Bakery by day, pasta joint by night. As ideas go, it’s a good one. Popham’s won over a legion of fans with their Islington bakery and have now set their sights on Hackney. They’ve taken over the old Raw Duck space on Richmond road, neighbouring Patty & Bun and further along, Lardo. We’ve been meaning to go ever since we clocked their marmite, schlossberger & spring onion patisserie ALL over insta.
It’s a gorgeous modern space that has a lot of character – from the sacks of flour propping up the wall to the open kitchen. We loved our cute little table for two in the window complete with candlelit, Pinterest worthy dried flowers – this is proper date night territory (hell, we’d come back for any occasion). Popham’s wine list is pretty special too – we’d suggest kicking off with a glass of cloudy pet nat before ordering a carafe or two after that.
The pasta menu – which is currently only available Wednesday through to Sunday evenings – is reasonably priced, short and sweet. It’s designed to share – they recommend 3-4 portions of pasta between two (but with only 5 on the menu when we visited, it was hard to leave any behind).
There are only three starters – olives, celeriac carpaccio and bread. But quite frankly, what idiot would come to a bakery-cum-pasta restaurant and not order the sourdough to start? Not us. Popham’s serve theirs with balsamic butter and it’s every bit as heavenly as you might imagine.
We ordered four pastas which arrived in pairs. First up, the n’duja scarpinocc (a bit like a squished ravioli) with broad beans and parsley. It packs a spicy little punch and looks and tastes like it’s been finished with a swirl of hot sauce, which when balanced out with the creamy sauce, really hits the spot. The cappellacci dei briganti is the witches hat pasta served with every colour of Isle of Wight tomatoes they could get their hands on and lovage, which has a celery-like taste you’ll either love or hate.
The friendly staff kindly agreed to serve their taleggio cappelletti (think tortellini) sans hazelnuts so as not to kill Andy, but despite this missing ingredient, it was divine. We can only imagine how wonderful it was with the missing roasted, nutty texture to accompany the macerated grapes. No, we’re not bitter at all. Remind me not to bring him next time. Lastly, we dived into their casonsei (another stuffed pasta, this time with delica pumpkin) doused in a brown butter and sage sauce and topped with shards of pancetta, which if we were being very picky, could have done with a touch more seasoning.
To finish, a pretty bay leaf panna cotta, with brown sugar meringue – which was delightful. But honestly? We were very tempted to just order the rest of the pastas.
Sadly there no marmite pastries leftover on our visit, which just means we’ll have to return pronto.