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Let’s say you’ve spent the morning enjoying a Dolphin Encounter at Sea Life Park, and you’re looking for a not-so-casual, but not-so-formal spot to have a sit-down lunch after your exciting morning. Well, I have the place for you: Central Bakery on Oahu. It’s in Kahala, on your way back to Waikiki, and the restaurant/bakery is the ideal spot to fill-up on gourmet breads, succulent soups, refreshing salads, pastas, and meat entrees before spending the rest of the day at the beach.
I’ve passed-by the restaurant a dozen times since moving back to the islands, but one thing or another has kept me from stopping-in. But, the other day presented an opportunity to finally get inside, and I’m so glad I did!
First impression: Central Bakery is bright, cheery, and reminiscent of a small cafe in Paris, complete with the scent of baking bread. You’ll notice clean tables, chatting customers, and chalk boards with menu items — and “pleasant” is the word that kept ruminating in my head.
Sitting down, we had a friendly server who immediately served us DELICIOUS fresh bread. And, to my delight, we were seated next to a window, where we could gaze upon the bakers making fresh bread in the kitchen. Three different kinds of bread made their way to our table (my favorite was a simple french baguette), and we had to keep ourselves from devouring the entire basket.
Before you fill-up on bread, take a look at the menu and decide how to manage your appetite. We opted for a Caprese salad and Shrimp Cream to share, and both plates ended-up providing perfect portions. The Caprese salad arrived, and we immediately dug in. We tremendously enjoyed the ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzerella, with sun dried tomatoes on top. For a garnish, the chef dispersed fresh greens on the plate, which gave the dish even more beautiful color.
Our Shrimp Cream pasta entree was just the right size for two. Although I was a bit disappointed at only seeing four shrimp, the pasta was the real show-stopper anyway. The spaghetti was cooked perfectly al-dente, and the sauce tasted like a mixture of vodka sauce with added cream. It was delightful!
Although we didn’t order but two dishes, several other menu items caught my eye, such as the antipasto misto and charcuterie platter. The charcuterie platter is a features smoky quiche, prosciutto served over pineapple, saba, grilled salmon over a carrot salad, burrata and grilled vegetables.
And, if you’re in the mood for a more savory and filling dish, consider some of the meat dishes which feature pork, lamb, and beef.
Although we stopped-in for a quick lunch, we found ourselves sitting a bit longer to enjoy the ambiance. Little touches make this restaurant and bakery on Oahu a most pleasant place in which to spend an afternoon. For example, since we couldn’t finish our entire bread bowl, the server insisted we take our bakery items home and wrapped them up for us.
If you’re looking for a restaurant and bakery on Oahu that will transport you to an authentic Parisian cafe, this is the place for you. So, consider stopping-in next time you’re in East Oahu, but expect to linger!