MANILA -- Many fans of Honolulu Cafe were saddened last year when it seemed that its branch at SM Aura Premier would be closing for good. They will be happy to know that this cha chaan teng is back with a space that’s bigger and safer than ever.
Located just a couple of spaces away from its previous location at the mall's lower ground floor, Honolulu Cafe 2.0 has taken some design notes from its sister branch at Robinson’s Place Manila.
With twice the floor area of its previous space, the roasting station is a welcome addition at this new location where soy chicken and barbecued pork are hung in preparation for guests.
The café’s popular egg tarts are now in a warmer right beside the counter which also serves as an express area where take-out customers can wait as they wait for their drinks, buns, and take-out orders.
While the café could have squeezed in more guests in the bigger space, the people behind Honolulu Cafe are quick to note that the new layout and certain design features have been implemented with social distancing and dining in the new normal in mind.
With the new layout, there is a one-way entry-exit flow that’s done within the restaurant, minimizing contact with servers and other guests. Near invisible plastic shields separate each table to promote social distancing between guests. The space is fully open to the outside corridor that gives the space an al fresco feel. This has the added benefit of attracting passers-by to peer into the restaurant to check out the food and safety standards.
The Hong Kong favorites are still in Honolulu Cafe’s menu. The sweet buttery Bolo Buns with Barbecue pork and the super flaky 192-layer egg tarts are available for snacking and ideally paired with hot or cold Hong Kong Style Milk Tea, Honey Lemon Tea, Ovaltine or Yuan Yang, tea mixed in coffee.
Filling Chinese comfort food like the Pork Chop with Green Onion Noodles and the Beef with Chinese Curry remain crowd favorites.
The roast station has added freshly roasted soy chicken and barbecue pork to its selection.
A must-order at Honolulu Cafe is new addition, Roast “Toro” Pork Belly. This was added to the roast selection due to requests from frequent guests and Chinese patrons for barbecued pork with more fat. This is one of the must-orders for its rich juicy texture.
All of the entrees are also available for delivery via GrabFood and FoodPanda. An option for those looking for a complete meal is Honolulu Cafe’s bento boxes with noodles, a rice topping, salad and kropek.