ALLISON READ and Luís Serol opened Poppy’s restaurant late last year. O Simplício restaurant was an existing business in Vale d’el Rei, Lagoa, but a new partnership, formed in October 2005, between Allison and Luís, turned it into Poppy’s; a welcoming, relaxing, yet formal restaurant, which caters for every taste, budget and occasion.
Even though the restaurant was up-and-running when the two took over, there was a lot of hard work to be done before Poppy’s could be opened to the public. “We closed between December and February to refurbish. We painted over the green walls, knocked out the bar, built extra storage space and generally gave the building a more relaxed feel,” Allison explained.
Allison has had vast experience working in restaurants, but has never owned one. However, when you enter Poppy’s, you would never believe it. With its soft burgundy colourings, candles and crisp white tablecloths, Poppy’s appearance is as appealing as its menu. “We have an international range of dishes and everything is homemade, from the seafood crêpes to the desserts. There is no pre-made, brought-in products here; it’s fresh as its best,” Allison said.
Looking at the variety of the menu, every palate will leave satisfied. From a seafood crêpe, Caesar salad with fresh Parmesan to start, to Poppy’s excellent range of fillet steaks, lamb dishes, fresh fish, vegetarian and children’s menu, and desserts, Poppy’s really does have it all. “We have two clay ovens, which we prepare our special order dishes in: suckling pig, lobster, fresh crab and my own oven-baked leg of lamb. But customers have to order these 24 hours in advance,” she said. To accompany all dishes, diners can choose from jacket potatoes, sauté potatoes, Mediterranean vegetables or chips.
Poppy’s is not just the name of the restaurant, it is also the theme running through the building. “When we took over, we had to decorate from scratch. We found beautiful paintings of poppies for the walls, poppies for the tables and candles to give a relaxing ambience,” she said. “When the candles are lit, the place looks really stunning in the evening.” And there are even two comfy sofas for diners or drinkers to relax on ….
Having only been open for four months, many businesses would be slowly building up a reputation, but Poppy’s already has one for serving the best steaks in the area. “We have a mix of nationalities who come for meals, and all comment on how good our steaks are. Many diners keep coming back because they can’t find better anywhere else,” Luís said. Poppy’s chef, Lina, creates excellent food, not gourmet, but simple, flavoursome, well-cooked dishes, which are served in an atmospheric, spacious restaurant.
With a two bedroom apartment, attached to the side of the restaurant, currently being renovated into a private function room or winter dining room, an extended terrace or wine cellar, as well as an outside BBQ area for next year, there is so much potential for Poppy’s. It can only go from strength to strength!
Poppy’s is open for dinner, from Monday to Saturday from 6.30pm, and lunches are served throughout the summer from 12pm. The restaurant is child friendly and specials of the day and fish dishes change daily.
• For more information, or to make reservations, call 282 381 374.