It’s no secret that having a passion for wine is on the job description for all staff at The Hook! To commemorate World Malbec Day, we review our wine offering and explore some of our bestsellers.
World Malbec Day is celebrated each year on April 17th to symbolise the transformation of the Argentinian wine industry and celebrate the now emblem for Argentina. Originating in Cahors, in south western France, they are known as ‘Côt’. A French agronomist introduced Malbec to Argentina in 1853, in the hope that the French grape ‘Malbec’ would adapt to the soil. Fast forward 168 years and more than 75% of Malbec grapes are now grown in Argentina, with its best variations growing there.
Malbec has become a global favourite, particularly emerging in the last 20 years. It’s a great go-to for those who haven’t found their favourite as it’s versatile, packed full of flavour yet has a certain subtlety to it, making it suitable for all occasions and palates.
As we see the standard of Malbec in France rise as they try to play catch up, we’ve taken a look at some of our bestselling wine. Undoubtedly a bottle of Malbec Argentino, Felino from Mendoza is our most popular. Felino, like many other Malbec Argentinos, has aromas of red fruit, plums & cherries, notes of violet & spices with oak ageing of chocolate and tobacco flavours. We also offer a nice variety of Cabernet Sauvignon / Malbec blends.
A personal favourite at The Hook is the Nicassia, from Catena Zapata. It’s big and bold with dark cherry flavours and a good hint of vanilla from the oak. Look out for this one at The Wine Alley, it costs £50 and regularly scores 92+ points from critics!
Due to its success, Malbec is now used to produce different styles of wine; white, rosé, sparkling and sweet are now available, meaning there is a Malbec for every dish and occasion. However, we thoroughly recommend pairing Malbec with good quality red meat that has a decent fat content. The acidity cuts through the fat and the flavours of the wine make a perfect marriage.
If you’d like to learn (and drink) a little more about wine, we offer wine tasting packages at The Hook which can be booked via [email protected]
We’re back with another delicious recipe that feeds the family, is quick to make and is mouth wateringly good. These addictingly sweet pork chops pack all the flavours of a classic Asian dish and are ready in just 30 minutes. Complimented by a kimchi coleslaw, this dish is rich in umami and will undoubtedly become a family favourite.
We paired this dish with a lovely biodynamic Nero di Troia from Puglia available from the Wine Alley for £9. It’s a rich wine of dark plum flavours with spices, perfect with the little heat in the bbq sauce.
Our head chef, Josh Brook, talks through the recipe on Eliza Philippidis’ BBC Radio Guernsey show, and you can listen along at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p094bsz3 starting at 2hrs 20mins.
Asian Pork Chop with Kimchi Coleslaw
Pork Chops 4
Chinese Cabbage ½
Fresh Coriander 20g
Sesame Seed Oil 3tbsp
BBQ Sauce 175g
Orange (Zest/Juice) 1
Soy Sauce 100g
Garlic Cloves 2
Spring Onion 1
We know that by now some of our regular customers are missing the talents of our kitchen. Whilst the venue may be different, we are hopeful to offer our customers a weekly recipe you can make in the comfort of your home and have a small taste of luxury during this unsettling lockdown.
You can catch our head chef, Josh Brook, every Wednesday with Eliza Philippidis on BBC Radio Guernsey to talk through some of our favourite recipes with household ingredients. This week’s recipe was a roast sea bass, Greek vegetable & toasted pitta which you can follow along at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p093pkmr starting at 2hr21mins.
Our paired wine for this dish will be an Assyrtiko, Greek white available from The Wine Alley at £18 a bottle. It’s a citrusy wine, with good acidity to cut through the fish oils in the dish and has a lovely saline note to it. The perfect match for a Greek bass!
If you’re shielding or isolating, The Wine Alley are offering curb-side pickups or deliveries. Call them on 01481726747
Roast Sea Bass, Greek Vegetables & Toasted Pitta
Whole Sea Bass 700g
Cherry Tomatoes 50g
Red Onion 100g
Red Sweet Pepper 100g
Garlic Cloves 4
Rosemary 2 springs
Balsamic Vinegar 50ml
Fish Sauce 1 tbsp
Pitta Breads 4
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Flaked Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper
For humans, there’s nothing too glamourous about aging. Slowly getting wrinkly, balding and losing a few marbles; if you hung us up for a month in a controlled humid environment, it probably wouldn’t do much good. However, for meat, this controlled decay process enhances and unlocks new flavours and textures – more than you could imagine.
In a similar way to how luxury restaurants became cured meat-obsessed over the past decade, dry aging beef has made its return from lonesome butchers and steakhouses, to its new home of high-end restaurants. People are also taking dry aging to new heights, going against the original 20-30 day maturing process as butchers have always done. Instead, modish chefs are pushing limits with aging periods of 45 days, 150 days or if you’re the famous Carnevino Steakhouse Las Vegas’ head chef – 8-month-old dry aged steak.
There’s more than meets the eye to dry aging beef. It takes knowledge and skill to ensure the environment is perfect in order for succulent flavours and textures to be released, so it’s safe to say there’s more to the art than hanging some meat on a hook and leaving it to rot.
The science behind dry aging beef is an intense cycle of bacteria manifesting and building layers of different mold, which after broken into reveals juicy and very much un-mouldy meat. An aging room should have a clean smell, and if there are sour notes then the meat has been improperly stored and is not suitable for serving.
Underneath that intense smell is the water seeping out and concentrating the flavour, carbs are turned to sugar making it sweeter, connective tissue is weakened which gives it that tender bite we can all appreciate. But one of the most important chemical reactions that takes place is the protein that is broken down into amino acids, umami included. Umami deepens the rich and concentrated flavour of aged beef and tingles the tastebuds, providing that sensory pleasure we can recognize in every bite of a steak.
We pride ourselves at The Hook for dry aging all of our meat for a minimum of 28 days in our own dry age cabinet. Our meat is aged on the bone to intensify the flavour, and we serve a variety of different beef cuts. Steaks include fillet, picanha rump & rib-eye, large steak cuts of côte de bœuf, sirloin on the bone and chateaubriand are available. Even our ‘Smokey Joe’s Burger’ patties are dry aged. We have an extensive and ever changing menu of high quality steak cuts, just ask your waiter for details.
The Hook & Sling welcomed new employee, Igor Racu, in March earlier this year. Igor who is originally from Iași, Romania moved to Guernsey three and a half years ago, where he held the position of Bar Manager in two well established restaurants and bars, Mora and Red.
Before emigrating to Guernsey, Igor owned his own hospitality company where he taught and managed a host of skills for those entering or struggling in the hospitality industry. Creating food and cocktail menus as well as training waiters and bartenders, Igor brings a fresh perspective on leadership to The Hook staff.
The general nature of Guernsey nightlife means the demand at bars on Friday and Saturday nights are continuous, where everybody wants to be served quickly and at the highest quality. With The Hook’s lively atmosphere Igor says he does not aim to put on a show with tricks, but entertain patrons with high quality drinks.
Igor described the ambience of The Hook as ‘Friday everyday’, and when it comes to the bar’s fast paced environment, Igor said his ‘patience’ was his greatest strength as a bartender.
‘Behind the bar you need to be effective and provide good products and fast service.’
The Hook recently launched its latest cocktail menu which was concocted by Igor and the team and inspired by traditional Japanese flavours, to complement the Japanese cuisine. The cocktails which have gained the most popularity, pictured below, are ‘The Pokémon’, consisting of strawberry & cucumber shrub, aloe vera, vodka and while strawberry liqueur, along with ‘The Sudoku’, made using rhubarb gin, sweet vermouth, Campari bitter and rhubarb liqueur.
Igor, who describes himself as a ‘competitive perfectionist’, said he prefers to switch up the menu every 4-6 months and aims to target all different types of taste preferences on the menu.
To gather ideas for up and coming cocktails along with names, Igor goes into a deep state of meditation and notes down his thoughts to experiment. Satisfaction is a large part of his cocktail creations, which is why if a cocktail is substandard, he will go back to the drawing board until he’s happy to serve his creation to customers.
Igor and the team at The Hook and Sling are constantly creating new cocktails inspired by current trends. If you have a personal preference the team will be more than happy to assist and create something entirely unique!
The Hook is island-renowned for being the only Japanese oriented modern seafood, sushi and steak restaurant. Located in the heart of St Peter Port and with breathtaking coastal views, The Hook is in the rare position of offering customers the unique chance to enjoy fresh fish from the waters it overlooks.
Since the pandemic hit, we have seen a significant rise in the number of islanders trying to support local businesses of all kinds. Here at The Hook we’ve never seen it any other way, with the freshest produce on our doorstep, it doesn’t make any logical sense to find alternative suppliers, unless absolutely necessary.
We are always liaising with Guernsey food suppliers and try our very best to provide a rich taste of Guernsey whenever we can. From our Donald Russel steaks to our catch of the day caught on the line that same morning – high quality and traceable food remains paramount.
We are widely recognized for our high-quality seafood, but we can’t take all of the credit. Our waters are home to a large number of diverse species, many of these not seen on UK shores, so it’s really the fish we should thank.
It may not be the Great Barrier Reef, but our waters have seen a handful of bizarre species such as the Flying Fish, Bramble Shark and Deep-sea Angler. Although you probably won’t see these on our special’s menu, the Bailiwick and Jersey is now recorded to have a list of 216 species, so marine life is probably a tad busier than day-to-day life in the Channel Islands.
The more common fish you will see on our specials menu are mackerel, seabream and sea bass to name a few; although these fish sound slightly less exciting, seasoned, cooked and served with local produce, you truly taste the flavour of Guernsey.
Lobster and crab are amongst the most popular dishes across the Bailiwick, and with some of the highest quality seafood in Europe it’s no wonder why our surf & turf is such a hit. Our individual relationships with local suppliers allow us to access fresh seafood at a rate most places can’t, making dining at The Hook a truly unique experience.
‘Vegan wine’ what is it, and what on earth does it mean? To someone new to the vegan concept, a vegan diet revolves around not consuming any animal products; not just the meat, but anything that comes from an animal such as milk or eggs. A vegan lifestyle is slightly different, as this is where somebody avoids all animal exploitation of any kind, for example purchasing leather items.
So… since when have grapes been sentient beings? Wine in itself (fermented grape juice) is vegan, but it’s the ‘fining’ process in which a lot of wines fall under the non-vegan friendly category. Fining agents are used to remove protein, yeast, cloudiness and any organic particles that could affect the flavour and colour of the wine, ultimately clarifying it. Common fining agents include:
These fining agents, although removed, can leave residue and are therefore not suitable for a plant-based diet. However, many companies are keeping up with demand and supplying large ranges of wine that are unfined or fined using suitable agents such as limestone, silica gel or plant casein to name a few. Don’t be misunderstood though, your favourite wine will still be just as good as these agents don’t contribute to flavour at all.
Even though there are growing numbers of ethical fining agents, there is an increasing number of natural winemakers who encourage the wine to remain in the most natural state possible, as when refined they believe unique flavours can be dimmed. We offer an extensive selection of unfined wine and we’ll be happy to help you explore your palette and discover your preferred wine.
With veganism on the rise there is more demand for ethical and sustainable wines than ever before, which is why at The Hook we decided to up our vegan wine game.
We did our research and found trustworthy suppliers that we rely on to import our vegan wine, which is popular even amongst our meat eaters. Our eco-friendly stock varies from Shiraz, Malbec, Chardonnay, Sancerre to Rosé and even bubbles, free from animal products and sustainably sourced!
Wines are clearly marked for our plant based guests at The Hook, but if you’re unsure if your wine is vegan, simply ask your waiter for the unfined/unfiltered wine options as these wines have not gone through the fining process and will be free of all animal products. Keep your eyes peeled for new vegan wines we have arriving soon!
The Hook launched the much-anticipated app earlier in 2019 and we’ve seen a great response from returning customers. In a fast paced working world, many people don’t have time to wait around for their food and a lot of the time we need quick fixes on the go. In a competitive industry, we have to stay on top of trends and adapt to contemporary ways of life, which meant making lunch and dinner on the go more accessible and hassle-free.
We see large influxes of hungry people looking for a quick yet satisfying lunch, so whether it’s ‘sushi Friday’ in your office or that kaburomaki craving just won’t let up, you can now order with the click of a button via The Hook’s app.
The app was created with our customers in mind, so it’s simple and does what it says. No phone calls, no waiting around, just order from your desk or couch and collect from us.
The app is free to download and easy to navigate; our home page will display details about current special offers, loyalty cards and the takeaway menu. Simply click ‘order’ and view our best-selling dishes, choose from uramaki, sashimi, chirashi bowls amongst other mouth-watering dishes. Once at the checkout you can place your order and head to The Hook to collect your Japanese fix – it’s as easy as that!
As our way of saying ‘thank you’ for supporting your local restaurant and our local suppliers, we’ve created a loyalty scheme for takeaway ordering. We recommend creating an account so you can check out quickly and accumulate customer points. Points can be earnt for every £1 spent via our app or website, and once you have 200 points, a unique code will be emailed to you with a £10 discount code for your next order (even more of an excuse to eat sushi every day).