Yes, we know – poke is to food what velvet is to fashion right now, offering a symphony of textures. But we don’t love it just because it’s the meal of the moment. It’s also almost impossibly pretty and it’s one of the healthiest things you can order. While Cape Town is head of us, with dedicated poke restaurants going for some time now, the Hawaiian dish is slowly making its way onto Johannesburg menus. Here’s where to get your fix.
Sushi & Burrito Co
Ok, so combining Asian flavours with the taste of Mexico might seem a little ambitious, but trust us – it works, as already proved by the popularity of this chain overseas. Choose from salmon or tuna poke; the first zings your tastebuds with the citrus tang of Ponzu sauce offset by creamy avo, the tuna option has a fresh chilli bite. Of course, we can’t not mention the sushi burritos – a novel take on the Mexican classic, swapping nori for wraps and seafood for chicken or beef.
Parktown North’s favourite new place to be seen prides itself on blending flavours from around the world – and the presence of poke on the menu, sitting amongst ceviche and Spanish-inspired ham and cheese croquettes – is testimony to this. The poke bowl blends tuna and salmon with the tongue-tingling pickled flavour of carrots and cucumbers. Avo, endamame beans and coconut rice add a pleasing texture contrast. Not sold on the poke? Try some of the other bowls, each with a distinctly global influence. Our favourite is the Budhha Bowl, redolent of the Middle East with falafel, roasted onion and sesame seeds, or the bold Italian flair of the Market Bowl.
Warm & Glad
Here’s another restaurant with a menu that reads like a trip around the world: next to the grass-fed cheeseburgers, you’ll also find congee and American-style pancake stacks complete with bacon and cinnamon syrup for breakfast. Poke-wise, you can choose between salmon and tuna bowls: the salmon. Both offer bursts of freshness, with cabbage, nori and avo. We’re also great fans of the ramen bowls, by the way.
If you haven’t heard of (or visited) Momo Baohaus, you must be new to Joburg. Momo Soko is a sister restaurant to the popular Greenside eatery, so you can expect the same pop of Asian flavours, with a slightly different menu. The stars of this show are the soko or skewers, but fans are also raving about the poke. Here, you can choose from three variants, but the Maui Bowl and the Kauai Bowl are attracting serious attention. In true poke tradition, both taste fresh, fresh, fresh, with blasts of flavour courtesy of ingredients like pickled ginger, Asian slaw, ginger scallion drizzle and daikon.