Enjoy French-Hawaiian Fusion at The Blue Room
KauKau and bon appétit! These are not two words often heard in the same sentence. Yet in The Blue Room Brasserie & Bar at The Shops at Mauna Lani, Chef Wes Monty and Chef Norio Yamamoto create culinary magic by fusing traditional Hawaiian flavors with a slightly French twist.
The Shops at Mauna Lani is not a stranger to delicious gourmet establishments and The Blue Room fits in nicely with its haute surroundings. The quaint but classy venue offers a lovely Parisian-style sidewalk cafe dining experience in addition to an intimate indoor dining area.
“The inspiration came from our two owners, Chef Yamamoto and Chef Monty,” said restaurant manager Kalei Naone. “They wanted to give back to this place they now call home. Because it’s Hawai‘i, they wanted to do something that would honor the Hawaiian culture, so they chose to honor the monarchy.”
“The Hawaiian monarchy had relationships with some of the other countries that also had monarchs and France was one of them,” said Naone. “Chef Monty loved France and wanted to give the restaurant that feeling of being at a cafe in Paris.”
The restaurant’s name, “The Blue Room,” is inspired by the historically significant Blue Room inside ‘Iolani Palace in Honolulu. The French-inspired room was designed to greet guests into the royal residence during the reign of King Kalakaua, also known as The Merry Monarch.
“The name The Blue Room is significant because it comes from ‘Iolani Palace,” said Naone. “The Blue Room at the palace is the reception room. It’s the place where people would be greeted by the monarchs before they entered the formal dining room. It would be an area where people would mingle, have cocktails and just enjoy each other’s company. This is the feeling we want people to have here in our restaurant.”
Native to Hawai‘i, some of Naone’s family’s artifacts are on display at the restaurant along with photographs of Hawai‘i’s female monarchs.
We wanted to honor the woman of the monarchy,” she said. “We hear so much about the men in Hawaiian culture and not the women. Because of that, The Blue Room is dedicated to the women of Hawaiian Monarchy. It’s about the vision they had and how they wanted to leave something behind for the people.”
The Blue Room creates dishes with a delicate fusion of fresh Hawaiian fish and fruits, influenced with a uniquely French flair. Some of the tantalizing menu items include Foie Gras Torchon served with pineapple chutney and macadamia nuts, Tuna Poke with marinated mushrooms, olives anchovy vinaigrette and deviled egg and Bouillabaisse made with local fish, Kaua‘i shrimp, abalone and lobster.
One standout dish is the Grilled Pork Chop with Mango BBQ sauce. Made with 21-day aged pork, and braised lūʻau leaves, the result is a surprising touch of sweetness that elevates the flavors of the lū.ʻau and pork without overwhelming the palate.
For an enticing appetizer, The Blue Room offers chilled oysters from Washington State served with a delicious mignonette sauce. Paired with a glass of bubbly prosecco, you have a recipe for serious romance.
Another favorite is the Pumpkin and Onion Gratin topped with Greyere cheese, a spin on the classic french onion soup. It pairs perfectly with The Blue Room’s freshly baked bread and butter.
If diners wish to imbibe, The Blue Room offers a nice choice of wine and beer along with creatively concocted cocktails including Fraise Sauvage, made with gin, strawberry puree, lemon, vanilla and prosecco.
If it’s tequila you fancy, try the Fleur de Lys, made with Don Julio silver tequila, elderflower liqueur and cucumber, or the Agave Kiss, made with Patrón Silver Tequila, raspberry puree, pineapple and Hawaiian chili. For the spy and martini lover, there is the Filthy Bleu, made with Absolut Vodka, olive brine, chili pepper and bleu cheese stuffed olives.
Don’t forget to ask about their daily specials, which if you’re lucky may include the Almond Crusted Brie, served hot with a side of chutney and fresh fruit.
If you enjoy a classy and romantic dining experience, The Blue Room is sure to impress. Whether you choose to toast your friends in French—”A votre santé!,” or Hawaiian, “Okole maluna!”—the delicious culinary experience remains the same. Bon appétit!
The Blue Room is located at The Shops at Mauna Lani, Ste. 108, on the Kohala Coast.
For reservations, call (808) 887-0999.