Consider my mind blown.
I had walked past the unassuming downtown Victoria restaurant Fishhook plenty of times because it’s close to my office, but hadn’t had a chance to check it out.
As the temperatures plummeted this week, I found myself cutting short my noon-hour walk and going into Fishhook to see if they had some food that would warm me up.
Oh boy, did they ever.
What I discovered was mind-blowing seafood dishes that had an Indian-French spin on them.
Now I love Indian food, but I struggle with the heat level thanks to my culinary upbringing that consisted of bland potatoes and meat. I’m still developing my heat tolerance so I’m always a little skittish about certain types of spicy food.
Fishhook straddles the heat line well – it’s food that really wakes up your mouth without burning off your tongue.
I have tried lots of Victoria chowders and Fishhook beats them all with a ridiculously good bowl that is heavy on the seafood. (I’ve found other places load the bowl with potatoes instead of seafood.)
I paired the chowder with something called squimp toast – an open-faced sandwich loaded with smoked humboldt squid, shrimp, crispy shallots and red chili honey. Oh, and just the right amount of harissa too.
The bread was soft inside with a nice crunch on the outside. The soup-and-sandwich combination was elevated lunch food.
The Fishhook menu is full of surprises with seafood koftas (a seafood meatball) and fish ‘n chips that buck tradition with pekora-battered fish and masala fries. There’s also a seafood hot pot, but it’s done vin’daloo style.
There’s even a poutine dish, but with an Indian twist that includes masala-spiced fries, pekora cod and a tomato curry sauce.
This is really imaginative cooking, all done with a deft hand.
“Serving both sitdown and take-away customers, we’re proud to offer a variety of sustainable, locally-sourced and farm-fresh ingredients,” says the Fishhook website. “Our interesting menu includes a wide selection of mainstay dishes, open faced tartine sandwiches, salads, house-pickled organic veggies, a current curry and a duet of soups – a chowder and a seasonal feature (gazpacho/bisque). Maintaining sustainable, local and organic standards, we also offer dairy-free, wheat-free and mayo-free alternatives, giving our customers numerous healthy fresh food options for lunch and dinner.”
I can’t wait to go back and take a deeper dive into the menu.
Chris Campbell is an editor with Black Press Media based out of Victoria. You can follow him on Twitter @shinebox44. He writes regularly about food, but is not compensated by the restaurant in question. They don’t even know he’s writing about them.
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