The poké bowl food trend has been around for a couple years now, and doesn’t look like it’s leaving any time soon, as Splash Poké opens their newest location on the south side.
Poké bowls are the Hawaiian version of the lesser known Japanese chirashi bowl. As a lifetime fan of chirashi, it took me a while to get used to my favourite sushi restaurant dish being modified with added ingredients, but now I am also a fan of poké bowls. However, I have never had an authentic Hawaiian poké bowl. The Hawaiian version, of course, has the rice and raw fish, but includes other elements to add to the texture and taste, such as fruit, sauces, and crunchy ingredients.
I know it may sound cliché, but arriving at the location, the high ceiling gives the visitor the freedom to leave the day’s worries behind. The clean branding and design automatically gives you a sense of adventure to try something new. The menu is simple, with three bowl sizes for you to choose from, then mix and match your ingredients. For those like myself, who has never tried an authentic poké bowl, I opted for one of the 4 set options, The Tropical.
First impression as they filled my mid-sized bowl was that there was no way I could finish with the amount of rice they were giving me, so I asked for less rice. The server filled the raw ingredients of salmon and scallop into a separate bowl. As the bowl made its way to the end of the line, the sauces and other ingredients were added in generously. There was a moment when I thought that the star of the dish, the seafood, was never going to fit in, even with less rice!
The finished product looked great. All the ingredients were compartmentalized, colourful, and definitely worth the price of what you’re paying for. The only downer for me was they they did not have spoons available, and I always eat my poke bowls and chirashi with chopsticks and a spoon.
With the issue of having no spoon aside, I started to dig in… but where do I begin? I wasn’t sure, so I started to mix the bowl together to eat it. Unlike other poké bowls I’ve had elsewhere, everything Splash Poké served were in larger pieces. The mango, pineapple, and veggies were all larger, a sign that they were prepared in the kitchen, and not from cans. The fish was also larger, which was nice. The larger-sized ingredients also allowed you to taste each ingredient individually, which I appreciated as it gave me time to savour the moment.
While I definitely had reservations about whether a poké restaurant could survive on its own, considering the dish is popping up everywhere including pubs, Splash Poké has really been able to set itself aside by the quality and quantity of the food from their simple menu. The only thing they’re missing are spoons, which is not a problem at all, as it may be fixed overnight.
My only pipe dream would be that maybe one of these poké places may, just for fun, have a brunch poké bowl. Smoked salmon with caviar and poached eggs on pressed rice sounds pretty appetizing.