A staple part of the diet of the working class in the 18th and 19th centuries, pie and mash is a native London meal. Traditionally served with a parsley sauce and accompanied by jellied eels (because in those days the River Thames was so dirty that eels were one of the few creatures that could live in it), this beef pie and creamed spuds combo has survived for hundreds of years. While far from as common as they once were, pie and mash shops can still be found in London; you just need to know where to look.
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The oldest surviving pie and mash shop in London, Manze’s (manze.co.uk) is a veritable culinary institution. The original was established in 1902 by the present owner’s grandfather. Using the same recipes as in those days – just tweaked to meet food standard regulations – Manze’s serve stewed and jellied eels as well as their popular pies. Customers can sit in or take-away from one of their three shops, with two in London and one on the outskirts.
In the heart of East London, the G. Kelly Pie and Mash Shop (gkellypieandmash.co.uk) was established in 1937, and is featured in "Time Out's" guide to the best pie and mash shops in the capital. With no concession to modern culinary trends, it serves a limited menu of traditional pie, mash and eel. Replete with décor dating to the pre-Second World War era, a trip to G. Kelly’s is like a step back in time.
Moving across town to the western district of Shepherd’s Bush, A. Cooke’s (cookespieandmash.com) sits on the Goldhawk Road just south of Shepherd’s Bush Market – during the hours of which the shop gets very busy. Noted for its appearance in classic British mod film "Quadrophenia", and in its current location from 1934, it serves large portions of minced beef and gravy pies, with mashed potato made from scratch fill up lunch-time visitors (the shop is only open from 10am to 4pm), including the Queen's Park Rangers fans on their way to the football.
Battersea Pie Station
A newer addition to the pie and mash shop eating scene, the Battersea Pie Station (batterseapiestation.co.uk) -- highlighted by the Daily Mail's food critic as worthy of comparison with the old guard -- offers traditional beef pies as well as more modern twists on the dish, such as squash and goat’s cheese. Situated in the heart of Covent Garden, London’s theatre district, it provides a filling meal for those attending even the longest of plays.
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