POPPIES: JEELIED EELS, JELLIED EELS WOBBLING ABOUT LIKE WONKY WHEELS
Jellied Eels? Not bleedin’ likely guv. I think it was probably being force fed them by my grandparents whilst on holiday in Bournemouth that led me to think of them as the Devil’s spawn. HS loves them so go, as they say, figure.
If you really want to try them (and I strongly suggest you don’t) you can get them from Tubby Issacs seafood stall on Petticoat Lane but they also have them at Poppies Fish and Chips a brand, spanking new chippy just opposite Spitalfields Market.
I haven’t had any Fish and Chips for ages and to be honest I hadn’t missed eating them. If you’re going to pig-out on carbs then you might as well do it on carbs of decent quality and there hadn’t been any new openings of note. I also wanted somewhere close by so Poppies suited the bill.
The first shock is how bright the place is. Combine that with an interior decorated like a Piccadilly Circus souvenir shop and 50’s hits playing on the PA and it would be inadvisable to visit with a hangover or like I did, feeling slightly under the weather.
Still it didn’t seem to put off the punters: Shoreditch hipsters with stupid haircuts and skinny jeans queuing for takeaway; groups of lads lining their stomachs before a few pints; Japanese tourists admiring the Formica tables. And me, of course.
Food was a bit of a mixed bag. Despite all the shiny, modern exterior it’s still a bog-standard London chippy at heart which means the scoff churned out is ok if not quite delivering F&C nirvana.
The fryers had made a decent fist of cooking some Whitebait. The little fish had been given quite a light coating of flour before frying so you could actually taste the fish as oppose to the oil. Perhaps they could have been a tad more crisp but it was marginal and at £3.95 a painless way to start a meal.
The Fish and Chips themselves weren’t so great. A thin fillet of Haddock was soft and was enveloped by limp batter that hadn’t really bubbled up in the prescribed manner. Chips were of the pale and uninteresting variety and also could have done with a bit of crisping up.
Homemade tartare sauce was mayonnaise-heavy and needed more chopped up gherkins or something similar to give it texture. Mushy Peas – also homemade - were slightly bizarre - more like a Pea Soup (a nod to London in the 50’s perhaps?). The taste was too pea-like and the last thing mushy peas should taste like are peas. I don’t know why places in the South bother, I really don’t.
So not the best Fish and Chips you can get in the capital – although I haven’t been for a while I suspect Masters Superfish still holds that crown – but at least they had the virtue of not tasting oily and craving the carbs I did finish the lot, but felt slightly grubby afterwards: full of regret and self-loathing (as us svelte Metropolitan types are wont to do after a binge).
One for the tourists.