High Tea Now Served on Kauai
The Tea Room at The Gallery evokes a charming, easy going time when things moved a lot slower. Teas, written by hand with colored chalk, are listed on chalkboards that are hung with white ribbon. There’s botanical tea powder by Naikela, which is grown and blended on the North Shore. Traditional teas include fragrant Extra Bergamot Earl Grey, Da Zhang jasmine green, first flush darjeeling, rooibos, organic Pai Mu Tan and Yunnan White Needle white teas and double fermented pu-erh.
After selecting tea ($10, served in 20-ounce cast-iron Japanese pots), we take a seat in the dining area. The room fills with music as a West Side resident plays a baby grand piano. There’s a chaise lounge and couch by French doors. Local art hangs on walls that are covered in teal carpet, and wicker chairs with mauve padding are tucked along wood tables that sit on blonde wood floors.
The menu includes a la carte options, such as a duet of savory croissants ($6); two miniature macadamia nut sticky buns ($6); an assortment of tea cookies ($6); Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding with caramelized apple bananas and creme fraiche with brown sugar and Koloa Gold Rum ($7); or a dessert plate ($10), which includes four miniature pastries.
Owner Judy Palmer also owns nearby Haole Girl Island Sweets, but The Tea Room at The Gallery enables her to put her extensive pastry skills to use. Judy graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. She helped reopen the Princeville Resort after it was damaged by Hurricane Iniki, was the featured pastry chef at the 2004 James Beard Awards and in 2000, she was the executive pastry chef for the Cannes Film Festival.
At Haole Girl, Judy makes buttery croissants with sweet and savory fillings, sticky buns, and cookies by hand. Some of those show up here, but the dessert plate and Full Service High Tea ($28) are where you’ll get her delectable pastries.
Full Service High Tea is served in three progressively sweet courses, and pastries change based on seasonality and availability. Today, the first course includes a choice of two croissants filled with either goat cheese, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes; Havarti, mushroom and onion; or smoked salmon and Boursin cheese.
The second course includes the most amazing macadamia nut sticky buns, which are made with croissant dough, and a slice of apple banana tea cake. The cakes change, and green tea butter cake as well as carrot pineapple cake have been served.
Our third course consists of tender slices of pink, yellow and green cake layered with house-made frangipane and guava jam, topped with chocolate ganache; chocolate flourless cake with chocolate frosting, crustless passion fruit cheesecake, a fresh fruit tart with lilikoi cream and fresh berries as well as a lemon meringue tart.
“High tea is a midway meal, and when you come in here, you feel like you’re in a totally different era,” says Judy, who gave The Tea Room at The Gallery its name because it’s located in the former Mazzarella Gallery. “You’re pampered, you relax, you destress. You can just be you and not worry about everything else that’s going on.”
The Tea Room at The Gallery
Kinipopo Shopping Village
4-356 Kuhio Hwy., Kapaa
Reservations available on Open Table
Gluten-free high tea service is available with advance notification
Thurs. – Fri. 4 to 8 p.m.
Sat and Sun. 2 to 8 p.m.
All images copyright 2016 Daniel Lane/Pono Photo. For more information, visit www.PonoPhoto.com.