Poppies, Fish & Chips - Restaurant Review -

Pop and the Popettes at Poppies
There is a fashion for everything, including words which appear and disappear, even sometimes reinventing themselves. "Iconic" was resurrected a couple of years ago, since then one can't read an article without bumping into an iconic something or another. As if we lived in perpetual search of godlike figureheads.

Problem is that when you real meet an icon which word do you use so that people recoil in horror or worse shut down completely. And what if you meet an icon who prepares an iconic dish. Then, you are in trouble of biblical proportion.
Look at this picture and tell me that the dish doesn't qualify as iconic. Cod 'n Chips prepared and served the Poppies' way. And that is the best Fish & Chips in the UK. I know you are thinking "euuh! she is making it up again!" sorry to disappoint, I am not.

I mean, I am not the only one who says so, Poppies has been named Best Independent Fish and Chips Restaurant 2014 in the UK at the National Fish and Chip Awards organised by Seafish UK.
I asked Pat Newland known as (Pop) what difference did the award make?
"January and February are usually slow. Don't take me wrong," Pop says "we are doing well. But after Christmas, there is always a low. Not this year. Since the award, business has been doing really well."
True enough when Pebble Soup team walked in, Poppies was full. The first thing I noticed was the lack of greasy smell. Poppies smells fresh. It's a place which invites the customers in. Besides the 1950's theme, there is a noticeable attention to details and the ventilation is one among many.
Here, none of that wooden cutlery, "proper" knifes and forks on formica tables and take-aways are wrapped in newspapers' replica from between 1945 and 1945.
That's Pop's gentle wink to the time when he started to work at his dad's shop age 11. Then he was in charge of cutting the newspapers to "take-away size".
Nowadays the papers are ordered especially at great expense but that is the kind of thing that Pop will do to make his vision complete.
I got the feeling that nothing was a gimmick, Pat Newland genuinely wants us to experience how it was done in the East-End, way back then when fish & chips was "the fuel that powered the people."
The East-End and the clientele have changed but not the recipe which is still the original. I can't help asking Pop about the international fish current situation. He replies, "there is a lot of politics around the fish industry, down on the ground the main concern is to get the best fresh fish which means a supplier you trust."

"our sustainably caught fish originates from Peterhead Fisheries and is delivered daily by T.Bush, a third generation family business at Billingsgate Market. We only buy fish of the finest quality which is prepared on the premises by our on site fishmonger."
The difference is plain to the taste, fresh is the operative word. Personally, I think the world of frozen fish however fresh fish taste different. But what about the potatoes?
"Maris Piper" of course, Pop explains that they are the best for frying. They keep their consistency at high temperature. But we've all had our potato troubles, one batch is good and if you are lucky enough to remember their name, you get them again and bang, the quality is different.
Pop explains his cunning plan to always get the best potatoes, "Every week, I get 100+ bags, we test a sample on arrival." But that can't be it. There is more, so, I asked, "what if..." and with that smile that make the world around him melt, he replies, "Turn round...discreetly....you see that door, it leads to the basement. When they deliver the bags, every week, they bring them down the stairs. All the way down, and if the potatoes are no good, I ask them to take the bags back... up....every single bag. I never have any problem, the potatoes are always good." 

Now I could go on telling you about the Popettes and the importance of the team working at Poppies, because without them, the vision would remain a vision but I'd rather you'd be won over "for real". So next time you are in the East End of London, look out for the best independent Fish & Chips in the UK - An icon.

6-8 Hanbury Street
London -Spitafield-
E1 6QR

Open from 11am till 11pm
For details and  more information about Poppies Story, drop by their website

Disclaimer: my thanks to Pat Newman for the interview and for the fish 'n chips.

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