I was lucky enough to be in the Lake District at the weekend, the weather was amazing and I ate at some fantastic restaurants including Michelin starred L’Enclume.
One of the highlights of the weekend was much less grand but just as enjoyable in it’s own way, ‘Hooked’.
‘Hooked’ is Windermere’s newest seafood restaurant opened in November 2010, owner Michael Gould claims to serve the ‘freshest & tastiest seafood with flavours & influences from the Mediterranean, South East Asia & Australasia’. To be perfectly honest that mix of influences worried me slightly, fusion done well can be a great thing but all too often the result is a mismatch of confusing flavours.
Thankfully there was nothing confusing about ‘Hooked’. Apart from maybe it’s appearance, it’s small, located on a main road with an entirely glass shop front and a big blue sign. From the outside it looks every bit like a fish & chip takeaway.
Upon entering there was no sign of deep fat fryers or a take away counter. Just a small number of tables (no more than 8 – 10), interesting artwork and large blackboards with the latest menu scribbled in chalk.
Ordering from the menu was difficult, everything sounded amazing. I’m just grateful it was limited to 6 or 7 starters & main courses each. We finally decided and went with Cornish sardines, tiger prawns and hand dived king scallops to start.
When the food arrived the first thing that struck me was the simplicity, after being worried about the mix of flavours and influences causing confusion, nothing could be further from the truth. Every plate was presented beautifully but simply with the fish being the centre of attention. It was all cooked perfectly and clearly top quality fresh ingredients. The sardines in particular were a delight.
For main courses we had gone for Whole lemon Sole with caper & lemon butter and Halibut with Chorizo & Beans, both were served with garlic sautéed potatoes and a whole pak choi. Again everything was cooked perfectly, the fish was fresh and delicious and the accompaniments just as good. I have never eaten a whole pak choi as a side vegetable with fish & potato but it worked well.
For dessert we had Vanilla panna cotta and Hot Chocolate Fondue with Strawberries & goodies, the goodies being marshmallows and biscuits. They lived up to the standards of the fish, the panna cotta was light with the perfect wobble and the chocolate fondue was warm , rich and delicious with the ‘goodies’.
The food at ‘Hooked’ was about as good as food can be. Great quality, fresh ingredients, simple and uncomplicated but cooked to perfection. The service also deserves a mention, it was quiet when we visited as it was very early evening but that is often when restaurant service is at it’s weakest due to reduced staff numbers. The only member of staff we saw was Michael the owner but he could not have been more attentive.
I highly recommend Hooked to anybody that loves good quality sea food and I can’t wait to go back next time i’m in the Lake District.
Date of visit: 03.07.2011