Poke bowl becomes the real star of the gastronomic offer along with the Sushi Burritos at The Hip Fish, a restaurant located in the Barcelona neighborhood of Gracia, that will surprise you with these two options spiced with their Latin touch and “healthy” ingredients.
- The project
- The beginnings
- Entrepreneurs souls. A hobby turned into “business”
- The Hip Fish, healthy food
- Final notes
- Address and Opening hours
We head to The Hip Fish where Marcel Zeraín and Daniel Arvelo are awaiting for us. They are two childhood friends who in conjunction with Roberto Agostinelli and Alejandro Iglesias have given to reality one of their dreams, open a restaurant. Four friends, all Venezuelans, who are now also partners and who show us how the passion for what you love and dream can become true.
The story of The Hip Fish starts back in November 2016 but, how was this project born?
“The idea of building something together, Marcel and me, in the world of restoration was always there.” – says Dani- “An idea that had haunted us for years and years; We were changing the concept, but it always turned around a key product that has meant the center and the origin of everything, raw fish”.
“When I was a child” – follows Dani – “I didn’t like fish at all, but when I tasted sushi for the first time in Venezuela, at the age of twelve or thirteen years old, I went from ‘nothing’ to becoming a total addict to raw fish, so much so that every day I tried to eat it.
During the following years, my friend Marcel, who at that time worked in the fishmonger’s family, always called me when a piece of tuna arrived and we stayed together to prepare it. We made recipes such as ceviche and invited our friends, and we spent several years cooking together, not only fish but also hamburgers, ribs… A few years in which the idea of launching a restoration project in which raw fish would be the main product was already hovering above our heads.”
Entrepreneurs souls. A hobby turned into “business”
“With this idea in mind” – says Dani – “We began to explore, to read, approaching, among others, to the concept of poke bowl, a combination that I tasted less than a year and a half ago in a trip I made to the USA. I was impressed and I loved it!
At that time Marcel, who was then living in Madrid, came to a Coldplay concert here in Barcelona. I told him He had to taste poke bowl, so I prepared a poke like the one I had eaten on my trip to the USA. To pair with I asked Marcel to help me prepare some sauces, his sauces from Venezuela, and this way we created our first poke bowl..
Then we had to figure out if our friends would love poke bowl, so we organized a party and said nothing about the poke, we only said it was a ‘Sushi Night’. We prepared our recipe and put it in the middle of a table, as if it was a salad to share. When they tasted the poke, it became the main star of the party, everyone wanted to know what was that “salad” that was so good, how it was made, the ingredients…
It was clear to Marcel and me that it was a fact that the poke we prepared liked everyone, there was no doubt. We found the receipe with raw fish as the star (something we had always been clear), and it became the axis of our project, our business.
From then we start a business plan with Roberto Agostinelli, another of our partners, to design and launch our project: The Hip Fish”.
The Hip Fish, healthy food
Poke Bowl & Sushi Burritos, a successful duo
The Hip Fish arrives to the Barcelona neighborhood of Gracia with a concept of healthy food with poke bowls and sushi burritos as main dishes. Marcel, their chef, explains us what is Poke Bowl.
“The poke bowl is a Hawaiian dish, the word ‘poke’ basically means slice, piece of fish. They prepared it with the daily fish, tunas, a fish marinated simply with a some soy and sesame, and placed on a base of rice. This is the traditional poke, very simple, with very simple flavors and fresh fish.
From this traditional recipe – continues explaining Marcel – new recipes with new ingredients are being created. In this process of transformation, poke bowl reaches California and the west coast of the States. There it begins to mix with other ingredients and current trends… creating an incredible boom!
From then on it goes from being just a recipe based on rice and raw tuna to be prepared with other ingredients such as quinoa, lettuce mix, kale, mushroom shiitakes, fruits… creating new pokes of varied flavors and textures.
A huge change from what it was poke bowl in its origin, that today tries to maintain the same taste of tuna, the same soy and the same initial nuances with the taste and particular touch given by each chef.”
To Marcel’s definition, Dani adds: “I think what is happening now with poke bowl is what happened at the time, about ten years ago, with sushi. You can eat sushi in Great Britain, Spain or Venezuela and you’ll notice that its taste has nothing to do with each other. It was in California where Japanese emigrants gave a twist to this Japanese dish, transforming it and creating the sushi roll, worldwide known and responsible for its globalization, the Californian roll.
This is something that is happening now with poke bowl, a typical Hawaiian dish that like sushi has been revisited in this American town to open to the world. A transformation that we at The Hip Fish tried to maintain, giving it our Latin touch as it also happened at the time with sushi in Venezuela.”
The other main actor: Sushi Burritos
It might seem that Poke Bowl is the only speciality at The Hip Fish, but the truth is that it makes a perfect team with Sushi Burrito, a creative combination between the precious Japanese recipe and the Mexican burrito and whose success equals that of Poke Bowl.
Marcel tells us: “Sushi Burrito is a booming combination. If you taste it ¡you will repeat!. And Dani adds – “We thought poke was going to be the star but our sushi is having a lot of success among our customers. In fact we have the same number of options for both: with bluefin tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, prawns, octopus and tofu.
Furthermore – continues Dani- Right now we are the only restaurant in Barcelona offering Sushi Burritos, and the unique European restaurant offering both dishes, Poke Bowl & Sushi Burritos.”
A Hawaiian dish with Venezuelan touches
Raw fish or seafood salad, Poke Bowl have become a trend for foodies and healthy food lovers. Bowls plenty of colors and flavors that charge our batteries.
Is there a different touch on your proposal? Some wink to Venezuelan cuisine and its flavors?
“Undoubtedly” – explains Marcel – “Within the latin ingredients, we have passion fruit, mango, tamarind … tropical fruits that we associate much with our taste.”
Dani adds – “Fruit is part of Venezuelan cuisine. For example, passion fruit juice is named ‘parchita juice’. This is the most Venezuelan juice in the world, with arepa we drink parchita juice, we take it every day! At The Hip Fish we prepare it as we did in our home. We add some matcha tea, the Japanese tea, a ‘Mega Venezuelan’ mix with no sugar.
Another wink to our origins and our Venezuelan flavors are the banana chips, they are very crispy! And of course, we have to name here also the Dynamite salad, a mixture of seaweed and crab, which I personally think it’s a total boom!”
“Yes! -says Marcel- The ingredients of the Dinamita salad are Asian ingredients and are part of the fusion that took place in our country between sushi and Venezuelan cuisine ingredients. It is very emblematic in Venezuelan sushi, something you’ll not see in Spanish or American sushi. We have brought it here as part of our poke proposal and people love it.” ¡And Agente-k’s also love it, We assure its taste is really cool!
“Lastly – adds Marcel – We can not forget our sauces, the sauces that mix the flavors of Venezuela and that are the key touch of our dishes.”
Feel like a real chef, create your own Poke Bowl
“In addition to the menu and our recommendations, there is always the DIY option” – explains Dani – “It’s something our customers love, making them feel like a real chef is a good experience. They choose the ingredients themselves; base, toppings, protein and the touch of marinade that will create a unique Poke Bowl.”
If you had to recommend a poke bowl to anyone who tests them for the first time, which would it be?
“It goes according to the taste of each one, maybe more tuna, more salmon… Because there are also flavors that taste better depending on the type of fish they choose, some are citrus, others bitter…” – says Marcel-
“Personally – adds Dani – I would recommend the Prototype (in our menu) because it is the Hawaiian poke par excellence. It is made with ajituna, which is class A bluefin tuna, and marinated with the classic Hawaiian sauce, all on a layer of rice. It also has a couple of variations introduced by us that fit very well, like the carrot that adds the crisp and sweet touch. This is the option with our own wink closer to the original Hawaiian Poke. For anyone who taste a Poke for the first time it’s a good idea to do it tasting the original one.”
You just named the carrot as an ingredient to add that crunchy texture. The textures, crisp-tender, whether the product is cooked or not … Everything plays an important role to get a success dish, right?
“As for fish, it depends.” – adds Dani- “Salmon and tuna are always presented without any cooking, raw. Now for example, the octopus and prawn are always cooked just like some vegetables like soy beans, cauliflower, red cabbage … something that also help to a good digestion.”
Poke Bowl does not lack anything, protein, hydrates; they join in these recipients used before to serve soups and salads but, What about the desserts? The desserts always has a privileged place and with these dishes so light, it becomes a no-fault desire perfect to put the finishing touch.
Which are the sweetest desserts at The Hip Fish?
“Our desserts are totally homemade, we elaborate them here.”- says Marcel- “There are four desserts, three from the menu and one that changes according to the season. The 3 desserts from the menu are those that somehow remind us our childhood, our favorites ones. The Lemon pie, the fresh homemade lemon pie, is one of my favorites; The apple crumble, natural apple pie with crumbs of almonds and flour, which Dani loves; and the chocolate pie, a handmade chocolate base with a very delicious cookie crumble that we all love! Almost everyone love chocolate. Then we are adding a the last one with the seasonal flavors.”
Added value – Directed by a passionate team not only loving there receipes, the Poke and the Sushi Burrito, but also loving cooking in general, The Hip Fish becomes a place constant evolution, creating and experimenting with new recipes loved by their customers!
Plus – They have several options for celiac and lactose intolerant customers.
Let them surprise you – With Dynamite salad; a mixture of seaweed, crab and some other secret ingredient. You will repeat for sure!
Looking for the “Umami”? – Then you have to give a chance to Salmon Rub. A mix of all the flavors is achieved in this Poke recipe with the freshness of kale, salmon grease, a citrus marinade and crunchy sesame. An interesting mix of flavors in only one dish.
Hot dishes – The Hip Fish takes care for those looking for hot dishes in the coldest months of the year, so ask about their proposals as their rich version of the crab bisque.
A place with its own soundtrack – Music plays a special role at The Hip Fish, a top playlist (Mac Demaco, Beach House, King Krule….) giving the right ambience while you taste their dishes and enjoy a good time with your couple, friends or family.
¡Go to The Hip Fish! “Think Hip Eat Fish”
Address and Opening hours
We are open Monday to Saturday from 12:00 – 23:00
Services Take away, local, catering or order via Deliveroo, Restoin, Glovo.
Call The Fish +34 931 25 51 98