Thursday, April 20, 2017

Love at First Bite: Hook by Todd English

I'm so thankful that I live in a country that has access to several kinds of seafood. However, some of my favorites cost me an arm and leg (at times two legs). But that was about to change thanks to this new Todd English concept called Hook. 
Hello, Hook
Just like the other Todd English restaurants, Hook has dark interiors and a bit of pub/bar vibe to it but with a touch of class. 
I was first greeted by a beautiful showcase of seafood ranging from humongous fishes in different colors to the freshest oysters I've laid my eyes on. 
Eric welcomed us and ushered us to our table and suggested that we try the Three Tiered Seafood Platter (PHP3,500) and (Not) Paella (PHP750). As clueless diners, we let him surprise us with his choices. 
While waiting for our food, we were given glasses of champagne to pair with our meal. And it was a pretty good way to cap the week. 
After a few minutes, one of the friendly staff members served our three tiered platter and we were pleasantly delighted by it. The fresh seafood platter was a beautiful sight. 
Mouthwatering oysters, scallops, salmon, tuna, shrimp, uni, crab, snapper and mussels filled all three trays and it made us feel that we were in seafood heaven. And apparently, we were! Who knew heaven has a satellite branch in Uptown Parade?
I first sampled the oysters and it made me tear up with its freshness. Its slight sweetness was simply addicting. I skipped the sauces for me to fully enjoy its divine taste. 
Up next were the white clams which had a rich taste that reminded me of pico de gallo. I loved the snap I get from munching these little goodies!
One of my favorites was the scallop motoyaki. It also had that desirable snap I like from seafood and the creamy taste made this seafood a winner in my book (and R’s).
The chilled shrimps were excellent as well and I loved it with the Yuzu sauce for additional taste. 
The mussel with what tasted like Korean ssamjang was among my top 3 favorites. I just loved how the fresh mussel and slightly spiced thick red paste created a gastronomic party for my taste buds.
The snapper topped with chopped onions was also fantastic. Its soft and smooth texture turned me into a snapper fan.
After unbuttoning our pants, we started to feast on the topmost tray which had crab with uni slab, tuna poke and salmon with ginger scallion jam. 
I am quite a purist when it comes to my seafood so I was overwhelmed by the strong tastes of the tuna poke’s dressing and the ginger scallion jam on the salmon sashimi
Though both were amazing, I had to wipe off some of the dressing or topping from these two seafood favorites for me to enjoy. 
The crab meat placed on the crab shell and topped with uni slab and ikura was another story though. These three loves were served plain and fresh, just the way I like it. 

The place became crowded around 8 pm so it took a bit before our (not) paella was served but it was definitely worth the wait.
Okay, you must be wondering why it is not called paella when it looks like one. Well, one word... risotto. Though other places do offer paella with risotto instead of paella rice, I guess Hook is being very transparent that they don’t use the latter. Taste-wise, it was amazing. The flavorful grain topped with seafood and saffron ticked my taste buds with glee and made me utter delicioso! 
But this beautiful pan was overshadowed by Mr. Penguin (PHP450). This dessert, inspired by Todd English’s to die for chocolate dessert, is a combination of black and white cake, caramel sauce, dark chocolate ganache and truffle oil. And it was love at first bite. I was ready to dance like Michael Jackson (which was planned to be the dessert’s name till they realized it might leave a racist impression) after one spoonful. It was so chocolatey but not the type that would make you gasp for water. The rich tastes of chocolate ganache and caramel were beautifully balanced by the cake. I can’t wait to have more of this! 
It was definitely one dinner to remember. I will be back soon, Hook! 
Note: Hook has a delectable happy hour where you could score your fresh oysters from Aklan for only $1 instead of PHP70 per piece. It’s a steal!!!

Hook is located at Ground Floor, Uptown Parade, 9th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Hook by Todd English Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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