It’s no understatement when I say that I am not a person that is easily impressed…however, I have to admit that Kua’aina “had me at hello…”. It’s always refreshing to be pleasantly surprised when you least expect it, and that’s exactly what happened on the day I came across this place.
My friend’s Carnaby Privilege Card and the promise of a 50% discount was what got the ball rolling that afternoon. We were looking for somewhere to eat downtown so everyone got their mental ‘Rolodex of places to eat’ out. At some point, Kua’aina came up as a suggestion, and at the time a discount and what sounded like Hawaiian food, felt like a good idea. So, we headed over to check it out.
At first glance, we were not impressed. I was impressed the least out of the group…and came very close to leaving. Thank god though we didn’t. One of the guys behind the counter saw the skepticism on our faces and sparked up a conversation. This drew us in and got us looking at the menu of a place that now looked less like anything Hawaiian related and more like a sandwich shop.
The promise of “the best burger in the world” was too enticing not to explore. And by this point, the owners came over and joined in the conversation, so part of our change of heart was due to them. My defining factor for any establishment, aside from the food, is meeting the people behind the place. If they make me feel comfortable and give off good vibes, then I am happily willing to give them my money.
It took a while to order because we really didn’t know what to eat. I flirted with the idea of a Chargrilled Sirloin Steak sandwich or the Avocado Burger, but in the end, I had to go with the burger.
1/2 lb Avocado Burger with Cheese – served open face with a fan of avocado slices placed on top of a perfect stack of : patty, oozing cheddar cheese, and rings of grilled onion.
2 X 1/2 lb Cheeseburgers – same awesome stack, without avocado.
Homemade Coleslaw – You could tell instantly that this was made in-house : crunchy, sweet and balanced.
Large Crunchy Fries
3 Pints of Asahi Beer (draught) – cold, crisp and straight to the point
Clearly, we ordered way too much food, but our motto at the time was “go strong or go home”. When all the food was brought to us, we knew instantly that it would fulfill all our expectations. What was also pretty amazing was that everyone working there waited impatiently for us to take our first bites. So we did…and then we looked at each other and nodded in agreement…”Amazing”. That first bite took me on a trip back to NY…a trip full of nostalgia and love. Every bite was better than the one before, solidifying the fact that this was my ‘go to place’ from now on.
It took me 3 years to find a good burger place in London, so if you want to save some money and precious time, take a walk down Carnaby Street and walk into Kua’aina. There you will be welcomed by friendly faces and what will be one of the best culinary experiences you will ever have. Enjoy….
Conclusion: Service 10/10 (2 very cool owners), Food 9/10 (almost perfect…one point off coz it got messy ), Atmosphere 7/10 (all worked but it can get real busy sometimes), Experience 10/10 (I would go back & would definitely recommend it to friends), Professionalism/Training 10/10 (again, good job guys!)
KUA ‘AINA – 26 Foubert’s Place, London W1F 7PP- Tel: 020 7287 7474