Thursday, August 8, 2013

Panya Bistro & Bakery reopens at Hokua

Nadine Kam photos
Laksa served up at the newly reopened Panya Bistro & Bakery at Hokua.

What did you miss most after Panya Bistro & Bakery closed its doors at Ala Moana Center for its move to the former P.F. Chang spot at the Hokua, the desserts or savory dishes like spicy dumplings and laksa?

Chances are it was both, and now they're back, opening its doors to the public on Aug. 9, after a couple of private preview celebrations Aug. 7 and 8.

The bistro and bakery started by sisters Alice and Annie Yeung had spent 10 years at Ala Moana Center, winning the hungry over with light, Japan-style breads, pastries and confections, and a full menu of appetizers, salads, noodle and dumpling dishes, sandwiches, curries and more.

The decor of the new restaurant closely resembles that at Ala Moana, including some recycled and some new lights, the difficulty being that, 10 years after the original design, similar replacements were hard to find.

In speaking to the press at a preview event on Aug. 7, the sisters said that the endeavor marks, "another new start for us with a lot of things we carried before," simply because customers won't let them get rid of old favorites, although they said they have many more dishes they are planning to add to the menu.

Panya Bistro and Bakery founders and co-directors Alice, left, and Annie Yeung.

On this day, they brought back many best sellers, including my favorites: spicy wontons and laksa!

Although the new space measures a large 3,200 square feet, half of it amounts to kitchen and bakeshop, which means seating may feel cramped, but having the bakery on the premises means baked goods will be at their freshest at the time you order them. They're also dropping the self-serve format because being away from the fast traffic of the mall, they believe servers will be able to handle all pastry orders.

For big, morning workplace orders, they're hoping customers will call ahead the day before to allow them to prepare the desired products.

Glad to see them back!

Panya Bistro & Bakery at Hokua is at 1288 Ala Moana Blvd. #116. Meal service hours are 7 to 10:30 a.m. for breakfast, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for lunch; and 4:30 to 10 p.m. for dinner service Sundays through Thursdays, and 4:30 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Pretty cakes all in a row.

The decor closely resembles that of the former Ala Moana location.

Slurping good spicy won tons topped with green onions and sesame seeds.

Gyoza too.

Crab meat and salmon crostinis.

Smoked salmon sandwich.

Spicy fried rice.

A selection of desserts awaited at the end of lunch, including cream puffs, chocolate and banana mousse, panna cotta and a green tea roll with azuki bean filling.

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