Pie & Mash is a truly classic British dish, especially popular in England, and more so London. East London to be even more specific. This is purely because of tradition, and because it tastes great, obviously.
If you’re new to traditional British grub, or not so familiar with famous London food, you’ll be glad to know that you’re about to learn all about one of the ultimate classics in Pie & Mash.
What Is London Pie & Mash?
So popular that there’s even a Pie & Mash Club, the traditional Cockney dish that is Pie & Mash consists of a scrumptious meat and gravy filled pastry, accompanied by a good helping of mashed potatoes.
(East) London pie and mash differs from the pie and mash typically eaten across the rest of Britain, in that it tends to be more humble in appearance and taste (yet just as de-lish), and is traditionally smothered in parsley liquor rather than gravy.
Pie and Mash from London’s East End is a dish that goes back hundreds of years. Originally, the pie filling was actually eels rather than beef, caught from the River Thames. Over time, eels became more and more expensive and the pies started being filled with meat instead.
These days, jellied eels are still often eaten alongside a classic Cockney pie and mash, whereas vegetables are typically served where pie and mash is listed on a typical British pub menu.
Although you can now find high-end (‘posh nosh’) versions of Pie and Mash with all sorts of fillings in Britain’s best gastropubs, the traditional London dish was a proper humble, working-class meal, with a simple filling of minced onions and minced beef.
What To Eat With Pie & Mash?
It’s most traditional to eat a classic London pie and mash with jellied eels, parsley liquor, and a sprinkling of table salt and white pepper. Malt vinegar or chilli vinegar are also great additions. At least, this is what is usually served with pie and mash in East London.
Pie and Mash Liquor (Sauce)
If you’re wondering what liquor is in pie and mash, then you’ve either got a drink problem, or you’re perhaps just not offay with weird and wonderful British food traditions.
As Britannica kindly point out, the liquor served with pie and mash contains no alcohol.
Cockney liquor is actually just a parsley sauce with a distinctive green colour, originally made from the liquid (stock) in which the eels for the pie filling was cooked.
What Makes The Best Pie & Mash?
Aside from quality ingredients and being made with sheer love, the best traditional pie and mash is made as follows:
The pastry – a flaky pastry for the lid and a suet pastry for the bottom of the pie. The flaky pastry should be, erm, well, flaky. But also golden, light and crispy. The suet pastry should feel buttery and have a nice wetness to it when sat it the liquor (as opposed to a horrible wetness!)
The filling – minced beef and onion. Although more modern fillings include steak & kidney or chicken & mushroom.
The mash – needs to be smooth, buttery, and well seasoned. The odd lump doesn’t hurt and keeps it authentic.
The liquor – should be flavourful and have a distinctive green colour, ideally made with fresh parsley.
Where To Eat The Best Pie & Mash
What were once upon a time called ‘Eel Pie Houses,’ are today known as Pie and Mash shops. The most traditional and best of these are naturally in East London, closely followed by the nearby county of Essex.
You’ll find Pie and Mash shops across Britain, but the ones in London’s East End are the places to go for a truly quintessential British food experience.
The very best Pie and Mash shops still have traditional Victorian style decor, most importantly, white and green wall tiles and green seating, almost resembling the colour of the parsley liquor.
The Best Pie and Mash Shops in London
These are widely considered to be the best places to eat traditional Pie and Mash:
87 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 4TW
105 High Street, Peckham, SE15 5RS
226 High Street, Sutton, SM1 1NT
7 & 9 Westmoreland Road, Walworth, SE17 2AX
Robins Pie and Mash
50 Station Road, Chingford, E4 7BE
14 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2AJ
526 Roman Road, E3 5ES
414 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0DJ
Eastenders Pie & Mash
171 East India Dock Road, Poplar, E14 0EA
9 Broadway Market, E8 4PH
150 Hoxton Street, N1 6SH
Maureen’s Pie n Mash
6 Market Square, Poplar, E14 6AH
Goddards at Greenwich
22 King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9HU
Noted Eel and Pie House
481a High Road Leytonstone, E11 4JU
76 High Street, Walthamstow, E17 7LD
BJ’s Pie & Mash
330 Barking Road, Plaistow, E13 8HL
229 Royal College Street, NW1 9LT
3 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX
209-211 Holloway Rd, N7 8DL
26 Ganton Street, W1F 7QZ
Cockney’s Pie and Mash
314 Portobello Road, W10 5RU
Battersea Pie Station
Lower Ground Floor, 28 The Market, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RE
17 – 19 Regency Street, SW1P 4BY
2 Putney High Street, SW15 1SL
3 Selkirk Road, Tooting, SW17 0ER
Cockneys of Croydon
51 Frith Road, Croydon, CR0 1TB
The Best Pie and Mash Shops in Essex
67A Farnham Road, Romford, RM3 8ED
Robins Pie and Mash
65 – 67 Market Square, Basildon, SS14 1DE
9 – 11 Quadrant Arcade, Romford, RM1 3ED
Stacey’s Pie & Mash
221 Timberlog Lane, Basildon, SS14 1PB
Al’s Pie and Mash
100 High Street, Hornchurch, RM12 4UH
The Heath Pie Shop
696 Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, RM8 3HD
T&J Kelly Pie n’ Mash
82 The Broadway, Loughton, IG10 3ST
Danny’s Pie and Mash
100 High Street, Ilford, IG6 2DR
Star Cafe Pie & Mash
74 High Street, Rayleigh, SS6 7EA
Tony’s Pie and Mash Shop
7 – 8 Market Square, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1DP
Maldon Pie n Mash
136 High Street, Maldon, CM9 5BX
Whites Pie and Mash Shop
95 High Street, Walton on the Naze, CO14 8AA
JD’s Pie and Mash, Clacton
17 Pallister Road, Claxton on sea, CO15 1PQ
The Pie & Mash Shop
24A Clacton on sea, CO15 1NZ
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