POPPIES

There’s something irresistible about good fish and chips. What is it about that maddening waft when someone brushes past with a steaming bouquet? My death row meal would definitely feature whisper crisp chips, slathered in Sarsons and a big hunk of freshly battered piscine protein… So imagine my delight when I heard that Poppies had sprung up at the end of Hanbury Street, just next door to Rosa’s.

The fish is all sustainably caught and fried in groundnut oil.

The decor is uber-retro.

The waitresses are decked out in 50’s style uniforms and there’s even a 6 foot juke box.

It’s clear that a lorra love has gone into this.

The menu is brilliant. They’ve got all the usuals, plus delights like  free range chicken, home made fish cakes, home made mushy peas, whitebait and hand peeled prawn cocktail.

There are knickerbocker glories and sticky toffee pud for dessert and you even get pontefract cakes with the bill. I’m not sure it’s possible to get any more old school than pontefract cakes.

We shared a crunchy little plate of whitebait to start which I washed down with a can of cream soda (cream soda!) All in all, some pretty delicious details.

And yet, to my genuine surprise there was just nothing that special about the fish and chips, which after all is what we were there for. I’ve definitely had better (and on one occasion much worse) at the far less fashionable Happy Days in Goulston Street. The halibut was the same price as HD but half the size. And it might have been from more ethical stock, but the flesh refused to flake with quite the same ease. The batter on my sustainable cod lacked seasoning and our mushy peas never actually materialised (apart from on the bill)…

Also the seats were a bit cramped together – which is fine if your neighbours are affable types. But when your neighbours are a trio of  braying ironic flat cap wearers, mouthing raucously off  about how they’re there to review for some daily rag,  it’s never going to make for the best of scenarios (I could have sworn that one of them dropped his copy of Zoo on the way out…)

Our final bill came to just over £31 (which isn’t that far off what we spend on our weekly food bill) so this is definitely a one off treat place if you’re as brassic as I am. The pricing is all a bit random, with a saveloy setting you back by £4.50, a steak pie at £5.50, Heinz beans at £2 and dover sole at £14.50.

Hopefully these are all teething  issues  as it had literally only just opened up today.  I’m sure given a bit of time it’ll bloom into a rip roaring success.

Poppies Fish & Chips

6-8 Hanbury Street

E1 6QR

020 7247 0892

poppiesfishandchips.co.uk

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14 comments

  1. Gavin

    Yep, have to agree about the F’n’C, not great. Masters Superfish still the best around. Shame it’s a bit of a schlep to Waterloo.

  2. Oh so yum!
    Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Shame it wasn’t as good as it looks…

    • gastrogeek

      I know! I was genuinely surprised as so much thought had gone into everything else…hopefully it was just first day glitches.

  5. You had me at knickerbocker glory and pontefracts..

  6. mark

    I’m gonna give this a go when i feel a little more flush. Definitely worth a trip to the chippy on Strutton Ground if you ever get chance – The Laughing Halibut. Avoid Friday lunch though unless you don’t mind a 20 minute queue.

    • gastrogeek

      Yep, been there before – used to pop in occasionally when I worked at C4 back in the day – glad to hear it’s still a safe bet

  7. Fabbage. Loving the jukebox and 50s details – you up for a return visit?

  8. gastrogeek

    :-)You’d love it in there Salty! Maybe once this month’s out of the way?

  9. Ahab

    I gave this place a couple of chances. Firstly a solo dining experience to test the waters. I found the staff to be quite rude and was not best pleased to be placed in a table facing the wall at the very back of the restaurant where there was some sort of staff meeting going on. The grilled skate i had was well seasoned and cooked but the portion was very small for the price.
    The second occasion was a for takeaway, again i felt the staff were abrupt to the point of rudeness. The conversation went a bit like “I’ll have the rock, chips and a gherkin please” “the cod and chips?” “No, the rock and chips…and a gherkin” “the cod and chips?” “Um, no the ROCK and chips” “We don’t have any rock” hmm “ok the cod and chips then” “anything else?” “um the gherkin…” Taking an order for fish and chips is not exactly rocket science. And as a rule I generally don’t eat cod as its practically extinct. The fish was ok – a bit thin slightly fishy but with a decent batter. The chips were awful undercooked and slimy with a strange flavour possibly from the oil which I could not put my finger on. I don’t think I will ever go back and certainly won’t be recommending it to anyone I know. For seafood Fish Central on Central Street between Angel and Old Street beats Poppies hands down on all counts from service to value for money, to freshness. Go there instead you will be a much happier bunny.

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