The split-level, 80 to 90-cover restaurant will remind customers of the original location, with a few differences both in the menu and décor.
“It will be very recognisable but there will be a couple of extra tweaks that we’re working on at the moment. We’d like people to recognise the warmth and the sunniness that are typical of our brand, but it will be slightly different and tailored to the environment,” co-owner Ed Bardos told BigHospitality.
He explained that staff for the new restaurant would mostly be hired organically via the Carnaby Street venue.
Kit Alexander from Shelley Sandzer, which secured the site, added: “Kua ‘Aina is a great brand that adds to the growing sense of momentum in Fitzrovia. The area is increasingly sought after by innovative, creative brands seeking flagship sites from which to build the exposure in central London. Consequently, there was significant demand for the restaurant opportunity on Goodge Street, but Kua ‘Aina is the perfect fit and brings something new to the area.”
For Bardos, Goodge Street made sense as an up-and-coming area and well-known restaurant destination which, though previously more focused on fine dining, has now become more casual.
Kua ‘Aina, started in 1975 on the North Shore of Oahu and has three locations in Hawaii and more than 20 locations operated under licence in Japan. The Goodge Street venue marks the beginning of a new expansion phase in London, including a food truck, from this summer.
“We are planning two more restaurants next year assuming everything goes well with this one. We are taking it slow and as demand arises we will expand, but we believe in it so we should open more next year. We are looking at the City, Victoria and Shoreditch – central London locations," added Bardos.