked Japanese buckwheat noodles with white, gooey raw nagaimo (yam). We added a splash of water to the miso dipping sauce to lighten the saltiness.
The matcha crêpe ($7) arrived in a set of two. The crêpes, filled with matcha cream and topped with six strawberry slices, left me craving more. We’re big fans of sweet crêpes, so we yearned for more fruits or even a milky matcha green tea cream sauce to give the dish a little kick.
Dessert, the pomegranate and chia seed tapioca, was a favorite at our table.
There’s no espresso at the Kaimukī location. You can order drip and ice coffee, but try the vegan coffee jelly instead. “We’re trying to do fun stuff to make up for not having espresso,” Jennifer Hee says. In a few days, they’ll be offering fermented ginger beer made with local ginger. Starting next month, they will launch a new three- to five-day cleanse program featuring cold-pressed juices and healthy meals.
You don’t need to be a vegetarian or allergic to gluten to enjoy Juicy Brew Kaimukī. Yes, you can pick up bacon or turkey sandwiches at the deli counter to satisfy your inner meat eater, but you can also appreciate the attention to detail that goes into creating every dish and baked treat. The menu changes weekly, so you can expect to try something new every visit.