a) appreciate it for a brief moment, before succumbing to pessimism and questioning how long it will last;
b) discover how woefully inadequate my summer wardrobe is;
c) think about heading to a decent beach, but then realise I am in Melbourne;
d) hanker after decent fish and chips as a means of eating my feelings regarding option c).
Although Melbourne may not be blessed with beaches, it does have Hooked. The mothership is located in Windsor (on Chapel Street), while a second outpost has appeared in Fitzroy on Brunswick Street. The thing I love about Hooked is its ability to bring the concepts of 'fish n chips' and 'healthy' out of a mutually exclusive relationship - if these two concepts were a Venn diagram, Hooked would be that tiny little overlapping bit.
At Hooked, one has the option of grilled or battered fish/scallops/prawns, and a choice of sides including chips, sticky rice/brown rice and bok choi, or the house salad. The Asian in me is a huge fan of the rice and bok choi combination. The general human being in me is a huge fan of the sweet potato crisps which accompany most meals. The option below is the simple, no-frills offering of house fish with a side ($15.50):
There are also larger options for sharing - the box for two my sister and I shared the other week came with fish, prawns, calamari and a generous serving of salad ($38.95). Actually, everything on the plate came in a generous serving. And was fresh. And cooked to perfection.
As an individual cursed with a lifelong chip obsession, it lightens the burden somewhat to know that Hooked chips are pretty amazing. Hand-cut, crispy exterior, light, fluffy innards and served in magnanimous portions: what more could you ask for?
As if it couldn't get any better, Hooked also offers a range of fish and veggie burgers, salads, a Bouillabaisse-like soup and other daily specials. I'm keen to try the barramundi burger which was given a glowing review in The Age on Saturday.
But wait, there's more! Students get discounts if they dine before peak eating times, and there's always a slew of lunch specials which are incredibly good value, given how much fish n chip lovin' you get to begin with.
Hooked Fish and Chips
172 Chapel Street, Windsor
384 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy