We said ‘aloha’ to one of the proprietors of the Kua ’Aina restaurant Ed Bardos in Goodge Street and discovered the secret that gives their food that distinctive Hawaiian flavour.
So how do we pronounce the name and what does it mean?
It’s pronounced ‘Koo-a-EYE-na’ and it’s Hawaiian for ‘country bumpkin’.
Who’s behind the restaurant and where did you get your inspiration?
My best mate Paul and I were in Hawaii and just loved the Kua ’Aina grilled sandwiches and burgers. There was nothing like them, or as tasty, in the UK, so we persuaded the owner Terry, who still runs three restaurants there, to train us, give us his recipes and let us use the name. Then we gave up our City jobs and started Kua ’Aina as a unique, independent addition to London’s fast/casual restaurant scene.
What Hawaiian specialities are on the menu?
We chargrill almost everything over lava rocks which is what gives our sandwiches, burgers & salads that special taste – along with our original and secret seasonings, all homemade from scratch. The cuisine is not Hawaiian as such but we import a great selection of craft beers from Kona Brewing Company and aim to serve everyone with the warmth and Aloha spirit you get in Hawaii.
Anything interesting coming up?
We have rotating monthly specials and love to run ‘surprise’ offers, so stay tuned @KuaAinaUK (or on Facebook). And look out for our food truck at festivals/events near you. kua-aina.co.uk/on-tour
Why did you choose Fitzrovia?
We had our eye on it for a while. It’s such a vibrant area with a great ‘village’ feel and changing rapidly. We thought our fast/casual food and price point would fit in very well.
What are your favourite local places to eat, drink and shop?
So many to choose from! On the rare occasion we escape from our own restaurant, we love the Bulletproof coffee at BlackSheep and a quick lunch ramen in the basement of Roka. No time for shopping!
Describe Fitzrovia in three words
Thriving, quirky, fast-changing.