Hooked Review

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Hooked Review


Dining at Hooked gives rise to a similar hypothetical. Let’s say Marty McFly fires up the old DeLorean to 1940s San Bernardino and euthanizes a pubescent Ronald McDonald before he has time to dream up the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese. Notwithstanding any temporal paradoxes wherein the Russians win the Cold War or a genetically engineered race of lizard people enslave humanity, it’s fair to say the resulting increase in dining standards would have resulted in every dodgy fish and chippery in the western world being replaced by Hooked franchises well before the hover board or cold fusion generator even came off the drawing board.

It would be impossible to overstate what a breath of fresh air this place constitutes from the usual trans fat-ridden, vegetable oil soaked death sticks one might usually associate with fried fish consumption. It’s a novel concept, but somehow Hooked seem to have made a virtue out of leaving their customers rubbing their distended bellies in naked satisfaction, rather than clutching at their pancreases and reaching for their medical alert bracelets. Anything fried is cooked in cottonseed oil, the chips are all cut in house from locally grown potatoes, and you would be hard pressed to get a fresher cut of Blue Grenadier if you stole Steve Vizard’s catamaran from the Docklands marina and scooped it out of the Southern Ocean yourself.

There’s some great lunchtime takeaway specials during the week, but you would be doing yourself a disservice to not take a seat and soak in the gentle kitsch. Let’s face it: there would be world peace if more restaurants had wine lists prefixed with ‘Ahoy Mateys!’ Inside is subdued, nicely lit and neatly geared towards spacious and civil discussion, rather than the cattle ship to Jakarta conditions you would usually encounter from Fitzroy carpetbaggers trying to turn a quick quid while they’re still getting write-ups in Epicure.

The true litmus test of any seafood joint is of course the texture of the calamari; I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but just remember that there’s no shame in you and your fellow diners busting out an immediate and spontaneous rendition of Sebastian the Crab’s Under the Sea. If you’re looking for a cheap eat, the Box for Two ($34.50) could feed three or four at a stretch. There’s some stellar eggplant vegie burgers for those so inclined, but be prepared to commit vegetarian apostasy when you see what’s on your friends’ plates.