One of the many things I adore about London is the incredible mix of cultures we have living in our city, with that has come the ease of finding restaurants of different nations. Soho plays host to an abundance of family run Chinese restaurants while Shoreditch has plentiful places to dine on traditional Vietnamese food, I enjoy being able to indulge in cultures or being instantly taken back to travel memories while dining over foreign dishes and to be honest; like most people, I just really love food. However, I had never really considered a Hawaiian restaurant until I found out about Kua ‘Aina, I cannot say I have ever had the feeling of ‘I really feel like Hawaiian food’ but since visiting a few weeks ago ‘I really feel like eating at Kua ‘Aina’ is thought that enters my head on a regular basis.
Kua ‘Aina, or “Koo-a eye-na”, means “back country”, but is more often used to describe a country bumpkin in Hawaii. For native Hawaiians it can mean those who actively live Hawaiian culture and keep the spirit of the land alive.
Kua ‘Aina describes itself as ‘Burgers and ‘lava-grilled’ specialities in Americana-inspired cafe with beach shack-style decor’ and this is correct. Kua ‘Aina is decked out exactly how I imagine a cute surf shack in Maui to look, added with the friendly staff in bright Hawaiian shirts, you just feel happy walking in. Each time I have walked past Kua ‘Aina it has been busy, while I always take this as a good sign, you can only make a booking by emailing, so it take this into consideration if you are planning on visiting.
Kua’ Aina is essentially Hawaiian twists on a variety of Burgers, but they are just cooked to perfection and filled with so much flavour. I also really enjoy that you can choose between either a seeded bun or toasted bread, as the Artisan toasted bread is just right for a lighter meal. I choose ‘grilled halloumi and roasted red pepper’, on the menu it simply says ‘You seriously cannot go wrong with anything that has halloumi in it’. Kua’ Aina are obviously on my wavelength because if I could I would eat halloumi for breakfast, brunch,lunch and dinner. This was washed down with a fresh banana, mango and pineapple smoothie.
The meal was filling but did not make you feel incredibly bloated, but after seeing ‘fluffy american pancakes’ on the dessert menu, I could not help but over indulge and it was worth it. The fresh pancakes were topped with maple syrup and chocolate chips, completely reminiscent of some of the desserts we had when in California. Atmosphere contributes greatly to how I view a restaurant, again Kua ‘Aina does not disappoint, the Goodge Street manager especially provided brilliant service, and despite the restaurant becoming incredibly busy during our time we did not once feel rushed or unattended too. I felt like I could waste so much time looking at all of the little details over the walls as well, from maps of Hawaii with added tips and hidden secrets, to the Polaroids of champions who have completed their food eating challenge ( Have I ever mentioned how much I want to do a ‘man vs food’ style holiday?).
If you are looking for somewhere a bit different for dinner in central London that also has a great atmosphere, I would definitely recommend giving Kua ‘Aina in Goodge street a shot. The prices are average for central London and could get a little expensive with alcohol added on, but I honestly think the food and overall experience is worth it. I personally will be visiting again. Kua ‘Aina also have a branch in Soho, just off Carnaby street and in Belfast.
40 Goodge Street, London, W1T 2QP
(in the heart of Fitzrovia just off Charlotte Street and Tottenham Court Road)
Tel: 020 7637 0591
26 Foubert’s Place, London, W1F 7PP
(located in Soho just off Carnaby Street)
Tel: 020 7287 7474