The Fish & Chips Detective: Poppies Of Spitalfields
Where's the best fish and chip shop in London? Our Fish & Chips Detective tours the capital's chippies armed with an experienced palate...and a trusty weighing balance to discover who gives the best portions. For fish aren't the only ones with scales.
The Fish & Chips detective will be comparing the chippies of London on a number of criteria. To help the comparison, we're going to focus on just one meal: haddock (the king of takeaway fish), chips and mushy peas. If you're more of a fishcake person, or prefer to be slipped a battered sausage, then speak up in the comments with your assessment. All shops will be visited at least twice.
Poppies is a relative newcomer to Hanbury Street. The retro-diner and takeaway opened earlier this year, replacing old-school caff Rossi's. Owner Pat 'Pop' Newland knows his spuds, though. He's been battering sea creatures in the East End for over half a century. This new venture inhabits a curious space somewhere between trendy and traditional, with an eggshell blue interior and glazed tiles. Enter to the left if you want takeaway, to the right if you want to eat in. As well as our mandatory haddock, you can choose from cod, rock, plaice, skate, halibut and two types of sole
What's the food like? (the subjective bit)
- Haddock: All fish are bought from T. Bush of Billingsgate, a wholesalers who get their catch from sustainable sources. The haddock was sumptuous. Wobbly triangles of juicy white flesh were readily forked from their batter cocoon, and the batter itself was golden and crisp.
- Chips: Peeled and chopped on-site, the Maris-Piper chips were chunky and well prepared. Very enjoyable, although we'd hesitate to say exceptional.
- Peas: Comparatively thin in consistency and sweeter than average – we loved them, but they might not be to everyone's taste.
- Service: Wrapped or open? Check. Salt and vinegar? Check. Efficient and business-like. Our order was ready and paid-for in under a minute.
- Packaging: Excellent. The meal was wrapped in historic newspaper (well, a photocopy thereof) and placed inside a box emblazoned with newsprint. The whole package was handed over inside a generous paper brown bag. All recyclable.
What are the portions like? (the objective bit)
- Haddock: £6. 270g (visit 1), 270g (visit 2). That's 2.2p per gram.
- Chips: £1.50. 480g (visit 1), 475g (visit 2). That's 0.3p per gram.
- Peas: £1.50. 185g (visit 1), 185g (visit 2). That's 0.8p per gram.
- Total: £9. 932.5g (mean). That's 1p per gram (after rounding).
A remarkable consistency between our two visits, with both fish and peas weighing-in identically, and chips only 5g out. Things will get more interesting when we get results for other chippies and can start ranking shops based on portion size.
A smart and splendid addition to trendy Spitalfields. Quality food, attractive packaging and efficient service. Subjective score: 8/10.
Poppies can be found at 6-8 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR. Monday - Thursday: 11.00am to 11.00pm. Friday - Saturday: 11.00am to 11.30pm. Sunday: 11.00am to 10.30pm.
Last Updated 06 October 2011