Couple bring a flavour of the Pacific to Cork

New Zealander Trinette Porter and her Cork husband Humphrey tell CHRIS DUNNE about their new food venture in Washington Street
Couple bring a flavour of the Pacific to Cork

FAMILY BUSINESS: Anakyn, Trinette, Ruarc and Humphrey Porter outside Tiki Poke in Washington Street, Cork. Picture: Jim Coughlan

SHE has embarked on a journey from Christchurch in New Zealand to Cork, but Trinette Porter has brought a little taste of home with her.

She and her husband, Humphrey, have launched a unique eating experience in Washington Street, called Tike Poke, which is a brand new Pacific-inspired sushi spot in the heart of the city.

Trinette, who admits she caught the travel bug from her grandfather moved to Cork 15 years ago when she met the love of her life, Humphrey.

She had studied nursing before taking off for the British Isles and Ireland.

“When I took off, my parents understood. The seed was planted. When I landed in Cork in 2008; it felt like home from the very first day,” says Trinette.

Was she homesick?

“I was never really homesick,” says Trinette, who embraced all things Cork.

“But I think Tike Poke is like a taste of home. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now it’s finally come together.”

Trinette adds: “People may already know Humphrey and I from Cafe Depeche next door, but Tike Poke is a long-term goal of mine. 

"I wanted to bring a bit of my home flavour to this city.

The ‘Ring of Fire’ flavours at Tike Poke take their inspiration from different areas along the ‘Ring of Fire’, a path along the Pacific Ocean made up of active volcanoes.

“So, along with New Zealand, there’s a bit of Mexico, Peru, Australia, Malaysia and Japan in the mix too,” says Humphrey, who works in the kitchen while his wife looks after front-of-house.

“It has been something we’ve wanted to do for a long time,” adds Trinette, “and now it has finally come together.”

How did Trinette and Humphrey meet?

“I was looking for work and he was looking for staff,” says Trinette. “It was a bit mushy! I had previously worked at Wagamama.”

It was love at first sight.

“I said; oh no! when I met Humphrey. But in a good way! And he said the same.”

And then?

“He didn’t give me the job, but he asked me out instead! And we got to know each other.

“I remember our first date was at a little Italian restaurant at the corner of North Main Street. We began dating and we’re together ever since.”

But there was a break-down in communication, wasn’t there, given the different accents?

Trinette laughs.

“The first time my mum and dad met Humphrey, they couldn’t understand a word! They thought he spoke so fast and they only picked up the odd word at the start! It took me a while to get used to the Cork accent too!”

But now she speaks the lingo like a native.

“And now I understand why people want to go on holidays to Spain and other sunny places because of the rain we get here,” adds Trinette with a smile.

“In New Zealand, we never went on sun holidays, and we never understood the reasons for sun holidays. After two years in Ireland I was asking; ‘where’s the sun?’”

Anakyn brought sunshine into Trinette and Humphrey’s lives when he arrived two and a half years ago.

“I have three-stepchildren, the eldest of whom lives in New Zealand,” says Trinette. “Amhloabh is into his rugby and he lives with my parents. He told us he wanted to play rugby and so he went to New Zealand to play rugby at a rugby school and to find out how good he is.

“Having teenagers and a toddler is two extremes!”

Anakyn comes to work every day with mum and dad.

“We didn’t go down the crèche route during Covid,” says Trinette. “Anakyn is very good and he’s turning into a real foodie!”

Having run Cafe Depeche for 13 years, and being foodies, Trinette and Humphrey were looking for another opportunity. They found it next door.

“We looked at all the different regions around the Ring of Fire and a lot of the foods there are similar to what we do in Ireland,” Humphrey says.

“The food is marinated slightly differently, so it comes together really well.”

What’s on offer?

“We’ve got smoked salmon, shrimp, beef, chicken, crab, roasted watermelon, which is very popular, and the tofu.”

What are sushirritos that appear on the menu?

“They are more of a sandwich instead of individual pieces of sushi,” explains Humphrey.

There’s a taste of Tropicana on the menu too.

“There’s tropical fruit, cinnamon, dark chocolate and different flavours of smoothie, as well as smoothie bowls and homemade granolas.”

Everyone got into the tropical mood for the grand opening of Tike Poke.

“Staff donned flower necklaces and tropical shirts,” says Trinette. 

“We were all so excited to get Tike Poke up and running.

“The weather has been so good, outdoor dining was the order of the day.”

The team have some outdoor seating and when that fills up, people drift over to the college campus or to Fitzgerald park.

They could have been in the Tropics during the recent heat-wave?

Trinette laughs.

“Our sushi and smoothie bowls are going really well. Everyone is enjoying the flavours from the ‘Ring of Fire’.

Do things hot up in the kitchens, with husband and wife running two businesses and working and living together 24/7?

“We bounce off each other very well,” says Trinette.

So, they never throw things at each other when things get hectic?

“Not yet!” says Trinette, laughing.

“And we’re never fed up. We love what we do. I think if you find the right person, everything falls into place pretty well. And everything works well.”

So she fell on her feet landing in Cork in 2008, after travelling 11,849 miles from home?

“I did!” says Trinette “It’s all good.

“Humphrey is brilliant in the kitchen and he is a born cook. He can taste the dish in his head as he is creating it.”

The Corkonian and the Maori from Christchurch have created their own little ring of friends and family on Washington Street.

The ‘Ring of Fire’ is sought out by natives and tourists alike.

“We’re delighted,” says Trinette.

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