26 Foubert’s Place
First things first: how the hell do you pronounce the name of this place? Kua ‘Aina should escape from your mouth sounding something like ‘Koo-a eye-na’. If that’s not helping you, it also rhymes with a lady part. (And that’s as much as we’re giving you).
When you walk into this Hawaiian burger place, just off Carnaby Street, there is a serving of Hawaiian relaxation going on. Surf boards hang from the walls, flower garlands instantly make you look around for a grass skirt, and club sandwiches waft past people’s noses, chilling out in cute wicker baskets. This is the kind of haunt where you feel a little compelled to crack open a beer, order a burger of your choosing, and then stretch into a long-term lounging position.
Burgers at Kua ‘Aina come bare and naked in Classic form, or adorned with Cheddar, Swiss cheese, Monterey Jack, bacon, avocado, halloumi, grilled pineapple, marinated peppers or ortega fire-roasted chillis. You can expect to part with £5.95 - £9.45, depending on how accesorised your burger is, whilst sarnies come in at around the £5.95 - £7.20 mark.
If you step into Kua ‘Aina and don’t fancy a burger, they have a few other options. We tried the bacon cheese burger, cooked medium and served up with mayo and grilled onions, and the grilled Mahi Mahi fish. There’s tuna and Ahi to choose from too on the fish front, and grilled chicken sarnies for non-burger options. The bacon cheese burger, meaty and medium, got nods of approval all round and the fish was tasty but wholly upstaged by its sesame-based wafu dressing. I think I could bathe in wafu dressing, if there was any hope of not eating it all first.
If Kua ‘Aina’s Pacific Island atmosphere starts to rub off on you, there’s the pudding list to contemplate too. Organic cakes, American fluffy pancakes and frozen yoghurts with coulis and fruit salads are all scribbled onto the menu board to tempt you. If you do feel like cracking a beer open, there’s Asahi Black on offer or Super Dry on draught.
Whether you’re sat outside the restaurant, tucking into a burger on street level, or heading downstairs at Kua ‘Aina to stuff your face, this is a lovely little spot to soak up some Hawaiian atmosphere. If you have a mean sliver of a lunch break, then grab and go, but if you have the option to lounge whilst you eat, Kua ‘Aina makes it easy to relax into your lunch break. Inspired by the original Kua ‘Aina which is still standing on the North shore of Hawaii, this laid back London version is coaxing Londonners into a beach-side state of mind.
Follow Kua ‘Aina on Twitter: @KuaAinaUK
Join Kua ‘Aina’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/KuaAinaUK
Kua ‘Aina: 26 Foubert’s Place, London, W1F 7PP. Tel: 020 7287 7474.
Reviewed by: Helenka Bednar