The summeriest opening of the season is upon Montreal, as Hawaiian snack bar Kamehameha is now open on the pedestrian part of Sainte-Catherine, in the Village.
The news first surfaced back in January, with Dan Pham and Phong Thach (the pair behind Vietnamese pub Red Tiger) getting the keys to a former dépanneur. The space, designed by Guillaume Menard, has been thoroughly transformed: it’s thoroughly rose-coloured, indubitably tropical, and quite photogenic.
“We went for an 80s retro Wes Anderson vibe, really pink and everything, with lots of plants — and bamboo style chairs so it looks more tropical,” explains Pham.
The 30-seat space (a terrasse will expand the capacity next season) is starting out with a variety of light, tropical and oceanic offerings. Poke (the Hawaiian rice bowl focused on raw fish and rice) is a centrepiece: there’s a classic tuna, but also lobster, and two vegan options, one with smoked tofu, and the other with watermelon, treated similarly to the way a tuna bowl might be done. Each comes with its own sauce, and one new bowl will rotate on and off the menu every couple of weeks.
Also on offer is classic Hawaiian snack spam musubi, with grilled spam, nori, and rice wrapped up together.
For sweet, there’s taiyaki, the fish-shaped cone filled with chocolate, custard, or red beans, and ice cream (options include a strawberry sorbet-vanilla combo, or pineapple sorbet with coconut-charcoal ice cream); along with doughnut-esque malasadas
Pham says more is on the way, and Kamehameha’s offerings will develop, with an eye to making dishes hard to come by in Montreal.
“We’re going to try to find cool snacks that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Still to come is the coconut-chocolate Hawaiian classic, Haupia pie, and for winter, Pham says saimen, a Hawaiian take on ramen will be on the menu.
Kamehameha is having its official opening Sunday (July 16) but is already serving up many of its goods right now. Hot tip — there’s two for one ice cream for the first 100 customers on official opening day. Take a look inside.
STATUS — Kamehameha is open at 1190 Sainte-Catherine E from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., seven days.
- Kamehameha Snack-Bar [Official]
- Kamehameha is Bringing Hawaiian Snacks to the Village [EMTL]