Taste reviews Hook, Camden
On a wet Wednesday evening two colleagues and I trekked our way up on the Northern line to Camden. Camden is an area of London synonymous with trendy bars, hot new pop-ups and hip, cool young things. We were headed to Hook, a newly opened and much hyped “new school” fish and chip eatery.
Hook isn’t any old fish and chips. Forget about your childhood memories of greasy newspapers, acid vinegar and soggy batter. Think instead of jerk seasoning, truffle mayonnaise, Cajun spices, minty creamy mushed peas, endless flavour combinations! This new style of fish and chips had us hooked, literally.
We were greeted by Simon Whiteside, head chef, who took us through the Hook story; from concept and ethos through to menu and the Hook journey to date. And what a journey it has been. Having trained in fine dining and worked with the likes of Raymond Blanc and Robin Gill, Simon moved back to Ireland in 2011 to pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant. Hook starting life as a van in Dublin market serving six dishes. Soon queues were forming around the block for the mackerel fish and chips. Simon quickly realised that there was a gap in the market for gourmet fish and chips. A quick few years were spent in Belgium honing the concept, and getting service just right, before it was transported back to the UK and born as Hook.
The menu changes daily, as the fish is sourced using small fisheries and day-boats, and lesser known species are used to support sustainability. Even the way the food is served is in recycled, re-usable, wooden packaging.
So what did we eat? Let’s begin with the Cajun spiced panko breadcrumb Coley with lemon Cajun sauce. The lemon sauce has a subtle sharpness that cuts through the delicious Picante and smoky seasoning and compliments the beautiful white fish.
Next up we tasted the Jamaican Jerk Panko (my personal favourite). This was served with a Chipotle fiery sauce, and some incredibly moreish seaweed salted chips. In our minds the jerk seasoning just wouldn’t work for the delicate fish – too strong, surely?! But in reality, the spices and chilli elevated the soft flavours of the Coley. A big thumbs up from the Taste team.
Side dishes on our visit included a tasty celeriac slaw and a fantastic calamari with squid ink hot sauce. The latter brought about a mild tousle for the last piece. Whatever is in that hot sauce is seriously good!
We washed this delectable fare down with beers from local brewers, Wild Beer Co & Four Pure Pils to be exact, but you can have wine from local wine merchants too.