While numerous new food trends roll about every year, often they involve the big G – making them totally unaccessible for coeliacs to enjoy, too (yes, I’m still annoyed I haven’t had a Cronut). So when Poke came along, I was rather excited to try it – predominantly gluten free options that are also healthy and filling. HELLO.
Despite there being several Poke eateries in London for a few months now, it was only recently that I finally got around to visiting one. Honi Poke is based in the heart of Soho and, with it’s airy, colourful and welcoming interior, knew it was the perfect destination for my first experience of this cuisine. Poke is a traditionally Hawaiian dish that usually comprises a base of rice with a raw fish topping alongside plenty of colourful veg. However, at Honi Poke they’ve an extensive menu that also includes less carb-heavy bases and vegetarian toppings, so nobody has to miss out.
From the moment I walked in, the staff at Honi were incredibly friendly and helpful and answered all my questions regarding what I could and couldn’t eat. I’d expected that a good amount of the ingredients going into the poke would be gluten free, but was overjoyed when I was told that all but two were suitable for coeliacs – even their soy sauce is gf. There’s also no cross contamination to be concerned about, either – all ingredients are kept in individual bowls with their own serving utensils.
You can either choose from one of the four ‘signature’ bowl combinations or build your own (which I decided to do) from the array of ingredients available; with the generous-size bowls costing between £6.30 and £8.90 each, it’s good value for money whatever you choose.
First, you choose your base: sushi rice, brown rice, zoodles/courgetti or green leaf salad – I went for a half and half mix of brown rice and zoodles – which is then topped with one of four sauces. I settled on the milder Classic Ahi sauce, which was (gf) soy sauce based but with a sweet touch and was absolutely delicious. The protein topping choices comprise raw salmon, tuna or spicy tuna (don’t be put off by the fact it’s raw) and octopus, or tofu for veggie/vegan diners; I went for the salmon which was diced into small cubes and tasted utterly delectable. You get three toppings included in the cost (any extra are 50p each); there’s everything from kimchi and seaweed to edamame and Enoku mushroom to deliberate over. I loaded mine up with fennel, red onion, Sunamano cucumber, red radish and salty mango – which worked fabulously well together as a flavour combination (the mango and salmon pairing was a particular revelation) and all tasted deliciously fresh. Additionally you can have as many garnishes as you like, and I finished off my bowl with crispy onion pieces and sliced spring onions.
As you can see from the photos, the end result looked pretty damn fantastic, and it tasted even better. My friend was also having Poke for the first time and joined me in raving about it intermittently throughout the rest of the evening. Filling + gluten free + healthy + tasty = one giant winner, and I’ll be Honi-ng (sorry, couldn’t resist) in for a repeat performance ASAP.