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Wednesday 28 April 2010

Kihei Caffe, Kihei Maui - Simple hearty brekkies!

Macadamia nut and banana waffle
Rating:  Service 8/10, Food 7.5/10

Queuing up in line whilst gawking my head up at the menu items tacked up above the order window like the obvious tourist I am, Kihei Caffe is part patio, part hole in the wall with an air of cafeterias of the days of old.  The air is redolent in the smell of frying bacon, syrup and french toast.. mmm.  The short order cooks are friendly, boisterous and chats with the regulars and newcomers alike.  After placing and paying for our orders, we navigate the creaky planks and find a shaded table on the patio to await our early morning hearty repast.

the FOOD
What's brekkie without the traditional Americana fare - eggs, bacon, sausage, french toast, waffles and in Hawaii.. for ones with a big appetite for breakfast - the infamous Loco Moco found only on Hawaii - a mind boggling cultural mountain of fried rice topped with seasoned hamburger patties, fried eggs and from scratch gravy. We ordered all of the above!

A hearty standard choice is one of their brekkie combos with choice of eggs (scrambled are nice and fluffy), a veritable mountain of fried tender seasoned taters, meat (sausage, thick sliced bacon or ham) and a freshly baked buttery biscuit.  Where's the bacon?
The cooks didn't forget the all important bacon.. its served on its own platter mainly because its it'll topple off the loaded platter.  The bacon was some of the thickest slabs my arteries have ever whimpered at.  Fried to a tender crisp, melting on your tongue with a salty smokey bacony goodness and a slight bit of sweetness.  The generous portion was more than enough to satisfy any bacon lover's sinful bacon craving - almost ot the point of gluttony.  Almost. Nom!

Hawaiians are super proud of macadamia nuts and with good reason - they're incredibly addictivey soooo good! And known for some of the best macadamia nut pancakes and waffles on Maui, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try them right?  Hankering for some fruit, I chose the waffles rather than the pancakes - though the waffles weren't superly studded with crunchy macadamia nut bits, the generous pile of toasted macadamia nuts married well with ripe banana, a touch of whipped cream (you can ask for a huge gob free of charge if you like your waffles smothered) atop of a crisp and tender waffle dusted with icing sugar.  Bonus points for the waffle staying crisp till the end of the meal without soggifying.  Surprisingly quite filling, well, maybe the waffle being a size of a dinner plate had to do with it :P

The french toast was well executed - crisp exterior, tender interior with hints of cinnamon in the eggy batter, topped with 2 sliced ripened bananas, a handful of toasted macadamia nut bits and dusted thoroughly with icing sugar to add a hint of sweetness.  For those who love their french toast swimming in syrup - you can drown your brekkie with a selection of syrups tableside.

Finally, the infamous Loco Moco.  A curious stack of cultural breakfast/brunch items are melded together to form what many Hawaiians are ferociously proud of - many see it as a mark of macho man-ism to finish this formidable mountain of food.  Kihei Caffe has two versions - one with a single egg and plain rice, or the traditional version with fried rice and 2 eggs along with the handshaped mammoth seasoned burger patty and gravy.  The record was 5 eggs ordered by a regular.  While the fried rice was on the plain side, with a few chunks of ham, some peas and diced carrot for some color, the rich scratch gravy pulled the entire dish together.  Get your eggs easy over so the runny yolks add another level to the goopy savory goodness. Eat fast though, the gravy thickens and congeals as it cools - once it does, it becomes an unappetizing paste.

Overall, a decent place to grab a hearty breakfast - no wimpy fruity breakfasts in sight here.  Quibbles - the fresh fruit juices were extremely watered down, fried rice would have benefited from seasoning, and gravy though rich and delicious - needed to be thinned down a bit so it doesn't congeal quickly into a paste.  Great place for locales, families, couples and tourists to grab an inexpensive and huge breakfast.  And the bacon.... mmmm!

Kihei Caffe
Address 1945 South Kihei Road, Kihei, Maui HI
Phone (808) 879-2230
Hours Open daily 5am-3pm
Kihei Caffe on Urbanspoon


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