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Bamboo and warm timber line the bar tables, hanging orbs cast a subtle glow in the restaurant. Palms line the exterior of the terrace and tiki heads can be found peeking out from corners. You can almost feel the warm tropical breeze, hear the sounds of the waves crashing against the beach, smell the pristine ocean air. A modern oasis smack dab in the quaint neighborhood of Tai Hang, Maka Hiki is a fine example of a vacation in the city.
Working from home is alright, but working from vacation feels even better. With comfortable seating, warm lighting and a laid-back feeling, Maka Hiki is not only a wellness haven by day and a cocktail bar by night, but it's also the perfect place to sit down with your laptop and get those important emails sent out.
And who is the mind behind this inner city haven? Inspired by the tropical paradise locations of Polynesia, the Caribbean and South East Asia, restaurateur Maxence Traverse launched his first tiki bar and grill concept. Traverse chatted with TMS to tell us about his concept and some of his restaurant secrets.
Q: How did you decide to hone in on the concept of “tiki chic”?
To be honest, “tiki” can be cheesy and over the top when it comes to decoration and style. When I designed my bars, and especially Maka Hiki, I wanted to go for a premium look. I wanted the restaurant to look stylish and incorporate designs with more subtle elements.
Maka Hiki has come to be a beautiful and luxurious back bar. Everything was carefully curated, from the wallpapers to the chairs and even the outdoor totems. Everything was selectively handpicked by myself.
At the end of the day, I wanted my personality to translate through the restaurant, and “Tiki Chic” was the perfect description!
Q: What is a must-try menu item that you think everyone should sample at Maka Hiki?
There is so much that I could recommend! In terms of drinks, I think that people should really try the “Maka Hiki Punch,” as well as “Dum Dum give me Rum Rum” (extra points if you know what movie that comes from). And if you are visiting with friends who are as fun as yourself, give “Maka Hiki All The Way” a try; it’s for sharing!
As for the food, we serve tropical island food. I would recommend the “Maka's BBQ Pork Ribs.” The “Seychelles Tiger Prawn Cari” is also a good choice, as well as the “Lombok Baby Chicken.”
Q: What can people expect when coming to Maka Hiki as a coworking space?
I always try to make my places as multipurpose and multilayered as possible. I envisioned Maka Hiki to not only be a quality bar and restaurant but in light of many new work-from-home working arrangements, I wanted it also to be a space that people could use as a co-working space.
You can find plugs all around the venue, as well as added USB slots under each sofa. There is also super-fast Wi-Fi for people to download, upload and hold video meetings. We also wanted to make sure that Maka Hiki would be a great place for off-site meetings, a casual yet comfortable place to present, so we worked hard on translating that to the venue. The indoor and outdoor conditions of the restaurant are also kept for maximum guest enjoyment. We also invite our guests to visit and work on the terrace from September to December and from February to the end of April.
As for food and beverage, we have an excellent non-alcoholic drinks menu and snacks are also available. Our set lunch is definitely something to try while working, as well. We also have a vegan menu because it’s important for us to cater to all tastes and values. All of our flavors are tropical and healthy, so you can indulge and feel guilt-free as well!
Q: What part of this restaurant are you most proud of?
Would it be cheating to say that this time I'm proud of everything, really? Everything from the design all the way to the menus. We also have some super Brunches deals. I also have a passion for plants (I have a green thumb), so the super lush terrace is something else that I love. Watching the plants grow and thrive makes me feel peaceful and in high spirits!
Q: What is a little secret or fun fact about the restaurant that you can share?
Each corner of Maka Hiki has a little element of the outlets that preceded it. I find this restaurant to be purely the masterpiece that I've always dreamed of. I do still feel the Honi Honi was one of the best-looking bars in HK design-wise, and I am striving to get Maka Hiki up to that point one day. I have no doubt that we will catch up soon, and it’s very exciting to keep building and working up to that!