Poke paradise: Standout dishes for sharing at Tiki Bar by Aloha Poke
The poke bowl phenomenon may have fizzled out a tad, but Aloha Poke - one of the pioneers of the trend and which owns the largest chain of outlets here - is going strong.
It turned three recently, and although there is really not too much you can change about a poke bowl, corporate chef Michael Yonathan has added new items to celebrate its third birthday.
So now there are new toppings such as jellyfish, Japanese garlic chips and nori (seaweed).
Also new are four signature poke bowls, created by Yonathan.
While there are those who will want their own creations, there is something about the chef's decisions that make sense. He is the expert, after all.
I will happily let Yonathan serve me the Green Giant ($17.90), a vegetarian option that does not feel vegetarian.
It fills you up well with the delicious spiced cauliflower rice, sesame tofu, king mushrooms and - the best bit - Japanese garlic chips.
By day, nobody really lingers here. But at night, it is a mellow place for a beer after your work or workout.
At the Amoy Street outlet, you can get Tiki Treats.
A lot of the stuff on this menu is great for sharing.
The standout is the Stuffed Potato Skins ($12), which are halved potatoes with diced chicken and oyster mushrooms sauteed in a teriyaki glaze before it is smothered in mozzarella and grilled.
The result is an umami-laden multi-textural bite.
I like the Poke Pie Tee ($9) too.
This twist on the Peranakan staple is essentially a tiny version of the poke bowl and has a cup of crunchy jellyfish, poke, pineapple, ikura and chopped spring onions.
It is gimmicky but it does not bother me too much because it is an easy way to eat and chat at the same time.
The Hawaiian Kebabs ($10 for chicken, $15 for beef) did not leave any sort of impression.
From the presentation to the taste, it is as expected - and a bit of a yawn.
You cannot deny it is popular, but I would not order it again unless someone else insisted on it.
I was looking forward to the Musubi ($11).
This is a popular Hawaiian snack that has a slice of grilled spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with nori.
Now, spam anything should be delicious, but this combination is dry and salty.
And when there is such a good variety of toppings and items to choose from, why waste your calorie count on something so undeserving?