J and I were in the mood for a casual dinner. Whilst J wanted something naughty and greasy, I felt like something simple and relatively healthy. Hooked was the perfect option as, from what we had heard, it would accommodate both of our cravings.
Light Tempura Battered Blue Grenadier with Hand Cut Chips $12.90
Nothing can compete with the fish and chips of our childhood. I will forever carry fond memories of the greasy battered fish and chips I would collect from the dingy fish and chip shop after school. Unwrapping the white butchers paper to reveal the salty, greasy, crispy contents was one of life’s great little pleasures.
The Hooked style fish and chips are a twist on that old classic; an attempt to appeal to a more mature, refined audience and make fish and chips ‘trendy’. The ambience of Hooked is inviting, the decor is funky and relaxed and the service warm and prompt.
The tempura batter used to coat the fish is lighter and to a slight extent, less greasy than the offerings from your average ‘run of the mill’ fish and chippery. The “house” fish is blue grenadier instead of flake which, considering the rapidly dwindling numbers of gummy shark around the globe, is definitely a good thing.
As a whole, the fish was well cooked, succulent and tasted relatively fresh. The hand cut chips were beautifully crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Whilst far from earth shattering, as a whole, it was an enjoyable dish.
Grilled Blue Grenadier with Brown Rice and Bok Choy $12.90
Again, the fish was quite fresh and everything on the plate was seasoned well. The grilled fish was slightly overcooked but well within what I would consider acceptable. The portions for both of our dishes were also surprisingly generous.
Although the dish was enjoyable in its entirety, the inescapable reality was:
·the brown rice had been steamed and drizzled with Soy Sauce;
·the Bok choy had been boiled and drizzled with Soy Sauce; and
·the fish had been seasoned and grilled.
It was all very simple.
Hooked proudly proclaims that it offers healthier fish and chips, but precise details regarding this are scarce. The information on their website labelled “why Hooked” simply spruiks the health benefits of consuming any seafood from any source. No information is given regarding the calorie and saturated fat content of their products relative to others.
Sure, if you order a grilled piece of fish and select rice and bok choy instead of chips it will be healthier. But then again, this really isn’t earth shattering news is it? And boiled rice and bok choy soaked in soy sauce is certainly not something unique to Hooked.
What Hooked does, it does well. However, it doesn’t really do that much, which is why Hooked ultimately fails to delight. The decor might have changed, the plating might have improved, there may be alternatives to chips but at the end of the day, it is just another old fish and chip shop, albeit with a face lift.