Friday, 30 October 2015

London Pies with the legendary Pie and Mash Club

On Friday 25th September I was proud to be able to join pie regulars for my first real experience of a London Pie and Mash shop in full buzz, reports Pierateer Rob.


Traditional London Pie and Mash Review
Traditional London Pie and Mash at M. Manze
It was a busy Friday lunchtime and the time was 13:11. Why do I know that? Well that’s when you need to be in the queue if you’re going to be dining with London’s premier pie and mash eating club – the aptly named “Pie and Mash Club”!

For over 20 years now a group of pie lovers in London have been trying the traditional pie and mash in shops across the capital and beyond, recording their conquests to a level normally reserved for Opta’s football statisticians. The mind-child of Nick and a number of his work colleagues, the first official Pie and Mash Club meet up was in October 1994 and set the tone for a 1994/95 pie eating “season” which culminated in the first champion Richard Lucus.

If nothing else, do check out the amazing directory of Traditional Pie and Mash shops that the Pie and Mash Club have recorded - it really is an amazing effort!


The rules are pretty simple. 4 points for a pie, 3 points for mash, 4 for eels and 1 for liquor. You get an additional 2 points for “afters” such as a pie and custard dessert. Penalties are dished out for non-completion (something I have to admit to – more of that later!) But above all, despite the leaderboard providing some healthy (okay, perhaps not so healthy) com-pie-tition, this is a social gathering with a heavy pie focus. And that’s just how we like it!


Nick and Chris
Nick (l) handing over the 2014/15 trophy to Chris
It does, after all, have a strong resonance with how Pierate Pie Reviews started. A group of friends meeting up and enjoying pies. Turning from a “bit of fun” to a slightly more serious “bit of fun”! The creation of a pie and mash trophy – handed to 2014/15 season champion Chris – was just a small competitive part of a largely informal and light hearted afternoon.

Conversation ranged from bicycle manufacturing to the surprisingly sunny weather (come on, we’re British!!!) but the focus, oddly enough, was pies! The sad demise of a few local traditional pie and mash shops offset with the celebration of a number of new openings, plus the successful start for The London Pie and Mash Company, who you may have seen were pie providers to our 5th Birthday Pie-rty last year.

Traditional London Pie and Mash Review
All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon chatting pie to a group of pie enthusiasts, some of whom would have been enjoying pie and mash years before I was even born! My only disappointment was, slightly controversially, how poor the pie and mash actually was! It was my first time at this particular M. Manze in Chapel Market, Islington and it did disappoint compared to some of the traditional pie and mash shops I’ve visited.

I have to say I am no expert in this niche of the pie world, with Pierateer Sam being our expert and writing our very informative Traditional Pie and Mash article. I’m going to have to leave it to his expertise to rank it against the many others he has had – but the highly soggy underside, split side and very chewy and gristly mince filling was one I didn’t really enjoy. I attempted 3 pies but only managed just over 2 of them. Even the pie and mash experts around me were rather disappointed by the pies and service there, though they still managed to tuck away more than me!

Click here to read the full report for 25th September on the Pie and Mash Club website, featuring their leaderboard after one event!



Traditional London Pie and Mash Review
Still discussing pies in the pub afterwards!
For them, it’s always a quick turnaround before their next meet up approximately three weeks’ later, once again at their infamous meet time of 13:11. For me? Well I just hope I can bring myself to rate another (hopefully far better) Traditional London pie and mash again soon.

I’d like to take this op-pie-tunity to thank the Pie and Mash club for welcoming me with open arms to their regular pie meet up. They made me feel like a regular and the pub trip afterwards was a great way to get to get to know them better. Nick does a great job of organising the group but such a gathering only works if everyone plays their part. Well done to all those who regularly participate in this regular celebration of pie. Long may it continue!

RAS

To find out more about the Pie and Mash Club, visit their website at http://pie-n-mash.com/ and their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ThePieAndMashClub

Thanks to Mike Goldwater for supplying the photos taken at the event – far more of them can be found in the report for 25th September on the Pie and Mash Club website.



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