OK, we're far from sun-kissed tropical shores, but good Hawaiian food is closer than you think. From poke (raw fish salad) to Barak Obama's favourite burger, here are the tastiest places in London to get in touch with your inner hula.
Eat Poke London
Colourful little bowls of marinated raw fish dotted with fresh vegetables, poke (pronounced "poh-kay”) is the Hawaiian appetiser currently giving sashimi a run for its money. Topped with pickles and sitting on black rice, Eat Poke’s bowls are a complete meal in a pot. Their signature dishes include ahi tuna and miso tofu, but they're more than willing to let you personalise your poke with their vibrant sauces and toppings. We love the salmon poke with shoyu dressing, kale salad and a spicy-yuzu mayo. Hello there, healthy.
A Victorian warehouse in a head-on collision with Hawaii, POND has been bringing the tropics to Dalston since 2014. The understated decor swerves grass skirts and garlands with its leather booths and warm light, and the food selection includes small plates, snacks and grills, plus inventive veggie stuff. Try the sweet potato poke, tofu and mushroom with lotus root and a smoked cherry tomato ponzu. Every dessert sounds amazing too; aloha to the Downright Dirty Ice-cream Sandwich — a gooey cake laced with popcorn. We’re sold.
POND Dalston, Stamford Works, 3 Gillett Street, Dalston, N16 8JH
Trader Vic's is something of a Park Lane institution, bringing Hawaiian touches to London since 1963. Its fusion of US, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian cuisine combines classic with inventive in its Taste the World menu. It’s tiki-themed, but subtle and cosy, with a gigantic cocktail menu to boot. Sit back, sip a 1944 Mai Tai (Vic himself invented this back in the day) and munch on tuna poke — fresh ahi tuna with avocado and taro chips.
Trader Vic's, The London Hilton, 22 Park Lane, W1K 1BE
Chargrilling (on lava rock grills) sandwiches and burgers on Hawaii’s North Shore since 1975, Kua 'Aina have crossed the pond to set up two London branches. There's more than a touch of kitsch about their surf shack interiors but the menu's no joke, with a huge selection from an Aloha Lava-Grilled Breakfast to start the day, mahi mahi and Monterey Jack (yep, that's fish and cheese) and Obama's favourite bite, the Avocado Burger. We like the look of the pineapple burger too — a whole slice of the grilled fruit whacked on top of a huge beef patty.
Kua 'Aina, 26 Foubert's Place, London, W1F and 40 Goodge Street, W1T 2QP