Café focuses on fresh local foods

Saturday June 23, 2018 Written by Published in Local
A delicious cheesecake set on mandala art at Kai and Co. 18062237 A delicious cheesecake set on mandala art at Kai and Co. 18062237

Last week at the market I checked out Kai & Co, a recently opened café located near the playground and opposite the SPCA.

It’s owned and operated by young Cook Islanders Mariana Ross Ryan and Maeva Rongo and I was very impressed with the fresh produce used to create their delicious offerings.

Previously they ran their business called Fitkai, working at home with a commercial kitchen. But when friends Engara Gosselin and Alex Olah offered them the opportunity to own the business previously known as Subs and Treats, they jumped at the chance.

Their vision is to provide healthy options using a fusion menu of different fresh local foods, inspired from overseas. Their first focus is to provide healthy options for their customers with the daily preparation of fresh food. An equally important priority is their staff, with an emphasis on great customer service.

The café sets out to provide healthy balanced food, providing salads with the main meal. As well as head chef Maeva, they have hired a chef with over seven years’ experience in New Zealand who is a returning Cook Islander. At present they are running “soft menu” trials.

Once it is finalised, the menu will be developed further. They use only brown rice and locally sourced maniota fries which are hand cut. However, to cater for all tastes, they also serve fish burgers which are very popular. Their signature dish is beef Bulgulogi, a Korean specialty. Vegetarian options are coming soon.

Ross and Maeva say their vision is to create a fine, clean space for customers to relax and enjoy their food. On the tables is beautiful mandala art, designed to create unity and harmony. They also have small flower walls on the side of the café, which create an attractive look. Whilst I was there, I tried one of their cheesecakes which was absolutely delicious!

Watch this space for further developments at this new and thriving business.

The Punanga Nui market is the place to be on Saturdays and there is free entertainment in the form of drumming and dancing performances on the central stage, starting at around 10.30am. An island show every Saturday morning is sponsored by Highland Paradise.

The market is open from 8 am to 12 noon on Saturdays and a few stalls and huts are also open during the week. BSP bank has an ATM there on Saturdays and Bluesky operates a stall where you can top up your mobile phones.

            -  Susan Tealby

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