New: Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop
The calentado (left) and inside Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop
Until Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop opened, downtown office workers had to wait for weekends to participate in Honolulu’s Great Breakfast Boom. But now that there’s Scratch, there’s breakfast for all, everyday.
Brian Chan is the chef/owner of Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop. Previously, he helmed Epic, which his family owns, along with Little Village. Scratch is his own venture, with a similar origin story to Little Village—of providing the neighborhood something different. His parents wanted to serve Chinese food in a cleaner and friendlier environment, while Chan wants to serve breakfast downtown, where there are few morning options. Scratch isn’t just breakfast though—it’s lunch and dinner, too, with breakfast served all day. Chan is eager to set Scratch apart: one, with the breakfast aspect; two, by changing the menu every three months; and three, Chan doesn’t like cooking Asian food. “Everybody down here cooks Asian fusion,” he says. “Because we’re in Hawaii, there’s a strong Asian influence on food. I just didn’t want to be another one of those restaurants.” Hence, Scratch’s debut menu incorporates Southern and Latin dishes.
Burger (left) and Moroccan chicken Caesar salad
Scratch has a pretty good shrimp ’n’ grits and an even better calentado, a Columbian breakfast dish. Scratch’s version mixes shredded short rib into fried rice and chimichurri and tops it with eggs and a tempura jalapeño. Off the lunch menu, Scratch serves a hearty burger with bacon and guacamole, tempered with fresh, sharp greens. And because Chan’s a self-proclaimed chef with ADD, he jumps out of the Southern and Latin borders and into Morocco with a kale salad tossed with (too much) creamy harissa dressing. Overdressing aside, I love its flavors.
Chan hasn’t been able to banish all Asian influences on his menu—it pops up in a kalbi meatloaf and won ton posole—and given that his next menu will draw inspiration from international street food, I hope it doesn’t ignore Asia’s vibrant street food culture.
The bake shop part of Scratch isn’t quite as developed, offering just a few pastries such as scones and turnovers (and for a chef who wants to cook seasonally, an apple and pear turnover in the middle of summer? Really?). We tried just the brunch menu, but for dinner, Scratch continues the Southern theme with etouffe and pork on pimiento mac.
Scratch Kitchen and Bake Shop
Brunch dishes $10 to $14
Open Tuesday through Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Thursday through Saturday 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
1030 Smith Street, 536-1669, scratch-hawaii.com