The main debate on poké is whether or not there’s an accent on the ‘e’, and how to pronounce it (pok-ay seems to be officially accepted.) What there is no debate on, however, is how delicious it is, and how good for you it is. A dish hailing from Hawaii, it’s incredibly adaptable. Popular base options include rice, brown rice or quinoa, topped with a chopped raw fish, tartare-style, with add-ons such as ginger, sesame seeds, avocado, nori and more. It’s light, filling, and contains an excellent balance of carbs, protein, fats and veg. It’s easy to grab as an on-the-go lunch, or to be savoured, preferably al fresco, this summer. DOSE writer Charlotte set out on the not-so-arduous mission of finding the best poké in London…
Black Roe is one of the most luxe pokés in town. We shared the classic, the salmon, and the Black Roe poké, which contains two types of tuna – the yellowtail is insanely fresh. Be sure to mix it all in as soon as the dish arrives, so you can taste all the toppings and textures together, and get a few side dishes too. We opted for the sashimi salad and pumpkin tempura and both were delicious. It’s a glitzy cocktail place with gorgeous floral decor, too – dress up, and make a night of it. blackroe.com
Honi Poké is my idea of a great midweek lunch. Conveniently located on Dean Street, the queue snakes out the door because the portions are generous and the ingredients fresh. Pick a classic or build your own: I like mango, avocado, spring onion, seaweed and salmon. You can even select a range of bases, from brown rice to vegetable slaw. honipoke.com
Kaia (at the Ned)
When you want a side of people watching with your poké, this is where you come. Located on the ground floor of the Ned, a Grade I listed bank-turned-Nick-Jones-wonder, Kaia serves up the best Asian-Pacific fusion food in the city. We dined on cod gyoza and corn on the cob with sriracha mayo before moving on to the poké bowls. The tuna one is spicy and fresh, with heaps of pineapple and avocado, while the salmon poké comes with mango and salmon caviar. Do also try the new sushi menu while you’re here, launched just two weeks ago. thened.com/restaurants/kaia
Lords of Poké
Fusing traditional Hawaiian poké with the more playful Californian inspired additions, Lords of Poké create simple yet interesting combinations. Menu examples include miso salmon, Korean tuna and kombucha on tap. We tried the signature ‘Lords Bowl’ and the ‘Veg Out’, a delicious vegan option made with jackfruit and tempeh. The coconut brown rice base added a different yet incredibly delicious spin on more traditional poké bowls. Alternatively, you can build your own bowl of healthy goodness. Not only do they serve delicious poké, but Lords of Poké are even doing their part in preserving the planet; their new Camden Market space has been kitted out with Smile Plastics who transform waste into unique decorative panels! lordsofpoke.com
When it comes to being on trend and tasty, too, it doesn’t get better than Tombo. A haven set just off Charlotte Street, this poké and matcha restaurant is a blogger’s heaven, with a pretty indoor tree, matcha frappes, and gluten free matcha cake for afters. The pokés here are great: you can mix tuna and salmon (pieces are generous, more sashimi style than tartar) and add-ins include kimchi, tobiko fish rose and Japanese pickles. A base option instead of sushi rice is courgette noodles, making it great for low carb days. tombopoke.com
Yeotown Kitchen’s poké is virtuous and seriously pretty. Somewhat different in style to all the other pokés we sampled, you can choose from vegan jackfruit or salmon: the former is served chunky and tender BBQ-style, while the latter is baked salmon rather than raw, which is unusual for poké. They come with a delicious dressing and a nutty, filling wild rice. Tasty, and one for Instagram too, we think. yeotownkitchen.com
Ahi Poké has become something of a runaway success, with locations popping up in Victoria, Spitalfields and Fulham. No wonder, because its offerings are excellent. It’s as healthy as poké gets, with kale and quinoa bases on offer, and toppings such as turmeric almonds and yuzu avocado. The sriracha mayo dressing packs a real punch, and we like that there’s a premium option to get two scoops of protein rather than one. It’s well-priced for the abundance of toppings you can chuck in, too. ahipoke.co.uk
If we worked in the City, this is where we’d grab lunch to go. Located in Broadgate Circle, there’s outdoor seating for sunny days and a great pick-up system, should you wish to save time. You can build your own bowl, but the house option of Classic Ahi is delicious: it contains ahi tuna shoyu, sushi rice with pineapple chilli salsa, wakame seaweed, crispy shallots, spring onion and sesame seeds. The fish is super fresh and the base options include raw slaw and both brown and sushi rice, for total personalisation. islandpoke.co.uk
So there you have it. So many pokés, so little time.
Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.