When Vikram Garg arrived at Halekulani last October, you could almost feel the winds of change blow in from the ocean, gently drifting through Orchids and softly kissing House Without a Key before sweeping upstairs to La Mer. Naturally, change at AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurants like La Mer must come at a dignified and leisurely pace. “You can’t lose the integrity of a restaurant,” says Chef Garg. “The structure must stay the same. But the content can change. So, for example, if a guest comes to La Mer because they know they get the best Wagyu or the freshest fish, that will naturally remain the same. What they will find are perhaps more flavors, different vegetables … subtle changes.”
Born and raised in India, Chef Garg’s culinary influences are global. Trained classically in French and Southeast Asian cuisine, he worked at some of India’s finest five-star hotels, with stops in the British Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C., before moving to Hawaii.
On Table One By Chef Vikram.
“Originally I wanted to build a kitchen out here in the atrium at Orchids, but that wasn’t practical. Table One is a round table, made from exquisite wood, and it seats eight guests. Dinner will be served most nights, and lunch by request. There will be no menu, rather a five-course and seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings, with just one seating each night. Everything, from the handmade table to the luxurious linen, has been specially chosen. The idea is that it will showcase what I do. It will be a place for inspirational cuisine – locally inspired global cuisine.”
“I’d been to Hawaii on several occasions as a guest chef,” he says, “but I never dreamed I’d one day come here to live.”
And though professional modesty may prevent him from saying, this month’s debut of Table One by Chef Garg might just be the hottest thing to hit the Halekulani in, oh, say, 25 years.
“It’s inspirational cuisine,” he says of the menu at the exclusive private dining table. “No day will be the same, no menu will be like the one before.”