Former “Top Chef Canada” contender and Red Fish Blue Fish mastermind Kunal Ghose has joined forces with Hook Fine Foods entrepreneur Steve Kerr to offer downtown Victoria its next big foodie trend: a unique take on the tartine.
A Gold-Medal Plates alum, Ghose recently opened Fish Hook, a new Antique Row, Fort Street hotspot, in early August. Serving both sit down and take away customers, Fish Hook offers not only tartines, but a wide selection of salads, soups and daily-produced pickles, all featuring a variety of sustainable, locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients.
Created exclusively for Fish Hook, Ghose’s version of the tartine -- the iconic French open-faced sandwich -- combines the 30-year tradition of beautifully cured and smoked fish products offered through Kerr’s successful Hook Fine Foods, with locally grown heirloom vegetables and fresh bread sourced through another Victoria institution, Irene’s Bakery. A perfectly toasted baguette delivers a tasty combination of delicately smoked fish and crispy pickled heirloom vegetables as one tartine option. Hooked smoked Fanny Bay Oysters with crispy shallots, herbed chive mustard, red chili honey and daily pickles is another.
Fish Hook’s rotating menu debuted with a total of nine tartines, three salads, house pickled seasonal organic veggies, two mainstay meals – including a daily fish curry -- and a duet of soups – one chowder and one bisque.
“Chowder is something I’m known for on the Island, says Ghose. “My newest chowder may be one of the biggest draws for Fish Hook,” describing his soon-to-be famous hot fix as a “thyme-chili roasted potato chowder, combining a coconut-smoked fish broth with a halibut confit.”
Maintaining Ocean Wise, local and organic standards, Fish Hook also offers dairy-free, wheat-free and mayo-free alternatives, giving locals numerous healthy food options for lunch and dinner.
“Fish Hook is ideal for those who need a quick, healthy and delicious meal,” he says, adding the restaurant’s name is a nod to sustainable fishing practices. “Sustainability is achieved by fishing with line and hook, one fish at a time … we can enjoy food from the sea while still ensuring its well-being over time.”
To end off the meal, Fish Hook features a variety of Kid Sister frozen desserts, delicacies such as local blackberry mousse and hazelnut dulce de leche paleta, which are made with local dairy and seasonal produce.
For Ghose, Fish Hook is the next step in a local culinary career which has already graced Victoria with Red Fish Blue Fish, the Inner Harbour phenomenon he helped create and build into an international success over the past seven years.
“I love being part of the rich and varied restaurant culture Victoria has to offer and hope to keep bringing new ideas and flavours to the table,” he says.
OUR SUPPLIERSFishhook relies on locally sourced and farm-fresh ingredients supplied by several Victoria mainstays. Saanich Organics supplies the greens and vegetables for Fishhook's Tartines, Salads, Soups and Pickles; Irene's Bakery provides both regular and "No Wheat Added" baguettes; and Kid Sister offers up a variety of ice cream desserts.
Saanich Organics is a community of farmers from small, certified organic farms who work together.
In their own words ...
“We co-operate and support each other in many ways, and through Saanich Organics we get as much fresh, delicious, healthy, local, certified organic produce as we can on to tables in and around Victoria. We sell at the Moss Street Market and the James Bay Market. We run a residential box delivery program, and our commercial division serves restaurants and grocery stores.”
“We are passionate about the importance of good farming. We are creating a viable alternative to industrial agriculture. Our farms support biodiversity and practice soil conservation, humane living conditions of farm animals and high labour standards.”
Using the highest quality ingredients -- including non-hydrogenated shortening and margarine to produce breads with minimum trans fats that meet with local Health Authority guidelines -- Irene's Bakery has established a tradition of baking the finest European breads, and best baked products possible.
Their products are used by numerous restaurants, coffee shops, golf courses, delis, schools, colleges and hospitals in the Greater Victoria area.
Their passion and attention to detail creates artisanal products that one can feel good about enjoying. As Willow Rode -- the face of the family-run business -- explains, all the ice creams are made from organic Avalon dairy and eggs with “as much local produce as [they] can source” going into the fruit-based treats. Even the packaging is biodegradable.
The inspiration for Kid Sister comes directly from owner Brett Black’s travels through Mexico. “We really liked what they were doing down there, and saw that nobody in Victoria had anything similar to offer.”
Production of the paletas is a bit of a one-man show, with Black producing the endless array of amazing icy treats himself on a unique popsicle machine brought in from Mexico.
“Brett makes great paletas. He has such incredible flavour combinations,” says Rode. Black adds, “We try to make it all about the fruit.” Which is clear once you taste a Roasted Pineapple or Key Lime Pie pop.
“Nothing here is too sweet. Basically, we like to make things we like to eat. It’s a taste of Mexico even if you’re in Victoria,” Rode says.
OUR PARTNERSFishhook proudly works with:
Overfishing is the greatest threat to our oceans today. The world's marine life is quickly being depleted.
An estimated 90% of all large, predatory fish are already gone from the world's oceans. A recent scientific study predicted a world-wide fisheries collapse by 2048.
The only solution is to turn back from the brink, and to begin consuming seafood in a sustainable manner.
Sustainable seafood can be defined as species that are caught or farmed in a way that ensures the long-term health and stability of that species, as well as the greater marine ecosystem.
Ocean Wise RecommendationsOcean Wise's recommendations are based on four criteria. An Ocean Wise recommended species is:
Abundant and resilient to fishing pressures.
Well managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research.
Harvested in a method that ensures limited bycatch on non-target and endangered species.
Harvested in ways that limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats and negative interactions with other species.
But they're not simply trying to keep waste out of the landfill and save people money. reFUSE is committed to preserving resources while creating local, sustainable jobs.
They're a community-based local small business who, from the beginning, have targeted only high-quality, contaminant-free organic waste.
ReFUSE has partnered with the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, who are helping to educate their members on ways to lessen environmental impacts, along with waste disposal costs.
They're closing the loop with many progressive chefs of the Island Chef Collaborative (ICC), assisting their efforts to feed Vancouver Island with organic, seasonal, local-farmed foods.
Soup's on at FishhookCheck out the Boulevard article in the November 2014 issue on pages 62 - 64:
Article | Soup recipes
Fishhook's pickle perfection hits CTV's Foodie FridayCheck out the Oct. 24 CTV news feature, Foodie Friday, and the reporter's take on pickling perfection: Click here.
How to be a loner in Victoria"eat: Head to Fish Hook, a new venture by esteemed chef Kunal Ghose, with white-and-pale-wood décor and really old, really good Arcade Fire and Beirut over the speakers. Order fish curry with coconut-poached salmon, roasted cauliflower and kale saag—it’s Oceanwise and incredibly delicious. Listen to an exchange in which the young waiter calls a table of septuagenarians with leopard purses “girls,” and they tell him “Nathan is a lovely name.” — Adrienne Matei
For the complete article: Click here.
Check out the story on Fishhook in the September/October 2014 issue of y.a.m. magazine. (page 14). Or click here.
Fishhook profiled in y.a.m.
Check out the review of Fishhook in the September/October 2014 issue of EAT magazine. (page 17). Or click here.
Fishhook reviewed in EAT
Fishhook's version of the iconic French Tartine is an open-faced sandwich utilizing the finest of local & sustainably harvested ingredients, served on a toasted Irene’s Bakery sourdough baguette or “No Wheat Added” baguette ($1). They are made to pair nicely with our selection of fresh soups and salads.
Soups, salads and curry are dairy, egg and wheat free. Prices and menu items subject to change.
Come in and experience Kunal Ghose's latest addition to Victoria's robust restaurant scene.