Poke, anyone? We don’t mean a poke of the Facebook kind; we mean edible poke (also known as poké or poki, pronounced poh-kay), a Hawaiian-Japanese salad typically made with raw fish and sushi rice, customised with salad and Asian-leaning condiments. It’s healthy, it’s tasty and it’s good-looking to boot – little wonder it’s trending on Instagram. Say aloha to these 10 great poke joints in Melbourne…
They make it easy at this South Yarra poke newcomer: fish or “not fish”, rice or “not rice”. The menu at Poké Me caters to all eating proclivities and dietary requirements and does so with aplomb, from the lightly spiced vegan marinated tofu bowl to poached chicken. Finishing touches include charcoal salt and crushed wasabi peas.
180 Toorak Road, South Yarra; 0417 234 007
Even Hawthorn is getting in on the fish-bowl act. Hit Poki Time’s version of the prawn cocktail (sous vide prawns, creamy wasabi sauce, pickled ginger and dried shallots) or overdose on virtue with a combination of organic tofu and kale.
Shop 20, Glenferrie Centre, 674 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn; (03) 8529 6654
Tukk & Co.
Docklands coffee specialist Tukk & Co. also dabbles in the dark arts of poke with four rice-based options running the gamut of salmon, wasabi prawn, spicy chicken and tofu. The able support cast includes Sriracha mayo, white pickled ginger, seaweed salad and cos lettuce.
720 Bourke Street, Docklands; (03) 9642 4724
Point Break Poke
Well, why not name your poke joint after the highly improbable surfing movie starring Keanu Reeves? The folk behind Tokyo Tina have been serving poke in-house and have now branched out with Point Break Poke, a delivery-only poke shop. Choose from tuna or salmon, white or brown rice – or even gluten-free rice noodles – and place your order through UberEats or Deliveroo.
Pantry Dining Room
Pantry Dining Room, a long-time Brighton hotspot, is a bit of a healthy hangout. Bring on the brown rice poke bowl with your choice of poached chicken, salmon sashimi or eggplant and tofu, padded out nicely with pickled ginger, avocado, seaweed, onion, cucumber, mayo, soy and Japanese seasoning.
1 Church Street, Brighton; (03) 9591 0393
Turn your poke into a party at sleek mod-Japanese riverside haunt Kobe Jones. The poke shot includes salmon, tuna or kingfish in poke sauce with roasted garlic and shallots. Or you can go the Big Kahuna with rice and all the trimmings.
G16/38 Siddeley Street, Melbourne; (03) 9329 9173
Spice up your life with Pokéd’s I Lava Spice, a sashimi-salmon dish sloshed with spicy mayo, jalapenos and chilli, with cooling cucumber, tomato, cabbage and lettuce. This CBD shop also lets you build your own, with ingredients ranging from sous vide prawns to organic tofu and pineapple.
Shop 3, 551 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne; (03) 8657 7681
Tommy Ruff Fish Bar
With three outlets (Windsor, Mordialloc and Elsternwick), seafood specialist Tommy Ruff Fish Bar is giving Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs some poke lovin’. Start with cubed salmon sashimi on a bed of seasoned rice then add avocado, cucumber and toasted sesame seeds, squeeze some fresh lemon on top and scoop it all up with fried wontons. Repeat.
574A Main Street, Mordialloc; (03) 9580 2525
Shop 3/1-3 Carre Street, Elsternwick; (03) 9077 8815
121 Chapel Street, Windsor; (03) 9521 7195
Naughty Boy Eatery
Carlton favourite Naughty Boy Eatery swings both ways: you can knock yourself out with the donut French toast or make amends for any wrongdoing with the poke bowl, which includes cubed Ora King Salmon with cucumber kimchi, avocado, sweet potato, edamame and shredded cabbage. All will be forgiven.
499-501 Lygon Street, Carlton North; (03) 9041 7870
Left Bank Melbourne
They make it spicy at Southbank stalwart Left Bank Melbourne, where the chic crowd dresses to impress. The ahi tuna poke is an improbable mix of habanero chilli, kiwifruit, lemon jam and compressed watermelon that’s best eaten on a hot summer’s day.
1 Southbank Boulevard Southbank; (03) 9682 4500
SEE ALSO: One Perfect Day in Melbourne