London restaurant chain Island Poké now has vegan tuna sashimi. The chain believes its vegan ahi tuna dish, which is made with watermelon, could be the first of its kind in Europe.
What Is Poké?
Poké bowls feature chunks of raw fish — usually ahi, also called yellowfin tuna — with rice, vegetables, and sauce.
Island Poké describes its new creation — called the Vegan Ahi Bowl — on Instagram as a “true poké bowl … just without the fish.” It features marinated watermelon, Island Poké’s signature Ahi Shoyu recipe, pineapple, chilli salsa, wakame seaweed, crispy shallots, sesame seeds, and “a bit of magic.”
Founder James Gould-Porter said in a statement that Island Poké is “thrilled” to introduce the vegan dish to give diners the opportunity to “enjoy a real vegan poké experience.”
“We have always wanted to create a vegan option that truly delivers on taste and texture and, following a lot of recipe testing, we’ve developed a dish that captures our ‘Island Poké Ohana’ – our passion for incredible food and friendly vibes. We can’t wait for everyone to try it,” he said.
‘We’re Trying to Push the Boundaries’
The new meal aligns with the restaurant chain’s mission to shake up the industry. In May, Gould-Porter told Big Hospitality, “We are really trying to change the landscape of grab-and-go, and position poké as more of a genre rather than a food type. We see poké as more of a vehicle for a style of eating — it doesn’t need to be exclusively raw fish and rice.”
“We don’t want to disassociate ourselves from its Hawaiian origin — that’s the birthplace and always will be — but we’re trying to push the boundaries slightly,” he added.
Vegan Ahi Tuna Making Waves
Vegan seafood is rising in popularity as more ditch animal products for the good of their health, the environment, and animals.
Last year, leading food provider Aramark, which services educational institutions, hospitals, and stadiums, trialled vegan poké bowls on its menus. The plant-based Ahimi Tuna was provided by Ocean Hugger Foods, which creates the fish-free fish with five natural ingredients, including tomatoes.
Island Poké’s vegan watermelon poké bowl is available at all of its seven locations in London.