Our last visit to Love Poke was during our Poke challenge a few months ago. We were honest about what we felt about our experience, we had hoped for more and expected more but the experience fell a little short. Little did we expect a while later to be contacted by the store manager!
Her email read: "Aloha Lorraine!
Just wanted to say thank you for your review of our restaurant in one of your latest blog posts about the best Poke places in Sydney.
You provided some really valuable opinions and we have since made some important and appropriate changes to some of the points you mentioned (serving sizes vs. Value and also sauces/taste). Our new staff who began in the new year have now been trained properly in weighing portion sizes (I.e no room for underserving), and using our original poke/sauce recipes to the tee (which are delicious). So just wanted to say thankyou as your feedback led to some great improvements!"
It was the best outcome because if it means better poke for everyone that's a win and I was happy that they didn't just throw a tantrum and send me a mean email but instead they took it on board. It was a while later when Mr NQN went back (and paid on our own dime). The story behind Love Poke is that the two owners Maroubra couple Candace Wu and Sam Constantinou travelled extensively throughout Japan and Hawaii. He proposed to her in Japan and they married in Hawaii. As a carpenter by trade he fitted out the restaurant (he also did Tokyo Bird and Osaka Trading Co.) and Candace left her corporate job to focus on Love Poke. Here they use local and sustainable fish; hormone and chemical free, free range meats and all organic fruits and vegetables. And if you're wondering, Poke is pronounced "po-kay".
We start with drinks and can't resist a Hawaiian beer. It's Hanalei IPA by Kona Brewing Co. brewed with pineapple, guava and passionfruit. It's quite nice indeed and yes you can taste a hint of the fruit!
So we're here for the poke and to try the new flavours and the best way to do that is with the Big Kahuna Bowl. The Big Kahuna bowl has two types of poke, three salads, sides and a hot dish. There is salmon sashimi cubes with a Vietnamese style dressing (one of the specials) which has a lovely gingery taste and there is also a scoop of kingfish sashimi cubes with a Hawaiian shoyu dressing that is bolder, sweeter and flavoured with sesame. These new poke recipes are miles better than the previous ones and very little of this enormous bowl goes back to the kitchen.
My favourite side is a pumpkin and rocket salad and there is a seaweed salad and kim chi. The kim chi is a bit too astringent for the fish I find.
And then we try classic Hawaiian dishes. Huli Huli chicken is sticky, sweet, salty and delicious sprinkled with sesame seeds. This and the garlic prawns sit on some nutty black rice. The garlic shrimp truck prawns are also good-the shrimp comes shell on and coated in a fine garlic sauce. It doesn't come with the garlic rice (I have very fond memories of Giovanni's shrimp truck's garlic rice).
The fish tacos here aren't deep fried fillets of fish. The food here tends to be on the healthier side so it is pan fried white fish with salad including carrot, cherry tomatoes, parsley, pickled cabbage and onion with a lime mayonnaise drizzled on top. They're super filled and they kind of go everywhere but for a filling and nutritious meal they are great. Maybe just don't order it on your first date ;)
And for dessert? Their famous frangipane pie. All desserts are made in house and there are several on offer. Last time we tried their haupia pie which I really liked. The frangipane pie has a base of cookie crumbs, a layer of coconut, a layer of pineapple and fluffy meringue it is decidedly tropical. The pineapple isn't too sweet which is good balance against the sweet meringue. The best possible ending to a meal.
So tell me Dear Reader, does the way a restaurant or business responds to criticism affect the way you think of them? Have you ever tried fruit brewed beer? Do you look for sustainably and locally sourced restaurants?
This meal was paid for independently.
3/55 Dudley St, Coogee NSW 2034
(02) 9664 8643
Dog friendly seating outside
Mondays 11:30 - 8:00
Tuesday Closed 🌴
Wednesday to Friday 11:30 - 8:30
Saturdays 11:30 - 9:00
Sundays 11:30 - 8:00