Moke’s Bread and Breakfast (Kailua, HI)

While most mornings in Hawaii we either ate breakfast in our condo, or picked up something on the fly, we did decide one morning to go out and get a full, righteous breakfast. Both of us were craving pancakes, and after reviewing the various options of the North Shore, ended up driving down to Kailua to check out one of the local favorites, Moke’s Bread and Breakfast.

Moke’s (pronounced with an accent as “mok-ehs”) is located on Hoolai Street, a bit off of the hustle and bustle of downtown Kailua. But walking up to the place, you could immediately tell that it’s one of the most popular breakfast spots in town (along with nearby Cinnamon’s, which also had a healthy crowd). But, at least on the morning we visited, they seemed fairly efficient and it was only a few minutes before we found ourselves seated and drinking coffee while reviewing the menu.

There’s quite a bit of breakfast action going on at Moke’s. The main attraction at Moke’s is pancakes, and in particular the lilikoi pancake is the star. It’s basically a normal pancake, but served up with lilikoi (Hawaiaan for “passion fruit”) syrup, a nice, thick white syrup that’s very strongly passion fruit flavored. But they’ve also got the other basics: eggs just about every way you’d want, a wide variety of breakfast meats (including Portuguese sausage and house-made hash), waffles, French toast, and even a pork chop with gravy.

But we were here for the pancakes… I ordered up a basic pair of pancakes with lilikoi and Portuguese sausage, while Carol opted for the breakfast special with two smaller pancakes, eggs, and sausage.

First of all, the pancakes. While the lilikoi syrup is quite pleasant and a nice departure from the more typical maple and maple-like toppings, I found it to be strong and sweet enough that it actually covered up the underlying pancakes a bit. Which is a bit unfortunate, since the actual pancakes are very, very good: a nice, fluffy, moist and thick pancake, with a nicely-seared and crispy exterior. I’d love these as just plain old pancakes… and the lilikoi sauce goes quite nicely with them as well… just perhaps sparingly applied. Maybe next time I’ll get it on the side.

Similarly, like most places on the island, Moke’s has Portuguese sausage, and it’s very, very good. It’s a nice, flavorful and bold sausage, with a nice, coarse grind. Served up in several generous slices, all nicely crisped up, and it’s the perfect salty and spicy counterpoint to the pancakes.

Overall, we rather enjoyed Moke’s. The pancakes were great, the lilikoi sauce pleasant, and the sausage nice and flavorful. Add in a friendly and efficient staff, and it’s one of the better places to go for breakfast in Kailua.

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