I’d previously dined at Fitzroy’s Hooked in early September 2011, I commented that the fish was oily, but the gluten free batter was of great consistency. This time I didn’t order fried calamari or prawns, instead I ordered battered blue grenadier (two medium pieces of fish) served with a sauce of your choice, and a serve of brown rice and bok choy ($13.50).
We took a seat at a table with crumbs and salt still strewn across it. The place features a high ceiling, a large communal table in the middle, seating along the sides and a table situated in front of the large front window. Magazines are laid across the communal table encouraging a less boring waiting time. A large portrait of a mermaid is an aspect of attention, as well as various photo frames across the opposite wall featuring old photographs keeping with the nautical theme. The tables and chairs have ‘dated’ looks with chipped paint, and every seat is uneven and unsteady which can make dining quite uncomfortable or annoying. Water is self served, complete with water streaked glasses, and you are required to bring your plates of food to your table if there aren’t enough staff available to do so for you.
Something I don’t find necessary, is Hooked’s need to promote themselves as ‘healthy seafood’. It is not that Hooked actually goes out of their way to be healthy, they just state the nutritional benefits of fish. Everything fried is obviously fried, and in oil – cottonseed oil in fact, which is something they seem to pride themselves on. Cottonseed oil does not have any added benefits when comparing to other oils – it is high in saturated fat and low in monounsaturated fat – but it is what gives the wonderful flavour to the food Hooked offers. Hooked doesn’t offer potato cakes or dim sims, and another ‘healthy’ aspect of Hooked is the option to order brown rice and bok choy over potato chips.
Fish, chips and other seafood can be cooked and battered gluten free, and in a separate bayonet, too. Compared to my last visit to Hooked, there seemed to be a lot less oil within the batter which I was happy with. The generous serve of brown rice was cooked perfectly and had a brown soy-sauce based sauce poured on top, bok choy accompanied. The blue grenadier was cooked excellent, and looked to be fresh. The tartar sauce is a definite recommendation, it is thick and creamy, and battered fish (or anything, really) goes superbly with it. Mix the tartar sauce with the spicy chili sauce and you have yourself a super tasty dipping sauce. I’m also still loving the extra sweet potato chips served with every meal!
When comparing to traditional fish and chip shops, Hooked is obviously at a higher price, but is a perfect place to enjoy tasty, ‘healthy’ (gluten free!) fish and chips on a hot summer’s day.