We seldom eat out and locally we stick with restaurants we know, so we had not gotten around to checking out 'Oli'oli. Last Sunday while we were out and about, K suddenly suggested that we stop by there. It was just after two o'clock and we had already had lunch, but we figured we'd just have something to drink and see what it was like inside.
When we pulled up in front, there was a sign on the porch of the restaurant that said "CLOSED". We decided to walk up to the door and see if the hours were posted and as we approached a young woman in a Hawaiian print apron came to the door to tell us that they close at 2PM and reopen for dinner at 5, however, if we would like to come in, they'd let us stay until 3. Great!
Inside, we were seemingly transported to a mom and pop restaurant in the Islands, with wicker chairs, walls decorated with hula photos, a sumo wrestler sized Aloha shirt, coconut hat and other Hawaiiana. A nice mix of Hawaiian music plays in the background. The restaurant looks like a house from the outside, and in fact it is, with the home of the family that owns it sharing the same roof.
The menu was nicely hand made like a travel scrapbook. As we looked over the drinks - teas, tropical juices, and so on, K took a look at the entres. Prices were quite reasonable. We decided to try some food - after all they had stayed open for us - and ordered the mahimahi (a fish prized in Hawaii) and coconut ice cream for desert. Since we had already had lunch, K and I shared the meal.
I had some iced tea and K had guava juice. When the mahimahi came, the presentation of the food was very nice. Lots of little touches added to the atmosphere - aloha shirt coasters, silverware in a lauhala basket, and paper napkins in a Hawaiian print mug.
I'd not had mahimahi prepared this way before. It was on a bed of rice with a tomato sauce over it that had just a touch of spice. Mahimahi has a delicate flavor and should not be over cooked. This piece was done just right and was delicious.
Ice cream choices are mango, papaya, pineapple, and coconut, each served in a bowl shaped like the fruit. The coconut came in a half coconut shell, filled to the top. Even with two of us sharing it was twice what we normally would eat.
In another room there is a small bar and shop which offers a variety of Hawaiin style goodies for sale including pure Kona coffee. Organic Kona coffee - named for area on the island of Hawaii where it is grown - is has excellent flavor, but is very high in caffeine and so is often blended with other high quality beans to 10% of the total grind. (It also expensive). Pure Kona coffee would have me bouncing off the walls with a single cup, so we gave it a pass.
As we drove out, the owners were having their lunch out on the front deck and warmly thanked us again, Japanese/Hawaiian style, for coming.
We were both very pleasantly surprised by 'Oli'oli. It was much a better experience than we had hoped. Good food, good service, good prices, good fun! ~Hawaiian style~ in Kashima City. We'll have to go back soon for dinner.
'Oli'oli Cafe - 0299-69-1571