We’ve been a huge fan of Pophams Bakery for a couple of years now, the experimental viennoiserie that first opened in a derelict chemist on Prebend Street. In the last two-months Pophams has had a huge surge of popularity, due to their two new openings: their larger Richmond Road site and the bakery counter in the new Arcade Food Hall on Tottenham Court Road. With each location radiating its own atmosphere and serving site-exclusive pastries, there is great enticement to pastry-crawl them all. Therefore, when we heard Pophams were working on a small plates dinner service in Hackney we were so intrigued we made a booking as quick as we could.
The new site on Richmond Road, sits alongside Patty & Bun and Lardo, replacing the space previously owned by Raw Duck. Walking into the new Pophams building, the similarity to its previous layout has been maintained; the large concrete counter, which once housed a back bar, now serves as a huge open kitchen with a new oak counter top and Tala pendants that cinematically frame the view to the kitchen.
To the left of the space sits a beautiful Kanna finished oak coffee counter, adorned with an assortment of pastries, behind against the window sits oak shelving filled with beautiful ceramics from Lazy Eye and Jessica Joslin.
Walnut plywood sharing tables and benches fill the main dining area and a small number of bars stools sit against the kitchen counter, providing an exclusive view into the kitchen. The site is naturally dark due to the sheltered position of the street and from retaining the sites original concrete ceiling and wall finishes.
However, through the use of timber and an injection of colour -via the blue encaustic tiles, statement walls and flowers- the space is full of warmth and life. The space has a minimal transition from day to night, the casual and relaxed cafe atmosphere spills into the evening, when candles are dotted around the tables to create a cosier ambience. The tables are continually set minimally with indigo linen napkins, pulegoso style glass tumblers and walnut menu boards.
The waiting staff explain that we should consider ordering a couple of plates to share, which we do, ordering an assortment of starters and pasta dishes. All of the dishes are artfully presented, the neutral ceramic plates and bowls creating the perfect backdrop for some of the brightly coloured dishes that arrive.
A couple of standout examples were the pickled vegetable salad, Bagna cauda, and the Tagleggio Cappelletti, their presentation and taste were faultless.
Having visited Pophams a number of times during the day for their coffee and pastry offerings, it was exceptionally interesting to see how the dinner service would compare.
It turns out that their transition from day to night is seamless and their pasta offering meets the high standard of their pastries.
The relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the evening service is incredibly compelling - we would definitely be back again without a doubt.