A gentleman wearing a light blue aloha shirt smiles at the omelet chef and places his order, "Mushrooms, tomatoes, chives and basil, please."
"Would you like Thai or sweet basil, sir?" replies the chef, the tongs in his right hand already reaching for the mushrooms.
"Um, sweet basil, please," he says. "Thanks."
The chef turns around and picks a few leaves of fresh basil and plucks young shoots of chives growing from the live and growing wall of herbs at his omelet station. There are three verdant and aromatic six-foot-wide, ceiling-to-floor living walls in the restaurant and it's a tangible example of Kai Market's commitment of "farm to table" fare.
Located inside the Sheraton Waikiki, the new restaurant prides itself on their use of local ingredients, which doesn't stop at the living herb walls. Waimanalo Farms, Nalu Farms and Hamakua Springs Farm supply the bulk of their locally grown produce. They serve goat cheese made on Maui and offer a delectable assortment of sweet breads crafted by Big Island bakery Punalu'u Bake Shop.
The walls contain an assortment of mint, spearmint, thyme, rosemary, Thai and sweet basil, oregano and shiso leaves. The herbs add flavor to omelets during breakfast and are found as garnish and in sauces during the dinner seating. "The living wall is to be used," exclaims Sous-Chef Pete Paeste. "It's not for decoration. We encourage our guests to make use of the herbs in any way they want, even if it's just a sprig of mint for their water."