It's easy to say that the recently opened Hook will have you, well, hooked, but the fact is, you've bitten the bait quite a long time ago. Following the tradition of burger joint Pound, Hook is a spin-off of the Raw Bar at Todd English Food Hall. Located at Uptown Parade in BGC, the new standalone aims to showcase the bounty of our seas.
Owner Eric Dee describes the menu as “borderless seafood cuisine.” Though local ingredients are priorities, he emphasizes that customers “will see treatments that are inspired by Chinese, Japanese, Hawaiian, Spanish, French, Italian, and anything in between.” The chef, Dane Meyer, grew up and studied cooking in America but worked in various restaurants across Europe, including Spain. With geography out the window, he created a playful take on Spain’s famous rice dish called (Not) Paella, which uses risotto rice and puts the crusty part on top instead of the bottom of the pan.
This first offering is enough to make anyone excited and though we knew that platters of seafood were heading our way, it's hard to resist when you see Uni Udon on the menu. It sounds fancy, but when you live in a place that’s surrounded by thousands of tropical islands dotted with fishing villages, sea urchin on noodles gives the thrill of being both novel but familiar. The sweetness and umami of the uni, paired with the satisfaction that (admit it) only carbs can bring, make the ideal combo for tropical comfort food.
If you find yourself craving succulent Aklan Oysters, swing by for Hook's Oyster Happy Hour, which happens between 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. daily. You can order a piece for $1 (conversion rate to PHP for the day applies), which is a steal considering the oysters are flown in fresh daily. And you don’t have to worry about the shucking.
The platters are the highlight of the Hook experience. There are options for both raw and cooked seafood, with portions big enough to feed a couple or a group of eight. The Raw Platter 3 has everything you can imagine from Tuna Poke, Crab and Uni Slaw, and Salmon & Ginger Jam. It's a three-tiered showcase that also includes ceviche , oysters, and chilled shrimp (everything you can get from Platter 1 and 2). The scallop motoyaki is reminiscent of those delicious shrimp or lobster rolls fillings though sans bread. The freshness is bolstered further with sauces prepared as granitas--perfect for the raw and seafood and warm weather.
There's only one dessert so far, a Mr. Penguin that's a cheeky black and white cake with caramel sauce, chocolate ganache, and truffle oil. It's as decadent as the fresh seafood is mild.
With an American chef at the helm in the kitchen, seasoning is made with a light hand, which give a shock to those who are used to explosions of flavor. With fresh ingredients being given the spotlight, the kitchens is easily off the hook.