Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Food Week: Pie, mash and liquor..

Who ate all the pies

Dropped, slopped and steaming onto a plate, pie and mash may not have much instant eye-appeal, but eats-wise - the bulky blend of tasty pastry and meaty morsels with mash swamped in creamy green liquor is a magical medley - and a once-tasted never-forgotten treat.

It's a London dish as traditional as pearly kings and Beefeaters and a flavour that of late, I've been on a galloping great buzz for. Flick through the Dear Diary posts and you'll find occasional P and M mentions buried in the entries.  Typically if we nipped up to Nan's - a visit to Cooke's for pie and double mash with a walloping dollop of liquor was on the menu. Our regular stop off  (Kingsland Road, Dalston) has since been Shanghaied - literally, but thankfully Cooke's pie and eel shops still populate the capital's map.

Bob Cooke - 4th generation currently running F. Cooke,  Broadway Market

It's been almost twenty years since I last tucked into a serving of genuine London pie and mash - but the cravings have never fully faded. So bowling along to the  Broadway Market branch of Cooke's recently I had high hopes for my pie ideals, but was bracing in case those sensory memories had become retrospectively over-cooked.

But chums I'm pleased to report, chowing down on plateful of F. Cooke's finest was like falling through a taste experience time tunnel - those pies, that mash and their delicious liquor haven't changed in any way - from the top of the crispy pitta-style pastry  to the last parsley particle, they remain simply the finest pies in all of Londinium.

If you've never tried proper pie and mash - do it, and do it now - get yourself to Broadway Market or a branch nearest to you and fill up before these institutions of London life become Starbucked and lost for ever..

The Earthworms - Mo Taters.



Mash from Chaos/filthy liquor - Cook and Jones at Cooke's


Scores on the doors for Cooke's

Pie - 9
Mash - 8
Liquor 10
Total - 27
Verdict: Lip-smacking, ace-tasting

12 comments:

John Medd said...

Great bit of footage. When I was in London last week I went round Shepherds Bush Market (ended up buying some plates!) while Gemma was at the BBC. Pie and Mash from a proper greasy spoon really is high culture isn't it? We've had this conversation before, I know, but gaffs like Cooke's and Bruno's off Wardour St are under threat all the time from Starbucksification; what with Tesco, Costa Coffee and CCTV cameras, the town planners won't rest until everywhere in Britain (London included) looks just the same.

Mondo said...

You should have nipped into Cooke's John and filled your boots..if you get a classic P and M shop: Cooke's Broadway Market, Kelly's Roman Road..they've still got the original eel-themed tiling, bench seating and sawdust on the floor. Just fabulous. Click on the Shangai link for an example. Originally Cooke's (and where I stood as a nipper, watching live eels being chopped into wriggling pieces) - it's now a Chinese resturant, but has had to keep the original interiors due to being Grade II listed

Don't start me on corporate colonisation - too many classic cafes, have been scrapped because of Starbucking

Cusp said...

Do you remember Blooms in Whitechapel High Street ? Lokschen pudding ..yum :O)

http://eastlondonhistory.com/blooms-restaurant/

Cocktails said...

We have a trad pie and mash shop up our way and well, the best thing about it is the orginal interior (including sawdust on floor). I'm just not convinced that its just meat in that meat pie...

Mondo said...

Don't remember Bloom's Cusp, how about Kossof's the Bakers? There's a few classic cafes still sticking it out around that way: City Corner - Middlesex St, Dino's Grill - Commercial Rd. The Copper Grill is one that I'd loved to have ticked off though, and Polo's on Bishopsgate is an updated version of the same and well worth a visit...

Have you tried Kelly's on Roman Road Cocktails? As pie and mash shops go - it's the most pleasant I've come across, also the meatiest for pies but they do veggie option also fruit ones and crumbles. Give it a go..

Ishouldbeworking said...

Never done pie and mash, shame on me, but I still grieve for Blooms. The best chopped liver and salt beef I've ever tasted. Then on to Grodzinski's near Whitechapel Station for chollah bread to take home.

londonlee said...

Christ, that video was a trip down memory lane for me too. My Gran used to live in Shepherd's Bush so I spent a lot of weekends at the market when I were a nipper.

Cusp said...

@ISBW...aha another Blooms fan....salt beef...didnt they also sell it to take out from the window ?
forgotten about Grodsinski's...their black bread and proper cheesecake was/is(?) so yum :O)

Mondo said...

Never done Pie and Mash ISB! and you being so close to the real 'stenders and everything. You've got to do it...

Great vid innit Lee - Did you ever visit Cooke's though? And that old school London accent of Cook and Jonesy, love it, I grew up with people who talked like that (but without the fruity language natch) BTW it's an extra on the Pistols Always be an England DVD...

Don't know it Cusp - how about the Brick Lane Bagel bars - I've got it on good authority - as you head south from the top, the second one is best

londonlee said...

We probably did go to Cookes but I don't remember, I do remember going in the cafe at one end of the market quite a lot. There was a Pie & Mash in Fulham I went to a few times. On Lillie Road near North End Road.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I have the recipe for Grodzinsky's cheesecake. Passed to me by the late, much-lamented Mrs Weinstein. Shall I share it with the world?

Bloom's certainly did do take-out salt beef sandwiches from their window. The queues used to be most impressive.

I'm starving for me gravy now.

Cusp said...

@ISBW ...oh yeah :O) Recipe please !