By Lloyd The Dirty Mexican
While many think that Poke is just the latest trend in dining, the cuisine, which has its origins in Hawaii has for centuries been the staple diet of the American state.
So what exactly is Poke? Firstly it has nothing to do with the Japanese anime Pokemon. It’s actually pronounced “POH – Keh”. It’s healthy, delicious, raw and fresh! So this is the rundown, think sashimi but with gourmet salad. Hokey Poke offers a kind of build your own salad vibe but instead, it is a build your own Poke Bowl.
Max Botha, a local Cape Town dude, discovered this unique and delicious cuisine style whilst travelling in Singapore. As you guessed by that sentence, the quirky and trendy cuisine has made its way around the globe already and has finally landed in Church Street at Hokey Poke.
Not only are these bowls titillating in flavour but they also cater to those with outlandish dietary constraints like the 21st century’s biggest lifestyle hoax – veganism. We kid. Basically, if you are a vegetarian, pescatarian, Rastafarian or vegan, then Hokey Poke is the place for you, because if you’re that way inclined you’re welcome to build a bowl without any delicious salmon or tuna. No one is judging, right?
For those like me who get anxiety attacks when faced with too many choices, they also have 5 set bowls on the menu. The true beauty here, for the rest of humanity, is the fact that you have so many different fresh and diverse ingredients to play around with when creating your own delectable Poke bowl.
These Poke dishes are not only tasty but also pretty to marvel at. The mixture of fresh ingredients is colourful and textured. One almost feels guilty at scoffing the beautiful culinary creations down.
The aesthetic doesn’t end there though, Max Botha and his team employed the help of Hoick Design Studio to capture the feel of downtown Poke bars you might find while travelling through the streets of LA or Singapore. All the decor is dripping with tongue in cheek humour. The lighting, the tile-covered tables and even the disco music all add to the unique charms of this new spot.
Then there’s the food itself. Never before in my life have I been as satisfied with a dish that is basically a salad. I’m not a salad guy, I eat bread every day. Sue me. Every inch of the delicious number 5 bowl I wolfed down, on my first visit there on Friday, was screaming with eclectic flavours. Pomegranate, ponzu, dressed salmon, avocado, edamame beans, pickled beetroot, radish, baby shoots topped off salmon crackling (I know right?!?) had me dying in ecstasy in what was the first mouthgasm I’ve experienced in ages.
My good friend Craig opted to try the number the 6 which features bulgogi beef, pickled pear, sprouts, radish, mint, purple labneh and crushed pistachios and this is a far cry from what I’ve seen this ginger man consume, yet he was also pleasantly surprised at how well all these different flavours collided with each other.
Many of those ingredients I had to Google and I hereby encourage you to do the same, but does it really matter? You won’t know how awesome this place really is until you visit it, tuck into one of their special bowls, or go haywire and build your own bowl.
Oh, and currently they don’t have their liquor license yet, so take along some beers, brandy or whatever tickles your fancy and have yourself an afternoon or evening of drinking and dining.
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