Belly up to a different kind of bar

  • Jessica Else / TGIFR!DAY

    Potions’ menu includes Indian-inspired flavors served in half- or full-portion sizes with choice of sides, including brown rice and naan, depending on the day.

  • Jessica Else / TGIFR!DAY

    Sofia Scheuerman chooses the Ginger Ginseng kombucha from the tap at Potions in Wailua.

The colorful walls of Potions in Wailua are lined with dried herbs that go directly into house-made teas, tisanes and kombuchas.

And that’s just scratching the surface at the teahouse, where you can get a plate of Indian-inspired cuisine and a fresh glass of kombucha right from the tap.

The little shop sits across the parking lot from Brick Oven Pizza in Wailua. Walk through the screen door and you’ll find yourself immersed in a sea of savory smells and bright colors.

Close-quarters seating is a given at Potions, with patterned couches and a high bar taking up much of the space. The layout creates an inviting atmosphere that encourages patrons to talk story.

Kombucha is made in the back, and combined with herbs, fruit, flowers and flavors like ginger, hibiscus, ginseng and chocolate. Blends can be made to order, with kombucha crafted with ample adaptogens or antioxidants, or tailored for boosting immunity or energy.

In general, the tea is made by fermenting black tea with a “SCOBY” – an acronym for Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. That yields a bubbly beverage that’s good for digestion, among other health benefits. Combine that with other herbs, fruits, spices, flavors and flowers, and you’ve got kombucha.

Usually there are four varieties on tap at Potions, like ginger ginseng, dandelion and burdock or fruit cocktail.

Tisanes and wellness blends are also occasionally on tap, and always on the menu. Tisanes are simply herbal teas that don’t contain the leaves of the Camellia sinesis plant.

The term “tea” technically refers only to beverages made with Camellia Sinesis, which is native to Asia. Differences in processing and picking the plant yield the different teas — Earl Grey, and Chinese and Japanese green teas.

Tisanes can be made with a variety of herbs, flowers and other ingredients.

Alongside drinks both hot and cold, Potions has a smattering of food from a small kitchen in the back. Reminiscent of cafeteria-style serving, patrons choose from a list of main dishes and portion sizes, as well as sides like brown rice and naan.

Dishes include madras curry, and tofu takari, as well as saag paneer — a vegetarian spinach and cheese dish.

Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. throughout the week and closed on Sunday, Potions is a place to grab a substantial lunch or light dinner and belly up to a different kind of bar.

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Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

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