Feelin’ “pololi”? That’s Hawaiian for hungry, so, in our case – always.
We’re saying aloha to Pololi’s new menu addition of SHAKA Rolls – American-style sushi rolls – which are available at their flagship Causeway Bay restaurant. We’re all far too familiar with the typical Hong Kong bite-sized sushi portions that leave a kind of empty feeling once we’ve finished eating. Pololi’s promise to leave you feeling comfortably full. And that we were.
Pololi was founded in Hong Kong in 2014 by ex-iBanker and #girlboss Steph Kudus, who is also the chef behind the shop. The flagship Causeway Bay branch whisks you from Hong Kong’s Fashion Walk straight into a Hawaiian beachfront thanks to the decor, laid-back vibe, chilled music and staff with smiles all round. We’re fans, can you tell?
As for the new eats, we began with the Shaka Shaka Don Bowl ($128). It’s a classic with a few twists. Before even taking a bite, the bowl made us happy just looking at the vibrant pops of colour. Sitting on a generous bed of rice, you’ve got tuna, salmon and scallop sprinkled with ikura and nori shreds. Each element is well thought out, from the red-hued tuna tataki, to the delicate cuts of fresh salmon, to the plentiful helping of silky and tender scallop. The torched tuna was definitely the star of the bowl, but it was closely followed by the Japanese-sourced scallop, which was terrifically fresh. There’s also the option to pick and mix your own bowl.
Next up was one of Pololi’s signature rolls, the Dragon Bomb ($55–88/4–8pieces). This is our personal favourite. Big, bold and creative, this one is perfect in every way. It’s filled with ebi tempura, kani, cucumber and spicy tobiko mayo and topped with unagi, avocado, sesame seed and tempura crunch. You get an immediate explosion of flavours, all highly complementary and with none of the elements out of place. We opted for the sauce on the side; a drizzle of the bright orange-coloured sauce on top will pack a punch that’s mellowed by the mayo, but we didn’t want to risk overpowering the fresh fishy flavours.
Another SHAKA Rolls signatures is the Viper Roll ($65–108/4–8 pieces). Big thanks to the team for torching the unagi right at our table, which added to the excitement. This roll is filled with shrimp tempura, kani stick salad, avocado and cucumber and topped with torched unagi and spicy aioli. With the unagi as the centrepiece, this is definitely one for the eel lovers amongst us.
We also had the eight-piece Lil’ Shaka California Roll ($68). We have nothing bad to say here, but also nothing new or exciting to note. If you’re looking for a classic Cali, this certainly delivers. This one is smaller in portion size versus the signature rolls, yet still generous with even amounts of each component throughout.
We also loved the cocktails on the menu, which are a nice break from the traditional sake accompaniment. All cocktails come in at $88 or $60 during happy hour. The Coco-Nog provides a Hawaiian twist on a festive Christmas drink, laced smoothly with hints of star anise and cinnamon. We also opted for a vanilla and pomegranate mojito – the MVP Mojito – which could be considered a tad too sweet for some.
With daily arrivals, you’ll taste top-quality fresh fish at Pololi. Unlike most sushi spots in the 852, the larger portion sizes, mixture of flavours and innovative concoctions bring a thoroughly American-style flair to the table. It’s refreshing to see a sushi menu focused on fish other than salmon, and we enjoyed expanding our palate with new flavours and textures. The staff are so attentive and passionate about the flavours and story behind Pololi that it warms the soul. A perfect mid-week pick-me-up spot for chilling and eating at an affordable price point.
Shop C, G/F, Fashion Walk, 58–64 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay, 2794 1499
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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