Island Poké: A trendy mix of Hawaiian flavours in Angel
- Credit: Island Poke
Poké has become one of the trendiest dishes in London - but, ever behind the fashion, I admit I did not know what to expect as I entered Angel’s latest restaurant.
To make me feel slightly more ignorant, it turns out the Island Poké I am visiting in the city end of Islington’s Upper Street is actually the 13th chain that has opened around London.
And, as if working on John Donne’s theory that ‘no man is an island,’ the business appears keen to ensure none of its eateries are isolated, with Islands between Islands set to spring up in Notting Hill, Clapham and Richmond in the coming months.
Island Poké now has four dark kitchens across the capital and is set to open 23 new branches over the next five years to treble its presence. The revolution has begun.
Feeling like the last uninitiated person on Earth, I may not need to explain what Poké is, so feel free to skip this paragraph if you are an expert. But if there is anybody left still reading, let me begin by clarifying the word is not pronounced similarly to the act of prodding someone with your finger; nor is it said like Lady Gaga’s favourite card game. It is more like an ‘ay’ sound, imagine Poké is ay-okay. The dish itself is actually a (recyclable) bowl that blends diced fish, meat or a, you name it, veggie alternative with rice and vegetables.
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Diners can choose between six basic ‘house bowls’ at Island or create their own - with thousands of combinations theoretically possible. I ordered the ‘Classic Ahi’, which mixes tuna in soy sauce, pineapple, seaweed, sesame seeds and shallots. It creates a tasty blend of pacific flavours, all of which are enjoyed in the home of Poké, Hawaii. My companion was slightly more daring, trying the ‘Yozu Lomi Lomi,’ comprising salmon with a citrus dressing, mango, edamame, spring opinion and sesame seeds.
Island places emphasis on putting the customer in charge, and a huge variety of sauces are on offer to give bowls even more flavour. There is also a strong choice of soft drinks, although nothing alcoholic.
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To give customers a taster, Island Poké is offering bowls for £1 on Wednesday (October 6).