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Great meal in SE16 restaurant

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Friday 15 December 2006 10.06am
I wondered why I couldn't find reference to this place on here.....until I found it was in SE16. However it's only just in SE16, and it's very nice, so I hope nobody minds me telling you about a lovely meal we had last night.


Went to Poppy Hana (Japanese restaurant in the block of shops outside Bermondsey tube station) yesterday evening with Mrs I, and had a thoroughly pleasant meal with charming service at a very good price.

The menu has a wider than usual range of Japanese food. Most Japanese places I've been to specialise in only two or three types of dish, whereas the first thing I noticed about the Poppy Hana menu was the variety. Interested to see whether they could carry it off, I took an uncharacteristic lead in ordering and tried to make sure we got across as much of the menu as possible.

We started with takoyaki (sort of mini batter snacks filled with octopus, onion and other tasty things and topped with dried fish flakes. It's Osakan street food that I'd read about, but not seen, in Japan, let alone outside Bermondsey tube station. They taste a lot nicer than my inept description.) We also shared an order of silky squid sushi, and some excellent mixed tempura served piping hot with fantastically crispy batter.

Being curious, and hungry, we'd also ordered something to follow. I had one of my staple Japanese favourites, grilled eel on rice, and Mrs I had their “fusion miso ramen”. Eel was good. Not the very best I've had, but perfectly good and excellent value for the price (eel is expensive). The “fusion ramen” was possibly the star of the show. An enormous bowl (think of a big bowl for noodles, then think of something even bigger) of noodles, pieces of hard-boiled egg, onions, large pieces of chicken, and other goodies that I couldn't see, all swimming in a spicy, meaty, soup. I think the “fusion” label referred to the fact that it had much more chilli than any Japanese food I'd ever had, but whatever it meant, it was delicious.

Our eyes (and really it was my curiosity) were bigger than our stomachs, and sadly Mrs I couldn't finish all of the monster ramen, but even with such liberal ordering the bill only came to 35, including a beer, a small flask of hot sake, and a half bottle of cold sake. The excellent value and the smiling and attentive service meant that it was one of those times when you were positively straining to leave a good-sized tip.

The restaurant itself is two rooms (smoking/non-smoking) joined by a big open arch, with smart black tables and chairs, poppy murals on the walls and poppies on the tables. An unobtrusive but pleasant-sounding woman was singing jazz standards on the stereo somewhere in the background, and I blame her for me coming home singing the same snatches of “Embraceable you” over and over again: the only disturbing part of a really pleasant evening.

...if you press it, they will come.
Friday 15 December 2006 10.20am
Great description Mr Gill, I mean Ivanhoe. I am getting hungry just after breakfast.

On that review alone, I am on my way.
Tuesday 19 December 2006 5.45pm
I had a great meal at Poppy Hana on Saturday night - a huge amount of food and the bill was less than 30. The staff are charming and the atmosphere is just right (smart, contemporary, but not at all stuffy). Highly recommended.

Sunday 25 February 2007 1.22pm
Went along to Poppy Hana last night. Very impressed, and I wasnt expecting too much as had been to restaurant when it was Poppy's (sans Hana) several months earlier.

Very good food, with what seemed to be quality ingredients, good size portions and very good value (something I'm not used too!).

Handy being right next to the tube station as well so you can roll away home....

On a different note, anyone aware of what is happening (or happened!) to the Mystery of spice on jamaica road?
Sunday 25 February 2007 4.50pm
Re. Mystery of Spice - there were two fires there in October:

Not sure what the latest is though.

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Sunday 4 March 2007 12.22pm
The "Mystery of Spice" sign has been removed and a large silver roller-door covering the entire shop has been installed.
Monday 5 March 2007 4.54pm
TWO fires, means someone wanted it set on fire. Either the "boys" calling in a debt, or the owners needing the insurance. The former sounds most likely.
Monday 5 March 2007 9.34pm
Ivanhoe - is takoyaki the same as okonomiyaki (sic) where they make a sort of omelette in front of you and then cover it in the bonito flakes?

Also how rough is the parade of shops? I hate eating a lovely genteel meal and then having to put on one's hard image for the waddle home - when all you want to do is smile beatifically at everyone...
Tuesday 6 March 2007 12.09pm
Takoyaki is bits of octopus (tako), inside little batter-type balls, served with shavings of dried tuna and a brown sauce.

I've not made it sound too appetising, I realise, but I loved it.

I've never had okonomiyaki, but it's on my list. I know there's a place near the British Museum that's an okonomiyaki specialist but I've never been (yet).

The parade of shops is no rougher or less rough than any other in the area. Nothing to be afraid of imho (and I'm not particularly tough or fearless).

Hope that helps.

...if you press it, they will come.
Wednesday 7 March 2007 12.00pm
Can anyone please give me the telephone number for Poppy Hana as I would like to make a reservation.
Many Thanks
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