Poppies’ pick and mix assortment of shiny British kitsch – including a jukebox, mini red telephone box and a monochrome photo of heart-throb Cliff Richard – makes it look like a simulation of a fish and chip shop. But the food on the plate is not your standard chippy fare; the Billingsgate-sourced fish is so fresh that diners are offered the option of having it grilled as well as fried. Extending beyond the staples of cod and haddock, the menu encompasses mackerel, seafood platters and jellied eels.
Lemon sole is simple, crisply battered and matched well with Meantime London ale, and the chips are irresistible. Takeaway orders in faux-newspaper wraps are doled out by waitresses in diner-style outfits complete with retro headscarves. Service is friendly and unforced. There’s a gleamingly clean feel to the place (powder-blue Formica tables and all) that draws in everyone from neighbourhood hipsters to grandads with little ’uns on their knees.
The bill, however, gives the game away – Poppies is a cut above. It’s spawned a second branch in Camden: not suprising, since this is as good as fish and chips gets.