First, lets talk about ambiance:
- Poppie’s has TINY, tables crammed together, little room for the patrons and waiters to walk around, and almost no room for people to stand inside and wait for a table. There was a retractable barrier in place to keep people from walking into the dining area which I think was totally tacky. We felt cramped and uncomfortable even when seated, which personally, is not a good way for your patrons to feel. The decor was dingy nautical mixed with nostalgic 50’s diner. Weird way to describe it, but there ya go.
- Rock and Sole was also small but much more space between tables, no silly barrier and enough space to stand and wait for a table, but I wouldn’t say there was plenty of space. We didnt feel like we were suffocating here and the restaurant was full. The decor was almost non-existent but being a simple restaurant I’m ok with that.
Round 1 goes to Rock and Sole
- Poppie’s waitresses were all female and pretty ditsy. I don’t want to give the impression that those 2 things go together, but each waitress (we had at least 3) that came by was completely confused when we would ask for something. I was very surprised we even got our order they were that confused. Service was fast, but definitely at the cost of quality. I had to pretty much beg for more water, don’t even think about asking for more ketchup. Overall I felt like an inconvenience to the waitresses, and I was a paying customer.
- Rock and Sole had only 1 waiter and he was quick. While not the most attentive, I always had water and Joe a coke. Our food came out quickly and while the waiter wasn’t super friendly or anything if we asked for anything he was quick to bring up what we needed.
Round 2 goes to Rock and Sole
(Rock and Sole)
Ok that’s all well and good but what about the FOOD:
- Poppie’s I ordered the regular cod fish and chips. The fish was hot and the outside crust crispy but I felt the fish was flavorless and a little dry. I added lemon and malted vinegar which helped, dipped the fish in the sad bottled tartar sauce but I was still wishing for more flavor. The chips were good, not mushy but not crispy either. The tiny room service ketchup bottle wasn’t nearly enough but like I mentioned above don’t even ask for more. Joe got the haddock and his fish had even less flavor. We both wanted the large portion but were told they were out. Overall we left full but were not impressed. Our bill was about 35 pounds before tip (this was the only place where it was not included)
- Rock and Sole we both ordered the same cod for me and haddock for Joe. This time we were able to get the large portion and they did not disappoint. When the fish came out it was pipping hot and had a very crispy shell. The tartar sauce provided was a generous portion and there was a full size bottle of ketchup at the table so we weren’t worried about running out. The cod here was better than Poppie’s but still lacked in flavor, however this fish was tender and juicy. I again added lemon juice and malted vinegar with the tartar sauce. I enjoyed this fish much more but don’t understand why its not as flavorful as other fried fish I have had in the US. Joe said his haddock was much better than Poppie’s but I didn’t try his this time. The chips here were very similar to Poppie’s, not crispy but not soggy either. With getting the large fish I ended up not finished all the chips because I was stuffed! Our bill was about 35 pounds (larger portion and tip included)
Round 3 goes to Rock and Sole. Not only did they have the better fish but they also had the better price.
Overall: The clear winner was Rock and Sole. With the better tasting fish, lower price point and better waiters there was only one choice here. If you are in London and want a classic dish that’s not some nasty pea thing, check out Rock and Sole Fish Plaice. You can thank me later.
CHIME IN!!! Do you like fish and chips? Ever had them in London? Do you order the same thing at different restaurants and compare?