Kaimuki just became the second location for Kan Zaman, a Moroccan/Lebanese restaurant, owned and operated by Chef Kamal Jemmari, originally from Morocco and Youssef Dakroub, originally from Lebanon. This, after a huge success when it first opened its doors 3 years ago in downtown Honolulu on Nuuanu Avenue, serving up authentic cuisine from the Mediterranean.
On top of their already popular menu, Chef Kamal has added new menu items that are reminiscent of traditional Lebanese and Moroccan home-cooked delicacies. Designed to be enjoyed with family and friends, the new menu items such as Seafood Bastilla, a phyllo dough baked pastry filled with seafood, seasoned vermicelli noodles and Arabic spices, baked into a zesty pie and Merquez Shakshouka, a famous North African dish made with poached eggs, roasted tomatoes, bell peppers and spicy lamb sausage will prepare guests for an exotic, mouth-watering experience.
On behalf of the Tasty Island, Yours Truly was invited to attend Kan Zaman’s official grand opening in Kaimuki this past Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Following is photographic coverage, including captions and commentary. Enjoy. ;-)
Owner Chef Kamal Jemmari is originally from Morocco, while his business partner Youssef Dakroub is originally from Lebanon, hence a melding of the two countries’ styles of mediterranean/middle eastern cuisine at Kan Zaman
Mourasha Orange Blossom decanter (a middle eastern tradition where you apply the liquid essence of Orange blossom to your face after eating to refresh yourself)
Badinjan Machvi (v): Lebanese style eggplant stuffed with rice, served over a red thyme sauce
And? My God, asking to describe the flavors of these exotic Lebanese-meets-Moroccan dishes, is like asking a typical guy to explain what everything is in a womens cosmetics department. It’s like, “I think that’ lipstick, but that might be something you put around your eyes. Or is that foundation?” lol
Whatever the case, my favorite of the four different mezza samplers was the Taktouka (Moroccan red peppers and tomatoes). It was the most bold and distinct, and absolutely delicious with the Khobos. My only wish is that the Khobos (essentially Pita bread) would have been served fresh oven-baked, warm and soft. As it was, it tasted like it had come out of a package.
As for the entrees, my dibs are for the Seafood Bastilla. I LOVED the texture contrast of the somewhat crispy vermicelli noodles, the delicate Filo crust, combined with the unique middle eastern spice treatment and combination of chopped up octopus, fish, clams and shrimp mixed in it. That, along with the grilled jumbo shrimp was fantastic. If anything, I would have liked some kind of exotic sauce plated underneath it, however as it was served with the lemon wedge worked well.
The two skillet dishes were interesting, and would certainly make for a fantastic middle eastern style breakfast. I was diggin’ the runny egg yolk within it.
The stuffed eggplant dish is probably the most difficult to describe, being the sauce had a very unique flavor I couldn’t put a pin on. There was definitely hints of cinammon, and also according to Youssef, Sumac and Cumin, all in a mild tomato base. The rice stuffed within it simply took on the flavors of that multi-faceted sauce.
The Salmon Charmoula was another one that was delicious, yet again, the flavors were so unique, I had a hard time making out exactly what, where or why it was all about, except that somehow, most importantly, it worked out! Know what I mean? I suppose that’s what you get when you’re combining cuisine from two different middle eastern countries bordering the mediterranean sea, yet almost worlds apart from a geographical standpoint.
The desserts, all made by Chef Scott Nelson’s wife, were fantastic. My fave of all being the Turkish Chocolate Coffee Cheesecake, made with real Turkish Coffee. OMG, by far one of the best Cheesecakes I’ve ever had! There was this interesting grittiness about, while the that Turkish Coffee was so aromatic, and the overall blend of flavors was spot-on. Loved it!
Kan Zaman grand opening VIP media group: Nadine Kam (Honolulu Star Advertiser), Sean Morris (Advertising Associates International), Melissa Chang (Frolic Hawaii) and Stephanie Kurota (808 Plate)… plus Yours Truly of the Tasty Island, the guy taking this photo
Summing it up, Kan Zaman, now with their second location in Kaimuki, should be on your radar if you’re looking for very unique and exotic Middle Eastern eats near the East Oahu area. Owners Kamal of Morocco and Youssef of Lebanon are both passionate about their unique blend of culture and food, and my overall first impression is very favorable. Check it out!
1127 11th Avenue (off Waialae Avenue, in the municipal parking lot)
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
Reservations: (808) 260-1763
Sun – Thu: 11am – 9:30pm
Fri – Sat: 11am – 10:30pm
1028 Nuuanu Ave. (Chinatown district)
Reservations: (808) 554-3847
Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 10:30 pm
Visit www.kanzamanhawaii.com for information on their new menu, vegetarian options, delivery and