For several years, The Tallest Poppy bloomed on North Main. A popular breakfast and lunch spot under the ownership of Talia Syrie, the original location was closed when Ms. Syrie took the opportunity to help start up Come ‘N Eat Cafe at the Neechi Commons. Having seen that enterprise successfully get on it’s feet, she decided to return to operating her own restaurant.
It’s been a few years since I wrote this review. Although I’ve gone a couple of times in the interim, I thought it might be a good idea to do an update. I think it’s good to check up on restaurants every once in a while to see whether or not the food was still as I remembered it.
I hadn’t really eaten during the day, so I started with a soup. The Tallest Poppy makes a great chicken noodle soup, but I wanted to try something new and opted for the soup of the day, which was potato and dill. The soup was rich and flavourful and the shaved green onion on top added a nice, little crunch.
I stayed with the crunchy theme for my main course. I ordered the Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, and Collard Greens. The coating was good and crunchy, and the chicken itself was very moist and tender. The one thing I didn’t get a picture of was the gravy that came with the dish. It was served in it’s own gravy boat, and was absolutely delicious.
For dessert I ordered the Dutch Baby. It came smothered in Saskatoon Berries, and whipped cream. A very satisfying end to the meal.
The homemade lemonade was a good complement to the meal.
While the restaurant is still called The Tallest Poppy, and there are many of the same dishes that are associated with the original, there are some significant changes. First, this time around Ms. Syrie has a partner. His name is Steve Akerman, and in addition to being partner he serves as The Tallest Poppy’s bartender. Second the location has significantly more seating. Third, the hours have expanded to add dinner service to the breakfast and lunch.
I had been to The Tallest Poppy on one occasion at it’s old location on Main Street. I went for brunch and enjoyed the open-faced omelet. Quite simply the best omelet I’ve ever had. I’ve also had the opportunity to enjoy Ms. Syrie’s cooking at the brunches that have been a part of the river pop-up restaurants. This has given me the chance to try several other items on the breakfast menu. Each has been fantastic.
The new location of The Tallest Poppy is in the Sherbrook Inn. The Sherbrook Inn is a building with a past, one that according to a popular Winnipeg blogger is generally speaking, undeserved. While there are other things that need to be done to improve it’s reputation the addition of The Tallest Poppy is a big step in the right direction.
One of the things that I really like about the new location, is that when you walk in you get the feeling that the restaurant fits with the hotel. The Sherbrook Inn dates back to the early 60s in Winnipeg, and the tables and chairs in The Tallest Poppy fit comfortably into that era as well.
While new to this location, the restaurant is fast becoming a destination. If you are not a fan of line-ups you might want to try going during off peak hours. Although, with The Tallest Poppy’s popularity, it may still be packed.
One of the layout features I like is the bar, which is situated in the back of the restaurant. There are three seats at the bar, and you can order food and have it served to you there. As a single diner, this makes a little easier to find a seat. Also, if you sit at the bar you’ll get the opportunity to enjoy a conversation with Mr. Akerman.
Dining at The Tallest Poppy
My first visit to the new location was for breakfast, and I had the Poppy Breakfast(pictured above). This is your typical, meat, eggs, and potatoes breakfast. I enjoyed the bright yellow, flavourful eggs, and the fact that the potatoes were cooked but still firm. The Fergasa bread, in place of the usual white, brown or rye, makes a great, light addition to the meal.
When I went again I ordered lunch. I had the Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls. Along with the soup I ordered a Beef Brisket Sandwich. The brisket was melt in your mouth delicious, while the Fergasa bread that it was served on was light enough to prevent the sandwich from becoming heavy. Although not heavy it was quite filling. I like The Tallest Poppy’s practice of serving potato chips instead of French Fries with the sandwiches. It reminds me more of lunches when I was child.
Rather than a pile of little pieces of chicken, the soup contained a couple of large chunks of chicken to be pulled apart as you ate. The broth is rich, and has a judicious mix of salt and other seasonings. The soup alone makes a nice, light lunch. The sandwich alone makes for a reasonably substantial lunch. Together, they filled me up quite full.
Fortunately, I wasn’t being rushed as I ate my lunch. Sitting at the bar I had plenty of opportunity to chat with Mr. Akerman about his roots, the beverages and the restaurant. The best part of the conversation was learning how The Tallest Poppy for him is an extension of the his connection and love for the community. Over the many years he has lived in the area Mr. Akerman has clearly seen the good, bad and the ugly of the neighbourhood, but because of his love for the neighbourhood he has committed himself to this venture.
As the South end of Sherbrook Street continues to be revitalized, The Tallest Poppy is one more great addition. I didn’t try the dinner menu. However, from the other food I have eaten, I feel safe in saying this is a great place any time of day. Well done, Talia & Steve.