We visit SA's first ever dedicated poke restaurant, Hokey Poke

Cape Town was sweltering today when I headed to the new undercover poke restaurant that just opened on Church Street in the CBD. Hokey Poke had quietly launched itself on Monday and not finding a stitch of information about it online – and by information I mean photos – besides a cryptic, but very cool website,  I decided I had to go see it for myself. And so in 32° heat I took a fairly long walk to Hokey Poke, hoping it was going to be worth it. I also was busy writing a piece on hidden gems in SA, and could tell that it was going to fit the criteria.

Hokey Poke, ceili mcgeever


Seeing the facade of the street level restaurant, it was clear that something good was happening inside. Sand coloured breeze blocks make up the exterior, with very understated signage and a single strip of pink neon light. It’s downtown LA meets a side street Japanese sushi joint. But inside the decor takes on more descriptions, with cheeky art on the walls by Hoick, along with a now definitive neon pink palm tree that splashes pink on the white walls, and white tiled tables that make the space feel clean and bring out it’s simplistic essence.

Hokey Poke, ceili mcgeever

The Interior was designed by Christine Joubert, although she worked closely with Hoick
who developed Hokey Poke's image. Owner, Max, explained it was a very collaborative affair, which really shows in the well executed overall design and instantly likable and intriguing brand that has been created.

Hokey poke, ceili mcgeever

The food is made up of poke and more poke, the Hawaiin raw fish staple. Fish and other ingredients are choppped up into bite size and served in a bowl. The dish became a major trend in LA a couple years ago, and with that came Western variations. The classic poke bowl is made with spicy ahi and/or soya sauce and sticky rice.


At Hokey Poke a bed of rice (or kale slaw, brown rice or baby leaves) is topped with fish and a bunch of other ingredients like edamame, coriander, radish, avo and just about anything fresh, with all ingredients displayed before you to pick and choose. Max explained how he discovered the dish in his travels about a year ago and decided he had to bring it to Cape Town. And he's done it just in time, as the poke scene is still very much at it's inception.

Hokey Poke, ceili mcgeever

My poke bowl which was called Hot 4, was super tasty, with sticky rice, jalapeños, avo, coriander, spring onion, pineapple, fresh tuna, siracha mayo and Santa Anna nachos. I was thrilled about the nachos addition, having a slightly problematic addiction to corn chips, and they added a nice texture to the overall soft ingredients.

hokey poke, ceili mcgeever

hokey poke, ceili mcgeever

I walked out totally routing for this new place. Every inch of the restaurant has been carefully thought out and although I was skeptical about the location, it actually works. It's safe to say it's a new favourite, and I'll definitely find myself doing that long walk again to get some more poke.

For more information on Hokey Poke, click here.

(Photos by The Mint Lobby)