I have come to realise that the conversation piece that excites me most is food. I love it when I get talking to tourists and Cape Town-newbies and I get to tell them about all the must-go-to places to eat. Cape Town is ripe with delicious eateries.
Ergo, the newest kid on the Cape Town food scene: Hokey Poke.
The first poke bowl I ever had was at Three Wise Monkeys in Sea Point, so when I discovered that a new eatery had opened up – one completely devoted to poke bowls – I was sold. What is a poke bowl, you ask? Well, firstly, it’s pronounced “poh-kay” and it means “chunk” or slice of cubed fish in Hawaiin. It generally refers to raw fish or seafood that has been cut into small cubes and marinated. A poke bowl generally consists of fish, rice and a range of other additions such as edamame beans and sprouts. That’s pretty much the poke bowl you will get at Three Wise Monkey’s: sticky rice, strips of tuna and salmon, julienned vegetables, edamame beans and the most mouthwatering hot mayo. Hokey Poke, however, takes it up a notch. Not only do they offer marinated fish cubes (tuna, salmon, prawn) but also meat (chicken and beef) and tofu for the veggies. Their toppings range from pickled jalapeno and pickled beetroot to edamame beans and sugar snaps (scroll down for the full menu and pictures of our bowls).
If I’m being honest, I do think it’s a bit overpriced. I’d be more of a regular if it weren’t for that opinion. However, there are ways to get around spending a fortune – not only do they offer set bowls but you can also ‘build your own’ which means you can choose how much you’re willing to spend.
The interior of the restaurant is quite different to any other and so it stands out without a doubt. From the outside, it doesn’t look like anything special but one step inside the door and your experience is transformed. Hokey Poke can be considered a hole in the wall – a hidden treasure. As for the location – meh. I’m not crazy about any CBD location because I don’t live in the area and so parking is a nightmare. However, it’s near Greenmarket Square which is a busy area and so it’s much easier to get to by walking there. Driving-wise, it’s located on a one-way road which you can only get onto from Adderley. Never fear though, uberEATS is a reality now in Cape Town so we wait for Hokey Poke to sign up.
The only other negative there is are the small hiccups you might run into whilst they are still finding their footing as a new restaurant, and especially as they get busier and busier. On my first visit, they were an odd two weeks old and the gentleman who made my poke bowl had never made one before so he added a couple of incorrect ingredients which were quickly corrected. Forgive them their faults and stick with them because it’s completely worth it. Hokey Poke is a Cape Town hit.
Overall, it’s definitely a must-go-to eatery. It’s one of the first places I would recommend in Cape Town – it’s fresh, delicious and the first of its kind.
Hokey Poke can be found at 1 Church Street, CBD. Don’t take less than R80 with you. Enjoy!
See below for what was in the bowls.
Above: Baby leaves, tofu, corn, sugar snaps, crispy onion, edamame beans, avocado, chilli and hokey poke house sauce.
Above: Number 5, but I swapped the pomegranate and ponzu dressing for hot mayo.