Poplar Cafe, Poplar

What you fucking looking at? We fucking did it, didn’t we? We fucking got Brexit done. And I went for a fucking roast dinner at Poplar Cafe (one syllable) to celebrate. IN POPLAR.

OK I no more make a good Brexiter than I make a good democratic vote loser…or even a good food critic. I shall just revert to remoaner supreme from now on – I hope my Brexit followers can allow me one more blast of remoanerism. Well, maybe I don’t have plural Brexit followers. And that isn’t me saying Brexiters cannot read or anything.

Brexit man with one t-shirt saying, two world wards, one referendudum

I mean, I am commemorating Brexit. I’ve got my tiny cock out and rubbed it all over my life-sized Margaret Thatcher cardboard cut-out (that terribly Brexity person that, erm, created the Single Market). And I spent Thursday and Friday mostly in bed, pretending to have coronavirus so I could help rebalance the economy away from London.

More importantly. I AM HAVING A ROAST DINNER. This is what you’d want me to do, and I am doing it for you. I am doing it for Brexit. I am having a Brexit roast dinner. With my new mate, sat at the bar.

Brexit board with British music like Kylie

Well, I had two newish mates anyway. Joining me for my Brexit commeroration roast. I’ve misspelled commemoration yet I feel that is probably about as appropriate as me having a stinking cold on Brexit Day. Yikes…are my Brexit followers still reading? I mean, you might like the roast dinner…

Not making myself Poplar here…

Of course I had to commemorate Brexit. I mean, you don’t read this blog for culinary insight, surely? You are here for my political commentary. And I needed to bring the experience of Britain’s New Golden Dawn to my most traitorous of toadies. Which could only mean one thing…

A roast dinner in a greasy spoon. And I don’t mean a Wetherspoons with a naked, sweaty Nigel Farage getting a titwank from Ann Widdecombe – an actual caff. Like – plastic-looking chairs, disturbingly vinegary ketchup and Brexit voters. Well, it’s better than eating 50p coins.

Poplar Cafe seating

It took a bit of research – strangely enough there are no lists of “10 best greasy spoons for a roast dinner” on DuckDuckGo (like Google but less data-rapey). And 3 people actually wanted to come with me to experience this.

And I was glad that I had back-up – it was marginally chastening walking into Poplar – a few skinheads with cans of lager in their hand passed by, possibly still on one from Friday night. Not to mention the woman on the tube sat opposite me on the way – reading the Sunday Express. I was in meltdown.

Brexit means Brexit roast

We hadn’t booked a table on their website. They have no website. And you cannot book tables. Yes – we stood out like Brexiters in a vegan artisan cafe in Peckham – except being completely the opposite.

We were greeted at the counter and asked if we wanted breakfast or a roast dinner. I was relieved – there was no evidence of roast dinners on their Instagram account…there was a thought in the back of my mind that my mission could fail. The usual 4 meats were available – beef, chicken, lamb or pork. No gammon. Oh come on – that level of hilarity is what you are here for. Also I didn’t note any vegetarian or vegan options…I guess nobody is bothered. And, no, they don’t really have a fucking Instagram account, you fool.

Poplar Cafe outside

Ask yourself, what would you do if someone took you here for a roast dinner? I assumed the chicken would be even more dry than last week’s, and the beef to be even more dead than a trade deal with the EU will be come October. My options were therefore pork or lamb – the bloke serving us, Fat Terry, recommended lamb, so I went with it.

For £7.50. Yes, £7.50 for a roast dinner. And no service charge. Also, he wasn’t fat. And almost certainly not called Terry.

John Turnbulls, our pleasure to serve you

We sat down, glancing at the latest Brexit excitement on Sky News from the TV in the corner (all the EU’s fault already), trying desperately not to sound too much like condescending liberal remoaners. Well I was…my sister on the other hand not so restrained in her Brexit commentary – same sister who once in a fairly rough pub after a Chelsea vs Hull City football game said to some Chelsea ex-hooligan types, “your fans are shit”. They advised me to leave for the safety of my sister. We did.

Poplar Cafe Sunday roast

Our meals took only a relieving few minutes to arrive.

Brexit means Brexit roast in Poplar Cafe.

The carrots were OK. I actually ate most of them – they were soft, probably steamed and seemed very similar to how my mother makes them. Sorry, mum. Wait – the carrots were OK? This is supposed to represent Brexit? Fuck.

There was also more than sufficient cabbage – which had even more than sufficient water in them. I can only assume that they were still submerged in floodwater near Doncaster before being uprooted (or whatever you do to cabbage) yesterday. Phew – as bad as I hoped for.

You could have had peas too – but I was alert enough to ask for my roast without. This was the kind of place that was always going to have a factory’s worth of peas in the storage area out back – and kudos to me for being alert to this probability.

Poplar Cafe Roast Dinner With Peas

I’m advised that the peas tasted of exactly nothing.

There were 6 or 7 roast potatoes. Probably fried, kind of like deep-fried frozen chips but in roast potato shape – not resembling roast potatoes in the way that the name “roast potatoes” would suggest it is promising you. But I mean, just how many trade deals have we announced since Friday?

You know, I will definitely have worse roast potatoes this year. And the Yorkshire pudding was actually quite good. Ish. Yes, I am using the word “good”.

Totally manufactured in Aunt Bessie style – but better than an Aunt Bessie. Quite soft, if a tad chewy. Freshly made yorkies are far, far better – but this was superior to those yorkies that have spent a week sat under a heatlamp going crispy just to look good for Instagram. Nothing about this roast dinner looks good on Instagram. Unless you are from Doncaster.

Poplar Cafe Roast Dinner

At first I thought the lamb tasted of beef, but that was probably just the gravy talking. It was thinly-sliced, well-done and actually not too bad. Like, don’t go celebrating it as much as the trade deal with The Faroe Islands that we’ve agreed – it wasn’t exactly a culinary delight, but perhaps marginally better than my exceedingly low expectations.

It could be worse

Also the lamb miles better than the beef – which was turgid. Similar to cheap packaged slices from Tesco, but more crap. And an improvement from the exceptionally dry-looking chicken that my accomplice described as “roadkilly”.

Finally, the gravy. And miraculously we didn’t have to ask for any more – there was enough gravy on the plate. BEHOLD! What? We’ve a trade deal with Switzerland too? Well, that’s more than I expected – time to go find a toilet and wank over a picture of Katie Hopkins. Oh yeah, it was quite thick too – and beefy. Kind of similar to the beef gravy granules that you can buy from the pound shop which are like a guilty pleasure to me. You know when you are tired, you’ve had a bad day, you really cannot be arsed to cook yet you need a pint of gravy poured on whatever slop you can be arsed to stick in the oven? That kind of gravy. OK, maybe you just buy some cocaine instead, but I prefer gravy.

I will definitely have worse gravy this year. I will possibly have worse roast dinners.

This was perfectly miserable, yet marginally more sunlit uplands than my Brexpectations, which I hope isn’t a too accurate a metaphor as I want to be proven right about Project Fear.

Nothing was good. I guess the highlight was the gravy – which was at least resembling actual gravy instead of the jus nonsense consistently dribbling its watery self onto my roasts. Sure the gravy was from granules, but I prefer this to burnt jus. Remember – I am northern. Oh and not forgetting the entertainment highlight which was man in a face-mask (for those reading in the future, there is some global panic over a cold) who tried to get through a door which wasn’t a door, then found his way in through the actual door to shout at people that he “didn’t give a shit what people thought”.

Lowlights was everything on the plate – but individually I will experience worse. I will have roast potatoes that are more unpleasant than these fried blocks were. I will have disgustingly burnt yorkies that are worse than what I had at Poplar Cafe. I probably won’t have worse cabbage. Or lamb.

Sadiq is a fan

I do worry that I am being unnecessarily cruel towards what is possibly a popular Poplar institution. I went for a shit roast and had a shit roast – but what else should one expect for £7.50? This is probably a haven for those on low incomes and this could be in danger of me seeming awfully pretentious (a remoaner being pretentious?). Sadiq Khan is apparently a fan of Poplar Cafe. What more credence could you want?

Photograph of Sadiq Khan at Poplar Cafe

He’s good at being in photographs, isn’t he?

You know, if I worked in Canary Wharf, and had the kind of hangover that required a fry-up, then I’d be tempted to give Poplar Cafe a try.

Also, for a greasy spoon, it was actually clean, tidy and relatively welcoming. It was cheap-looking but not grotty in the slightest – I braved the toilets and they were astonishingly clean and modern – no fucking Dyson hand dryer either – I trust my fellow remoaners refuse to dry their hands with Dyson hand dryers.

All that said, I still cannot recommend it for a roast dinner. Unless you’ve only got £7.50, cannot cook and live in Poplar.

I really do want to give it a sabeurtastic score of 51.9% – however it wasn’t that good and I don’t do percentages. My accomplices scored it 2.8, 3 and 3.5. I’m scoring it a 3.85 out of 10 – which is aligned to the percentage that will vote for Brexit in the second referendum. We are having a second referendum, right?

OK, that’s it. No more Brexit on this blog. EVER.

Next Sunday I’m going to pretty much the opposite kind of place to Poplar Cafe. I’m expecting full-on ponceyness and a thimble of gravy…well…jus.

Hmmm, I wonder where I should go for the rejoining roast in a couple of years?

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Summary:

Poplar Cafe, Poplar, East London

Station: Blackwall

Tube Lines: DLR

Fare Zone: Zone 2

Price: £7.50

Rating: 3.85

One response to “Poplar Cafe, Poplar

  1. Loved the post, going to a run of the mill cafe for a roast!
    I was hoping it would be better but like Boris has told us that Lamb has come all the way from New Zealand or Iceland👍

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