A sign promising sushi and coffee caught my eye one day in Kakaako.
I don’t usually think of sushi and coffee together. I was curious, so I walked in.
Up Roll Cafe, which celebrated its grand opening earlier this month, is owned and run by Anna and Manny Maniwa, formerly of ilandsoda, a truck that used to serve sodas and sandwiches in the Yajima lot at Sheridan and South King. The new cafe, along Halekauwila near Keawe, is a hip, clean and bright space, with seating both inside and outside. There’s no designated parking, however; just metered street parking.
The featured menu items are made-to-order sushi rolls.
Use the clipboard ordering system to pick a sushi roll, type of rice, sauce and toppings, then hand it to Anna or Manny and they will prepare it fresh.
You can fill your roll with sweet onions, cilantro, mint, green onions, shiso, shibazuke (pickled cucumber and shiso), avocado and much more.
The rolls are made fresh and available throughout the day, including for breakfast.
There’s also a full coffee menu, with espresso, lattes and more. We tried the iced coffee, which was okay. Next time, we’ll try the espresso.
But we did enjoy the matcha latte ($3.75), which was light and foamy with a bright green tea flavor.
We ordered the pork miso roll ($8.25) with cucumber, sweet corn, takuan, ginger dressing, lettuce and fried onions. The ingredients are wrapped neatly in nori and make for an easy, handheld meal for those on the go. Think Chipotle for sushi rolls.
They also serve breakfast sandwiches ($3.75) that are buttery popovers stuffed with either corned beef or bacon and egg. The corned beef is more like a corned beef salad, similar to tuna salad.
For dessert, we tried the house-made custard puff ($4.25). It looks really sweet, but it was balanced and airy. I can’t wait to enjoy the pillowy custard again. There also was a chocolate cake and coffee jelly.
The Up Roll Ultra ($15) is a burrito-sized roll. You pick a protein, then fill it with any of the free toppings and up to seven additional toppings for one price. We went the omakase route and let Manny choose for us. The resulting ahi roll was delicious, filling and gargantuan.
Our Up Roll Ultra roll.
Overall, we found the concept fun and promising. We’ll definitely return to try more rolls and beverages.
Team Up Roll: Manny Maniwa, Ryan Plaza and Anna Maniwa. Follow them on Instagram @UpRollCafe
Up Roll Cafe
665 Halekauwila St.
Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.