With tentative beginnings as a Melbournian fad, Poke Me owner Christian does not see the humble Poke Bowl going anywhere. Hi version of Poke is a proverbial “salad on steroids” with more of a Japanese twist to the originally Hawaiian dish. Poke me is a place where you can design your own salad bowl by choosing your base, protein, toppings, condiments and sauces. It’s the quality and choice of ingredients at affordable prices that has had Melbournians queuing up to design their personalised bowls. The launch of Poke me has taken Melbourne by storm with no sign of reprieve. We sat down with Christian Robertson to gain some more insight.
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The idea of ‘Poké Me’ came to us and 4 months later we opened up our first venue.
So, why poké bowls?
Japanese is my favourite food, but we knew the Hawaiian side of Poké which means fish bowl or diced fish, so we have evolved it from that and essentially what we grabbed from that was a salad on steroids and then we just gave it a Japanese influence.
You guys always seem to have lines out the door, how long did it take to build up?
Within two days we’d have a line out the door and that was it. It was completely organic!
How come you opened up in South Yarra?
This area was just banging for something. We wanted to bring that raw, nutritious vibe to the everyday person. We wanted the same ingredients that you get at a Mr.Miyagi or Nobu but at affordable prices.
Are you worried that Poké Bowls are just a current trend?
It’s definitely a trend. It’s a huge trend. But it’s trending because it makes sense. It’s not trending because it’s a fad. The food we do will always be Poké. Everyone eats sashimi, everyone eats salad and I can’t see that changing!
What your favourite meal on the menu?
I go half green base, half green tea soba noodles and we generally suggest 4 – 6 toppings. Protein wise I always go for the poached chicken or tuna. Sometimes half-half. Sauces depend on how I’m feeling on the day but spicy or sesame mayo is always a winner. You can go through that menu for three months and not have the same thing twice!
What’s the plan going forward for Poké me?
The plan is to have 8 venues over the next year, and we’re aiming for 35 in the next three years around the country.