While sit down restaurants and street food are all well and good, at lunchtime when you're hunting for something yummy, filling and nutritious to take back to the office, to enjoy on the train home, or for an impromptu lunch hour picnic in the park (when we have a few warmer days!) may I please introduce you to the humble Hawaiian poké bowl? Brown or sushi rice, cubes of plump, rich raw salmon or ahi tuna, plenty of fruit, veggies and crunchy bits, and a zingy dressing. What is there not to like to cure your mid-day slump?
Poké to me has always been something you get out of a hole in the wall designed to cater to hungry surfers on Venice Boardwalk, but it has been taking London by storm as one of the bigger up and coming food trends of later 2016/ early 2017. Poké places have been popping up everywhere and I've got a few on my list to try, but today I want to introduce you to one that opened in October that is sure to become a hit because of it's great location on Kingly Street (just around the corner from Liberty's and Carnaby Street) in Soho, and not just because of their delicious poké bowls, customisable acai treats and pretty kona coffee cups: Island Poké.
While they mostly cater to takeaways, there is a small, bright cafe in which to sit and enjoy your poké. I love the ocean themed blue interior, and sweet details, lovely and dreamy Hawaiian landscape prints, and a trio of swings by the window as a fun alternative to seating (and there are sockets to charge your phone!) There is a stash of wooden forks, spoons, chopsticks and tissues to take away with you, but if you eat in there are sriracha, soy, vinegar and spicy mayo options in squeezy bottles to customise your bowlful with as you eat.
They have some house bowls, and the option to build your own on your chosen base of sushi rice, brown rice, leafy greens or raw slaw. As it was my first visit and salmon is my jam, I went for one of their house bowls, the Yuzu Lomi Lomi on a bed of sushi rice: yuzu dressed salmon, wonderfully ripe mango salsa, edamame beans, spring onions, crispy onions and sesame seeds, with my personal addition of pickled sushi ginger, because who does not need more sushi ginger in their lives?
I loved and can highly recommend my bowlful. The rice was delicious, the fish fresh and generously portioned. The yuzu added a nice zing, and the flavours went together beautifully. It filled me up, without making me feel too heavy, and I did not feel hungry again for ages. It was fresh, bright and different, and I'm sure I'm going to be stopping by in future on my way back to the station when I've not had the chance to grab a meal.
Literally the only sensible qualm I had with my whole Island Poké experience (well, except for the fact the bright lights make it difficult to photograph and Instagram in there, but that is not a real person problem so that should not be able to count!) was that the prettily packaged What A Melon Watermelon Water I grabbed from the fridge, hoping it would taste like fresh watermelon juice didn't, and was slightly odd. Which really, is just a tip of what to grab if you're not a coffee drinker, than a criticism of the poké, which is delicious!