Friday, 24 June 2011

Poppies (Spitafields) Fish & Chips review - rifles, jukebox, CRT TV and oh, fish & chips too


Address: 6 - 8 Hanbury Street,
London E1 6QR
Tel: 020 7247 0892
Nearest Tube station: Shoreditch High Street

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: Below £20pp
Service charge: N/A
Taste: ****
Service: ****
Ambience: ****
We first came across Poppies Fish & Chips (Spitalfields) while dining at Sichuan Folk, which is just a couple of doors down along Hanbury Street. Actually, we saw the Poppies' distinctive takeaway wrapper. Imagine Selfridges' yellow bag, you can spot one a mile away. Poppies doesn't use the run of the mill white oil soaker. Instead, its uses newspaper, or what looks like it, as wrappers. That, and its cheerfully lit interior is a crowd puller.

We were at Brick Lane a couple of weeks later and decided to check out whether the fish and chips at Poppies is as good as the shop looks.

In many aspects, Poppies reminded me of an American diner in Covent Garden, which name I could no longer recall. "You mean 'fries'," he replied with a noticeable drawl when I asked for chips. That diner also came with a menu that has an entire section dedicated to sodas and sundaes.


You can't miss the huge jukebox tucked in a corner at Poppies. I was somewhat disappointed to find out that it didn't work as I was fully prepared to empty all my change for cheesy tunes. Perched high up on a wall is an assortment of eclectic props - including an analog radio, CRT TV, an accordion and even a Nestle chocolate vending machine - not working in case you are wondering.

There is even a smaller dining area towards the back of the restaurant if you fancy some privacy; vintage advert posters and photos of old London adorn the walls.


We went for the haddock and chips (£9.50). Always haddock instead of cod as I find the former's firmer texture more agreeable. Poppies' haddock cooked in groundnut oil was fresh and light to the palate - a rarity for a relatively heavy dish. I wish I could say the same for its chips though for they were limped and almost tasted sad. The homemade tartar sauce was the saving grace. Unlike those arrived from the factory, the homemade variety is always subtle yet creamy.


The plate used for calamari rings (£4.95) did the side dish in (the photo above was taken the moment it was served, untouched). It looked like what was served in army barracks by cooks with tattooed arms thicker than their necks. Presentation aside, the calamari was battered nicely an retained its chewiness.

You can be forgiven for thinking that Poppies' main money revenue stream is its tea. At £1.50 per cup, it was the smallest cup of tea that I have seen the whole of London. And nope, it doesn't come with teabags and is non-refillable. That said, the staff quickly offered to refill it when we expressed our surprise.

Unless I am mistaken, I don't think there's a decent chippy near Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market. Poppies, with its clean layout, friendly staff and prominent location is set to be pulling in crowds. But be prepared to pay a bit more for your fish and chips. And oh, they call it chips, not fries.

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