Montage Kapalua Bay luau promises a more personal experience

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T1122MKBLUAUFIREKNIFE_C_HR [Credit: Courtesy Montage Kapalua Bay]
A fire knife performance at the Montage Kapalua Bay's Beach Club Luau. The new luau caps attendance at 40 guests for an intimate, up-close experience. Photo Credit: Courtesy Montage Kapalua Bay
Tovin Lapan
Tovin Lapan

The Montage Kapalua Bay in northwest Maui has launched a new luau highlighted by an intimate setting, a menu crafted from locally sourced items and a diverse entertainment lineup.

The Beach Club Luau at Kapalua Bay marks the first time the resort has offered a luau that is open to the public. The Montage Kapalua Bay also offers a private luau experience that guests can book.

The two-hour show was crafted by Maui-based Manutea Nui E, a production and entertainment company, and features live Hawaiian and Tahitian dancers and music, a Samoan fire knife show, a rendition of a war chant and a hula demonstration, all performed with an ocean backdrop.

Luau held weekly

The luau is held Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., and the show is capped at no more than 40 guests. Each family or group is seated at their own table, with a maximum of eight guests per table.

"The thought process behind only booking a small group is to keep the feeling intimate so that people experience a deeper connection to each other and to the performers," said Joey Dang, owner of Manutea Nui E.

Dang has been developing various Hawaiian cultural shows and producing events since 2010 and has deep ties in the artistic community on the Valley Isle.

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With the Beach Club Luau, she said she hopes to give guests a "taste of our history in hopes that they will be aware of our love for this land, and that our people and its mystic culture are still here and growing stronger through each generation."

The menu, curated by Montage Kapalua Bay executive chef Eric Faivre, includes hamachi poke; taro chips; sweet potato; grilled ribeye with mushrooms; a catch of the day served with coconut cream sauce and steamed bok choy; and Hawaiian shredded pork, among other dishes.

Faivre has worked in the Islands since 1994 and has tapped into his many connections with farmers and fishermen to help build the luau menu. The beef is locally raised. Instead of potatoes flown in from the U.S. mainland, he uses sweet potatoes from Molokai and breadfruit as substitutes.

"Twelve years ago, we didn't have these relationships. The farmers didn't know what we wanted to use," Faivre said, referring to the hospitality industry. "There has been a lot of progress recently, and we can get pretty much everything we need. It's a big plus to deal with something grown on the island, harvested the day before, rather than flown across an ocean."

A vegan luau menu

Accommodations are available for dietary restrictions, including a vegan menu Faivre crafted that includes a roasted beet poke in place of fish, a tofu steak and a cauliflower katsu dish.

"The funny thing with the beet poke is that it looks exactly like ahi tuna," Faivre said. "Of course it tastes different, but the texture is very nice and similar."

Faivre is doing his part to boost the appeal of poi, a starchy dish integral to the early Hawaiian diet that is made from pounding taro and mixing it with water. It is used in both a hummus appetizer and a cheesecake.

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"Poi is very sacred here in Hawaii as an early staple of the diet of the Hawaiian people, and I wanted to feature it on the menu somehow," Faivre said. "But it hurts me a little bit the way it is typically served here. You go to a luau and you get a little cup of it, and people eat a half a spoon of it and then push it aside. People make fun of it, but I love eating poi and think it's a good dish."

The meal is served at the table and at first was plated for guests to meet pandemic regulations. But moving forward, the plan is to present dishes family style.

"When the guests arrive, they are all welcomed with a mai tai, and then they can sit down and enjoy the sunset," Faivre said. "The show is really incredible, and I think what really makes it different is it's very intimate. Some luaus might have 300 or 400 people, and we only have 30 or 40, and it makes a huge difference."

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