Poppies, Camden - Review

Cat Byers |

Poppies Spitalfields 2

When it comes to decadent dining, we're spoilt for choice in London with thousands of restaurants, over 50 Michelin stars and every possible type of cuisine you could crave.

But sometimes, nothing will hit the spot quite like an old-fashioned plate of battered fish, proper chips and mushy peas. Despite the array of establishments serving this dish, it can feel nearly impossible to find the right balance between tradition and culinary fads (truffle mayo, I'm looking at you) and quality over quantity (no food poisoning please). Fortunately, in a sea of haute gastropubs and dodgy diners, Poppies quietly emerges as an fail-safe spot for fish n' chips in the capital. 978Poppies Following their successful restaurant in Spitalfields, Poppies opened a second branch in Camden in early 2013. Decked out in retro style with formica tables, mismatched memorabilia and costumed staff, it veers slightly into parody territory, but is saved by the no-nonsense service, quality food and lively atmosphere. When we visited on a Friday evening the place was packed out with groups of friends enjoying food, wine and live music from a cover band playing folk songs. Ignoring the trend to add a gourmet twist to the menu, Poppies serves a short, concise menu of old-school caff classics - fish suppers, scampi, chicken and pies, with jellied eels, whitebait and calamari to start. We started with the calamari, which arrived scorching hot and straight out of the oven, but while the portion was generous it could have done with more seasoning. 894Poppies The Peterhead haddock (sourced from Billingsgate Market) in the fish supper was much better - flaky and flavoursome in crunchy batter, served with chunky chips (gravy optional for Northerners)  and doorstop-sized wedges of bread covered in butter. The tartar sauce was as thick and piquant as it should be, while the side portion of peas was gloriously mushy. If you can still manage a dessert after the huge portions, the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream was particularly good and we left completely stuffed. Poppies Spitalfields 6 With bottles of wine starting at £14.90 and fish suppers for just £11.90, we can see why it was named 'Best Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year 2014' - you'd struggle to find better traditional seaside fare for this price anywhere else in London. When the craving hits, you know where to find us.

Food: 4/5 Venue: 3.5/5 Cuisine: British Meal for Two: £30 (excluding drinks) Wine: From £3.30/glass

Poppies, 30 Hawley Crescent, London NW1 8NP
020 7267 0440 www.poppiesfishandchips.co.uk

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