Owner of Finn Poke.
Owner of Finn Poke.
He’s the man who brought us Finn Poke at Pacific Fair just a few short months ago and this week, Jem Jacinto will open a second venue in Burleigh Heads.
We sat down for a chat with Jem about his Hawaiian roots (where poke bowls were invented) and how Finn Pokes’ chef driven concept means next-level poke bowls for the Gold Coast.
What do you love most about the Gold Coast?
First and foremost, the coastline and the beach, it reminds us a lot of where we’re from in the States (LA and Hawaii) and the people are great. It’s a healthy vibe here and it really suits what we’re trying to offer.
Tell us how Finn Poke came about?
My Mum and sister are based on the Gold Coast and I’ve always wanted to bring the family dynamic closer together. I love food, I have roots in Hawaii and what I know best is food. The poke was a no brainer because there wasn’t much established here at that point, about a year ago. We were in Byron for the week on vacation and saw a ‘for lease’ sign and thought let’s do it. Within two or three months we had our first store open and now here we are with the Pacific Fair and Burleigh stores.
What’s your food background?
I’ve been involved in the hospitality industry for about ten years now. My brother in law founded Fig and Olive in the US, which grew into a multi-unit brand with stores from New York to LA and I was there to help him build the stores and I got involved in the business side of things. Last year Fig and Olive sold and we opened Farmhouse so I’ve been involved in the industry for a long time. Fast casual is really where it’s at and that’s what we’re doing with Finn Poke.
What’s unique about your poke bowls?
We’re not your typical poke bowl we’re more of a premium offering without the extra price tag. We’re a chef driven concept and we source super high quality ingredients directly from the producers. We focus on that so we can provide the best value and quality. When you build your own bowl, we balance it for you to make sure you have the right amount of sauce, crunch and all the ingredients. That way you have a perfectly balanced bowl and that’s probably the most important factor. Our chefs make the bowl for you and ensure it’s perfect. It’s important to us to be a sustainable business too. We take from the ocean so we need to give back and be responsible. All our tuna is wild, line caught in Queensland and NSW. All the salmon here is farmed so we’ve chosen a farm that is certified, sustainable and has good practices. Our packaging is 99% reusable, plastic free and biodegradable.
You’ve opened in Pacific Fair and now Burleigh, why those locations?
Pacific Fair is such a prominent development in the Gold Coast, it’s been here for so many years, I remember when it was still new and it was such a formidable shopping centre back then. They recently spent a lot of money rejuvenating it and creating a great dynamic. I believe it’s really the shopping core of the Gold Coast so we thought it’d be great for awareness of our brand. Burleigh is just such a cool place; it’s really aligned with our vibe. You can grab a bowl and sit on the hill and feel good while eating a healthy meal.
What else do you have on for 2018?
We’d like to get settled on the Gold Coast and then spread the poke love all the way up north. We always want to improve the brand and grow our offering too. I’ve got a few great recipes up my sleeve that I’ll launch for the summer including something that’s only found on the big island in Hawaii, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. It’s a poke recipe that’s vegan friendly and it’s really delicious.
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
Enjoy your family.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Restaurant: Finn Poke
How does your weekend usually look? At the moment, work but I usually spend my time in Byron with my family.
The Gold Coast’s passion for poké is set to reach fever pitch when Byron Bay foodie fave Finn Poké makes its grand entrance at Pacific Fair this weekend.
That’s right folks more poké for you to ahh poke your fork at is on the way and this one has already been tried and tested by our southern friends, so you know it’s good.
It’s the first installment in Finn Poke’s planned Coastal expansion, with a third establishment set to open on James Street in late July.
As you’d know by now, poke bowls were born on the balmy shores of Hawaii and some absolute genius decided it would be a good idea to bring them to little old Oz. Thank you, kind soul.
They are, quite obviously, bowls of nourishing goodness, salad-style and often with the inclusion of raw fish and/or some other type of tasty, tasty protein.
So what’s Finn Poké bringing to the table? Premium-style bowls with mainly locally sourced ingredients and sustainably caught seafood of course. They’re staying true to the classic poké recipe while adding a local flare from northern New South Wales using a variety of vibrant vegetables, salads, tofu and raw fish options.
Get a load of these ingredients – fish caught in Australian waters, roasted beets, organic rice, citrus kale slaw and coconut-avocado or finger-lime caviar dressings.
The newbie is the work of brother and sister duo Jem Jacinto and Joelle Boehnert and can be found in the dining precinct just down from Event Cinemas.
It’s set to be a light-filled space, featuring all your faves including white, timber, stone and concrete, with subway tiles, a floating pergola, statement pendant lights and pops of greenery. Literally, all your faves.
To celebrate the official opening at Pacific Fair, Finn Poké will be dishing out 100 FREE mini poké bowls from 11am on Saturday 16th June.
Bring. It. On.
LOCATION: Level 1, Pacific Fair, Hooker Blvd, Broadbeach
Words by Kirra Smith
It’s all happening in Burleigh Heads folks, we’ll be eating somewhere new every night for the rest of our lives at this rate and we’re not sad about it.
This week Finn Poké slid open its doors on James Street bringing healthy, colourful and, best of all, absolutely delicious poké bowls to the people. Now we know poké bowls have been discussed previously but allow us to elaborate for those who haven’t had the pleasure.
Originating in Hawaii, poké (pronounced poh-keh) bowls are usually made up of raw fish, rice, vegetables and other fun additions. Don’t stop reading if raw fish ain’t your thing though, you can also have chicken (cooked) poké, vegetable poké and tofu poké.
Burleigh’s newbie comes courtesy of Jem Jacinto and his team who began their foray into poké bowls in Byron Bay just last year and since then, opened a store in Pacific Fair and now, this pretty place.
Speaking of pretty, you’re gonna LOVE it. The space is all white textured walls and aqua leather seating with a tiled entryway way and, our fave, a neon pink slogan sign scrawled across one wall.
Wicker light fittings are strung down the length of the space and the whole thing comes together in a perfectly Burleigh way – light, airy and with delightful little pops of colour and we would like to move in please.
Especially because we could eat poké bowls all day long. Yes please.
Finn Poké’s bowls are a little different from most in that they source only the most premium of ingredients to ensure both quality and flavour are top notch. Which they are.
We’re quite partial to the Spicy Salmon Shaka because not only is it made up of the prettiest pink hues we’ve ever come across, it is also a flavour sensation. The Shaka has red onion, bean sprouts, daikon, watermelon radish, shiso furikake (seasoning) and spicy sriracha mayo over the freshest of salmon.
The Salmon Finn is also next-level. Reminiscent of summer in a bowl, it’s filled with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, bean sprouts, orange segments, nori furikake and classic shoyu (a type of soy sauce). So citrusy, so yum.
Of course, those are part of the signature bowl range but you’re also welcome to build your own bowl, which the chefs will ensure are perfectly balanced and even more perfectly tasty.
In conclusion (how dumb was essay writing back in the day), Finn Poké is the perfect addition to James Street and just imagine grabbing a bowl and perching atop Burleigh Hill every single day of summer. It’s going to be a time.
See you there, bring beers.
LOCATION: 31 James Street, Burleigh Heads
HOURS: 11am until late daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Balmy all-day beach weather is almost upon us and with it will come entire days frolicking in the salty, sunshine with the crew, frosty cold beers buried deep in ice-filled eskies and light, feel-good eats to ensure you’re energetic enough for said frolicking.
And you know what’s the perfect light, feel-good eats Gold Coasters? Poké bowls – bowls filled with healthy, tasty goodness that will not only nourish you from the inside out, but are also very pretty and perfect for taking back to the beach so you don’t miss out on any fun.
Conveniently, if you venture down Coolangatta way sometime soon (which you should), you’ll find a sleek new space serving up exactly that – healthy, tasty poké bowls filled with locally sourced produce that are some of the very best around.
Raw + Rice is the newbie, found on Marine Pde in Coolangatta overlooking the ocean and perfectly at home with a sleek, plant-filled interior, seating out on the deck and plenty of natural light inside.
It’s the work of Sunshine Coasters Ben Glass and James Breust who have already created four successful venues (including one in Brisbane) and it’s the perfect addition to the Coolangatta dining scene.
The business was built with sustainability and conservation in mind with all fish ethically caught and the use of biodegradable packaging prominent throughout. It’s a nod of gratitude to the earth and that’s something we are fully in support of.
The fresh, flavour-packed menu boasts both a choose-your-own-adventure and an already-expertly-decided-upon option and every single possible combination is 10 out of 10.
In the already-expertly-decide-upon section, there are Salmon, Ocean Trout, White Fish, Soy Tofu and chicken options loaded up with a variety of crunchy, delicious extras that’ll knock your socks off.
If you’re keen to choose exactly what’s going into your bowl, start with your base – sushi rice, brown rice, quinoa or mixed greens – then add protein, some fresh salady goodness, sauce (Wasabi mayo for the win) and some crunchy bits to keep things interesting.
Since there are already four venues going strong up the Coast, you know Raw + Rice are on top of what’s good in the poké bowl department but we suggest getting down there to taste test them for yourself.
Get down there ASAP so when balmy, all-day beach weather rolls around you’ll know exactly what you want, you can run in barefoot off the beach, grab your goods and barely miss a minute of the sandy action.
Good times all round.
Love you Raw + Rice poké bowls.
LOCATION: 2/110 Marine Parade, Coolangatta
HOURS: 11am until 7pm daily
Words and photos by Kirra Smith