The claim to fame at Orchids, the beach-front restaurant at the Halekulani' hotel, is their Coconut Cake. It's legendary, and easily the best on the island of Oahu. But more on that later! We've eaten our way through the entire dessert menu to tell you what other sweets are must-orders.
Let's start with the Lychee and Strawberry Fraisier. A green tea sponge cake is at the forefront, surrounded by crisp black currant meringues, rose powder, and strawberries. An airy, light strawberry mousse with fresh lychees is tucked in the center.
Orchids offers a rotation of six different housemade sorbets and ice cream each day. I'm usually an ice cream person, but for hot Hawai'i afternoons, their sorbets are excellent. Fresh local fruits are used to make flavors like the tart calamansi or the bright pineapple sorbet. Also keep your eye out for the candied lemon-acai, a refreshing pairing.
The Lilikoi and Chocolate Bar pairs flourless chocolate cake with lilikoi cream and curd, and a topping of chocolate mousse. Outside of Hawaii, lilikoi goes by the name passion fruit, and it's a must have—our local fruits are extra vibrant in flavor. Crushed macadamia nut powder and coconut ice cream come on the side.
The Chocolate Cream creation is for when you're feeling decadent. Dark chocolate brownies are plated alongside whipped milk chocolate cream and local apple-bananas. The bananas are roasted and gently caramelized. Make sure to spoon up some of the white honey and vanilla ice cream in each bite.
And finally, the coconut cake!! Coconut cakes are popular throughout the island, but no one does it like Orchids. Triple layers of marvelous, feathery chiffon cake come layered with vanilla bean custard. The custard has the texture of whipped cream, delicate with finely shredded coconut folded into the mix. The whole thing is covered with a brush of whipped cream and more shredded coconut. It's impossible not to devour the whole thing. If I had to pick an all-time favorite Hawaii restaurant dessert, this would be it.
About the author: Born in Hawaii and based in NYC, Kathy YL Chan dreams of travel, plush hotel beds, and afternoon tea.