Sneak Peek: HOOK at Uptown Parade, Uptown Bonifacio
It's a seafood-lover's paradise.
HOOK by Todd English
G/F Uptown Parade, Uptown Bonifacio
Open daily from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) We love our steak, we love our ribs, but it’s time to put the spotlight on something equally yummy: seafood. A perk of being a country surrounded by the ocean is an almost-unlimited variety of seafood to choose from, from fish to shellfish and other crustaceans. And because they’re mostly mildly flavored with a briny taste that shouldn’t be fishy when prepared properly, seafood can be used in a multitude of dishes.
HOOK by Todd English celebrates the versatility a fresh catch possesses. “We’re borderless seafood cuisine,” says FOODee Global Concepts’ Eric Dee. While a spinoff of Todd English Food Hall’s Raw Bar, HOOK offers both raw and hot seafood dishes from all parts of the globe. So together with ceviche and raw oysters, you’ll find paella, salted egg prawns, baked mussels, and more. It’s every seafood lover's dream come true.
Because HOOK is also an offshoot of Todd English, it shares design elements with fellow Todd English-spinoff POUND. “We wanted signatures, we wanted a trademark,” says Eric. So you’ll find the same 1920’s speakeasy vibe here, with chrome and brass heavy décor, brick, and mosaic tiles. But HOOK is also nautical-themed to match the menu, with portholes that let you take a peek at the kitchen and of course, the raw bar that displays fresh tuna, oysters, clams, and more. It almost feels like you’re aboard the Titanic (without the crashing into the iceberg part).
HOOK doesn’t limit itself when it comes to their raw bar (hence, “borderless seafood”) so it can get a bit overwhelming to choose from what seems to be the entire seafood population of the ocean. Bring along some friends and try everything out with their Platters. There are currently three raw platters to choose from, or you can get all three stacked atop each other in a snapshot-worthy tower.
Platter One (P1,500) is a good plate to order if you love oysters—HOOK gets theirs from Aklan. The oysters have that intense umami flavor that lets you know everything is fresh. The slice of lime helps cut through the richness but you also get three different granitas to spice things up: a slightly spicy and surprisingly refreshing Apple-Sriracha, the salty yet light Yuzu or the herby Coriander Lime. This platter also comes with two types of clam ceviche. The white clam ceviche is tart and peppery while the scallops in the raw scallop motoyaki are soft yet still have that unmistakable bite, with an addicting citrus aioli that’ll make you want to slurp one shell after the other.
Raw Sliced Snapper With Apple Slaw
Start with the chilled shrimp when having the Platter Two (P2,500) to have something cooked in your tummy—though the shrimp is only blanched until they’re pink and snappy. Then head to the mussels, which are given a novel barbecue-like kick by the kimchi miso sauce. The raw sliced snapper melts on the tongue beautifully, with an apple slaw to give citrusy crunch. You also get a ceviche with this platter—the apple clam ceviche pops because of the juicy cherry tomatoes.
Raw Sliced Salmon with Ginger-Scallion Jam
Heftiest of the platters is Platter Three (P3,500). The standout from this bunch is the raw sliced salmon. Imported from Japan, the salmon is buttery like the best sashimi, with the ginger-scallion jam providing the punchy flavors with sweet-spicy notes. More Japanese flavors await you in the crab and uni slaw, with raw crab meat and sea urchin tossed in a tart yuzu vinaigrette. The tuna poke on the other hand may not look like the poke bowl craze that’s sweeping the Metro but you will appreciate the fresh tuna, only mildly seasoned with a light sesame dressing and earthy cilantro.
Eric shares that in the future, they plan to open HOOK by a beach, perhaps Boracay. We can think of no better way to enjoy their seafood than with our feet buried in white sand, the sound of ocean waves in the distance. But with how fresh everything on their raw bar is, all we have to do is close our eyes and we’re instantly transported seaside.
Photos by Ian Santos
HOOK will be on soft opening starting today, March 31.