Island Poké, Soho, London
The poké craze was in the midst of just kicking off in Australia when I made my move to London earlier this year. There’s a lot to like about this Hawaiian dish – light, fresh, healthy and celebrating the simplicity of its ingredients. Island Poké in Soho’s Carnaby Street is one of the chains bringing the concept to the northern hemisphere.
Poké me on
Poké (nothing to do with the monsters) is a classic dish largely featuring cubed, marinated fish. Fisherman would cut up their catch and after seasoning it, would eat it on the spot. The Poké bowls we know today are a more modern interpretation that can often include bases of rice/salad as well as mixes of fruit, salsa, meat, seaweed, spices and flavourings. In between the versions I’ve seen in Melbourne cafes, London cafes, and even Marks & Spencer supermarkets, there is a lot of variety.
A vege angle
Readers of the blog might be aware that I live a diet sans-seafood, so how would I fare? Well, Island Poké offers a vegetarian option. Back then I was staying doing the MealPal subscription lunch service, and this came up as one of the options. I enjoyed MealPal, for a bit at least. The portion sizes are often questionable but it was super nice having a meal already ready and skipping the queue. But the options did quite tired fast, and it became a chore.
Island Poké was a bit further than the normal cafes, but I reckon it was worth the extra steps. The Beet It (£7.85) is one of the premade options, consisting of beetroot, chilli lime shoyu, brown rice, pineapple, ginger and nuts. The make-your-own options set you back £8.85.
Lunch or dessert?
The reality isn’t up to par of the stock images. You get everything that’s mentioned but it does a look a little sadder. But I didn’t mind this lunch, it ended up feeling like more of a fruit salad. The pineapple and beetroot deliver all that fruity. sweet goodness and the brown rice feels more out of place. Without a doubt the seafood options might be of more interest, but there’s not much exciting that happening here.