172 Chapel Street
Sun – Wed: 11:30am – 9:30pm
Thur – Sat: 11:30am – 10pm
“Take away night. It’s any parent’s savior in times when there is hungry and progressively ill-behaved children and a fridge consisting solely of mismatched ingredients. With a yell at little Johnny, the parents announce with reluctance they are having fish and chips, while the kids roar with a cheer. Fried food is known to be deliciously tasty but also oily, fatty and heavy. This trade-off can be drawn back to Charles Dickens where he wrote in ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘ “husky chips of potatoes, fried with some reluctant drops of oil”. Reluctance of getting oily, crummy chips is a thing of the past with the healthy, gluten-free options, sustainable fish and all-round awesome flavours provided by Hooked.
It’s fair to say Hooked has been around for a little while. Having established itself six years ago on Chapel Street, it has grown organically to open up a second location in Fitzroy and are even investigating a third option closer to the city.
We arrived in Prahran to an intimate and narrow dining hall. The decor isn’t your typically chippery, as there is subtle touches which remind me of a fishing out at sea. The interior includes off-white, scraped post railings, a close sign which says “gone fishing” and other little knick-nacks. There is a lovely, fixed communal table that is littered with a great selection of reading material. There is also side tables and outside dining options. One thing you want see at Hooked is the delightfully tacky, battery operated talking salmon.
The menu is located on the side board, but if you’re like me and you can’t take in all the options there is a paper menu available on the counter. Chips are a big thing at Hooked and so I ordered a side [$3.95] (snack size) to go with my Hooked Fish Burger – Japanese panko crumbed fish with mixed leafs, cucumber, Spanish onion, sweet chili & dill & caper tatare with salad [$10.50] (Lunch box special).
Let me just start by saying that these chips are worth every cent. Hooked get two tons of potatoes per week and with their persistent process, deliver a magnificent chip. Not only do these chips gives off food envy, but the crunchy texture was just addictively delicious. There are four sauces which you can choose from and we opted for the recently modified tatare sauce with whole egg mayo and fresh parsley and dill which instantly marries together.
My fish burger was equally good. I always find that a good burger is defined by its bun. This bun had a soft texture and was not too sweet. The fish itself was lovely and fresh and the batter had good crunch. It was filling and perfect with the fresh side salad.
Hooked is my kind of chippery. Health conscious and promotes sustainable operations. Going to the fish and chip store shouldn’t be done with such reluctance at Hooked.”
“When the good folk down at Hooked invited us to come down for a visit we couldn’t resist. Months ago when my personal trainer had put me on a ‘fresh food’ diet for a whole month, I became totally addicted to Hooked for dinner. Their food is quick, incredibly fresh, and put plainly – just delicious.
On this occasion, we were met by their lovely PR manager, Leila around brunch time on a Saturday. To the eyes of a newcomer, Hooked‘s layout is welcoming and homely, whilst maintaining a pretty trendy ‘at sea’ vibe. A giant octopus is painted on walls to the left and giant mooring ropes ensure that you feel at sea.
Hooked has marketed themselves as being fresh but what makes it a cut above the rest? Leila explained to us that the owner, Ray (or Captain Ray as the menu fondly depicts him as), is keen to ensure only locally sourced produce is used for the fish and, where possible, things are sourced in a sustainable fashion. “Our house fish, blue grenedier, is farmed and 100% sustainable”, Leila explained to us. My inner hippy jumped with joy! Leila explained to us that the vegetables too, are locally sourced from the markets and are used to prepare their delicious sauces.
One of my favourite guilty pleasures in life is well-cooked and seasoned chips, and while I wasn’t allowed any back when I was on a diet, I have definitely tried them here since.. and they’re incredible! Leila explained to us that the chips are made onsite using an old-school 1950′s device which peels and cuts their potatoes into their deliciously thick shape. They are then triple-fried to perfection using a UK-based batter recipe. If there was ever heaven in a chip, it would be here. Another great things about Hooked is their ability to fully cater for those that are gluten intolerant – from buns to batter!
It was time to try out food from the menu, and I opted for one of the new additions to the menu – Smoked salmon & goats cheese roll – Tasmanian smoked salmon, rocket, goat’s cheese, mayonnaise, sliced tomato & Spanish onion on a soft roll [$9.50]. We had also ordered a Hooked Salad – Mixed leaf, tomato, cucumber, Spanish onion, pickled ginger, bean sprouts, & BBQ corn, with a balsamic dressing [$8.95 for full serve] and some heavenly chips with some Dill & Caper Tartare [$0.95]. The staff informed us that the recipe for the tartare sauce was new and boy was it delicious! The dill and the mayonnaise created a heavenly salty combination that was just incredible against my taste buds.
The burger was surprisingly dense. The bun itself was light and not too sweet, while the smoked salmon was lightly smoked and thick-cut. The goats cheese and rocket softened the flavours of the salmon and made for a successfully delicious burger.
Hooked is a privately owned establishment which has built a strong reputation based on good quality food, word of mouth and the odd media clip. If you’re up for something more on the unch side of brunch – I couldn’t recommend a healthier, more delicious place than Hooked.
Final thought: “Best fish and chips that suits any diet”