Location:40 Goodge St, Bloomsbury, London W1T 2QP
Date & Time: Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 7pm
Average Cost: £15-25 (meal & drinks for 2)
We didn’t actually plan to visit Kua ‘Aina (pronounced Koo-a eye-na), as we had originally bought an offer from Timeout for Rawligon. Unfortunately we arrived at the restaurant only to find a notice advising that Rawligion (Tottenham Street) had closed down.
There was no way we were heading home with our hungry bellies, so we wandered the streets until we found somewhere else to eat. This wasn’t our usual unknown restaurant venture, Kua’aina was one of those ‘I’ve been before and the food was decent‘ type of places (recommended by Nifesi). 😉
Venue & Atmosphere
Kua’aina which first opened on North Shore, Hawaii in 1975, has definitely tried to preserve the Hawaiian beach vibe through it’s decor and staff uniform. Although based on the busy London streets as you step into the venue you enter what has been creatively put together as a beach hut restaurant. You are surrounded by bright colours, references to Hawaii and a number of different beach/surfing pictures. The atmosphere definitely has the ‘feel good’ factor.
The music was nice, not too loud and overbearing. We even had a little sing-along to some of the tunes, which we believe were from the 70s/80s era.
The customer service was on point! Everyone who waited on/served us were very friendly and attentive. They took their time to explain the menu and offered suggestions based on their favourite dish.
Honey Mustard Mini Sausages – £3.95
100% pork sausages drenched in honey and mustard dressing
Coconut King Prawns with Sweet Chilli Sauce – £5.95
Succulent prawns dipped by us in panko crumbs & rolled in coconut.
HULI FALAFEL BURGER (v) – £8.95
Homemade lightly spiced falafel with a dash of sweet chilli.
Spicy fries – +50p
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN BURGER – £10.95
Fried Succulent chicken breast, coated in huli spiced breadcrumbs.
Happy hour – 2 for £10
PASSIONFRUIT BELLINI – £6.95
Passionfruit & Bubbles
PINA COLADA – £6.95
Golden Rum, Coconut, Pineapple, Vanilla Ice Cream
Hmmm…what coconut?? I was a little disappointed by these prawns. The description had me intrigued and licking my lips but the reality was the dish was simply deep fried battered prawns with a side of sweet chilli sauce. I just expected more! Taste-wise it was okay… Perhaps they should drop the coconut in the dish name, I think it’s a bit misleading but on the other hand maybe you’re not meant to taste the coconut… who knows?!
I quite regularly have falafel in a wrap or pitta bread but I’ve never tried a falafel burger. Unfortunately this dish was a bit of a let down, again there just wasn’t much to it. I wasn’t keen on the burger texture, it was way too soft… bordering on mushy. I know… I know…falafels are not designed to be hard and crunchy but I was expecting the burger to be a little firmer. The dash of sweet chilli that they mention in the description was the same sweet chilli sauce that they used for the coconut prawns which is pretty standard as far as sweet chilli sauce goes.
The food was just average, I would consider trying a dessert from the menu but have no desire to try any of the other mains.
HONEY MUSTARD SAUSAGES
Similar to Maria I expected so much more due to the description on the menu. Unfortunately it was simply typical mini cocktail sausages and a side dip of honey mustard sauce. I expected that maybe the sausages would have something special about them or maybe even the manner in which they would be presented. Don’t get me wrong the sausages were good as I’ve never had honey mustard sauce but my tastebuds were not blown away by the combination.
To be honest, the food was alright, it scratched the hunger itch but it didn’t seem like there was much to write home about. Having been to this particular branch before and ordered a salad which surprised me, I may have had higher expectations. I did notice the menu had changed since I last visited in November 2016. My butter chicken was tasty but I felt there definitely could have been much more ingredients added to the burger apart from lettuce and tomato to make it a party in my mouth. To summarise i’ve tried it once but I wouldn’t order it again.
Unfortunately we weren’t blown away by this ‘Burger and Sandwich Restaurant’. After the fantastic customer service we really wanted to like it but the food was just mediocre. The atmosphere and restaurant vibe makes it a good location to catch up with friends, so we would recommend you take advantage of the happy hour and pop by for a drink or two. Would we visit again? Probably not to eat but would consider stopping by for a cocktail before heading to somewhere else.
Overall restaurant rating:
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