The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua is proud to announce the debut of its newly reimagined signature restaurant, Banyan Tree, marking the final phase of completion for the resort-wide renovation and evolution of food and beverage outlets.
With Chef Isabelle Toland at the helm, Banyan Tree aims to draw acclaim for its fresh aesthetic, innovative menu and sustainable measures. The reimagined dining experience takes guests on a culinary journey of the various cultures of influence, while remaining anchored in local ingredients and Hawaiian traditions.
Highlighted by a modern, hand-crafted bar that serves as the focal point of the redesigned space by creating an open concept with expansive views, the restaurant’s transformation pays homage to the history of the banyan tree in Hawai‘i as a gathering place to meet and share a meal under the shade of its canopy.
Chef Toland’s new menu embraces that spirit and invites diners on a voyage to discover the roots of the land while incorporating the island’s most unique and sustainable ingredients. Classic Hawaiian recipes are deconstructed and redesigned with a local twist using Mediterranean cooking techniques to develop a menu that will enliven the senses through the way of the islands.
With an emphasis on supporting local farms and farmers, Chef Toland is bringing Banyan Tree back to its plantation roots, while dressing the menu with a French and Filipino flare inspired by her personal upbringing. Well-traveled and culturally-versed, Chef Toland vows to “put her past on the plate,” showcasing her extensive years of culinary expertise in various regions of the world. Born in Bordeaux, France and having lived her teenage years in Manila, Philippines, Chef Toland drew inspiration for several dishes on the new Banyan Tree menu from the flavors and ingredients found in these traditional cuisines. As a child of the world who has called countless cities home, her culinary prowess and techniques are truly one-of-a-kind, reflecting her inspiring journey that has now landed her on the island of Maui.
“Growing up with a French dad and a Filipino-Spanish mother, food has always been a part of my upbringing. It’s a culture, as opposed to a choice,” says Chef Isabelle Toland. “My parents have always been travelers and so have I. I am grateful to be a world nomad with many cultures involved in my cooking and lifestyle.”
As part of Chef Toland’s effort to connect the Banyan Tree restaurant back to its local and cultural roots, each menu item incorporates the Hawaiian culture in some capacity, be it technique, indigenous ingredients, or a cultural custom. On the cocktail list, each beverage offered features an identifiable local ingredient with a story of the farmer or a nod to the source.
Chef Toland and Banyan Tree’s professional staff encourage guests to eat their food the way nature intended, with their hands. This is especially meant for items such as the Chef’s Great Sea and Harvest towers, which includes a uniquely selected Ritz-Carlton Caviar; Hawaiian Sweet Bread; and Kona Maine Lobster Lumpia. The Banyan Tree restaurant is meant to invigorate each of the five senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch through a variety of delectable offerings.
Now with an expanded outdoor area complete with firepits, guests can sip cocktails and nosh on fireside bites as they witness the sun go down to unveil a canopy of stars that almost seems close enough to touch. And as the sun sets, diners will be treated to a fire knife and tiki torch lighting experience. The sounding of the conch shell will signal the beginning of the ceremony with chants that bid aloha and welcome to all.
Banyan Tree is open for dinner nightly from 5 to 9 p.m. A separate Fireside Bar menu will accompany the main Banyan Tree menu for an additional, unique dining experience. Additionally, every evening during “Tiki Hour” from 5 to 6 p.m., guests will enjoy a savings on select pūpū and Moët Impérial Champagne by the glass.
The opening of Banyan Tree follows the debut of the resort’s reimagined eateries including Ulana, a breakfast-only restaurant overlooking the gardens, pool and ocean; ‘Olu, the poolside dining experience; and Kai Café, a new health-conscious grab-and-go spot with local, organic, and seasonal items. The evolution of the resort’s unparalleled culinary outlets is complemented by an extensive renovation that included a refresh of all guest rooms and residences, the stunning hotel lounge and lanai, and three-tiered pools and cabana area.
For more details or reservations, please call (808) 669-6200 or visit The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua  website.