The Tasting Panel magazine

January 2014

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Nobu Waikiki: Honolulu's Hidden Getaway BAR MANAGER KENNY LUM SETS SAIL FOR DRINKS BEYOND THE BEACH by Randy Wong / photos by Darryl Watanabe L ocated in the boutique Waikiki Parc Hotel, Nobu Waikiki is in a prime section of Honolulu's favorite tourist district. But although it is just steps from the beach, you shouldn't let its locale fool you. Its interior design is sleek and modern—its bar the perfect getaway from frozen drinks. The drinks are sophisticated yet unpretentious, deftly balancing the flavor profiles of both spirits and fresh ingredients. At the helm of Nobu Waikiki's bar is Kenny Lum, who was on the restaurant's opening team six years ago and has since worked his way up to Bar Manager. Lum feels the secret to success lies in the development of a strong bar team, a notion that resonates with the corporate culture of Nobu USA. Nobu bartenders, as part of their staff training, are encouraged to participate in the company's nationwide Grand Cordon competition, which occurs bi-monthly and helps the individual locations earn national recognition for their knowledge and creativity. This kind of healthy competition also fuels Lum's daily staff training sessions. "Everyone tastes and learns the products. We review the next week to make sure we have all the bases and details covered." As a tribute to the tight ship he runs, many of Lum's bartenders are now renowned in their own right, having been successful in local Kenny Lum creates sophisticated but competitions and having garnered unpretentious drinks at Nobu Waikiki with their own followings. products ranging from mezcal to saké. Lum's knowledge of cocktails, both classic and contemporary, is a necessity. His own concoctions use fresh island ingredients that pay homage to Chef Nobu's creativity and variety. "We have guests from all over the world," says Lum. "Some of them are familiar with other Nobu restaurants, and others are visiting for the first time. Our drink menu has some hits from the other locations, as well as drinks specific to our restaurant." Nobu Waikiki's back bar is stocked with an array of premium spirits that bests most Honolulu bars. Matched with the versatility of Lum's staff and drink menu, guests visiting Nobu Waikiki are bound to find something delicious to enjoy. Kenny Lum's Pineapple Mezcal This drink started off as a sweet potato shochu recipe—but when Kenny switched the base to mezcal, he found a match made in heaven. ◗ 1½ oz. Sombra Mezcal ◗ ¼ oz. pure yuzu juice ◗ ¼ oz. 1:1 simple syrup ◗ ¼ oz. fresh pineapple purée ◗ 1 barspoon Chartreuse V.E.P. ◗ 1 slice Serrano pepper ◗ 6 cubes fresh pineapple ◗ 5 cilantro sprigs ◗ Maldon salt ◗ Lightly roast pineapple cubes with a pastry torch to caramelize sugars. Muddle pineapple in mixing tin with slice of Serrano pepper and cilantro sprigs. Prepare coupe glass with a Maldon salt rim. Add liquid ingredients and ice to mixing tin and shake vigorously to incorporate. Double strain into coupe glass. 84  /  the tasting panel  /  january 2014 TP0114_66-108.indd 84 12/19/13 9:47 PM

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