Today I checked out Hooked in Brunswick st. with a good friend of mine. I've don't mind the odd meal of fish and chips and I'm always interested in places that do a bit of a twist on classic meals. The place is really cute, and set up like a vintage beach shack on the inside and has a courtyard out the back. I was pretty keen to try the food as it has been voted 'Healthiest Fish and chip shop' and supposedly has 'the best chips in Melbourne' (by 'The Age' newspaper.) Gourmet traveler also recently reviewed the place....and generally speaking, if its good enough for them its good enough for me.
Everyone eating in the shop seemed to be the normal Brunswick st. crowd (dredlocked, tatooted and laden in vintage attire.) But something I have learnt since moving to Melbourne is, you cant judge a place by is customers. I've eaten some very average meals at places where there are lines out the door.
This however was genuinely quite nice. It was nothing at all like your normal fish and chip shop. All the seafood looked really fresh, and the chips are hand cut. Instead of the normal tomato sauce that one usually puts on their chips you can choose between sweet chilli, salsa Verde, or a nice house made aioli. You can order beer or wine with your meal (this excites me), and they had a really nice range of ciders and organic juices.
I ordered the calamari with house cut chips. To be honest it was a little bit chewy (why oh why do people struggle so much with cooking calamari???) but still quite nice. The chips were really yummy and quite good quality, which was nice. I think 'The Age' was a wee bit generous in saying that they are the best chips in Melbourne. I'm going to go out on a limb here (I'm blushing as I say this because its probably very wrong to support a chain food store over an independent one) and say I think 'Grilled' chip are better.
The whole experience was nice but it was missing one thing. What could it be? I racked my brain for the answer, and it finally came to me. The beach! The place is missing a beach. Growing up on the coast fish and chips just don't feel the same on a roadside. It would have been perfect to eat my meal and look out at the sea after a long swim and sun bake. All the same I like the place, although I'm not sure if I'm necessarily hooked (like the pun? Sorry its horrible I know but I just couldn't help myself.)