Tag Archives: pie and mash

F.Cooke’s pie and mash shop, Broadway Market

piemashcounterNOTE: Please read comments below from people who have visited recently. I haven’t been here for a few years, so this post is now out of date as far as restaurant reviews go. 

If you find yourself down at Broadway Market of a Saturday – filling your wicker basket (plastic bags are a major faux pas) with free-range eggs, lemon drizzle cake and smoked oysters, perhaps stopping for a flat white or a Vietnamese coffee, and then deliberating between a lunch of Creole prawns, African jollof rice, mushroom risotto or a couple of samosas – take a moment to consider the pie and mash shop, which has been there since 1900 and served the same food ever since. Here you can choose from eels – which are available hot or jellied for £2.50, or live at market prices – and beef or vegetarian pies, served with mashed spuds and liquor, which is a fresh parsley gravy made from the stock those eels were boiled up in.

Like the menu, the shop’s marble façade and ornate gold lettering above the door have not changed since it opened. Inside, a long metal counter runs down one side of the large canteen-like space, and customers take their time over newspapers and cups of tea at marble benches. Original yellow and blue tiles and stained glass brighten up the walls, sawdust is sprinkled over the floors, and a vat of eels steams away under the window. Continue reading

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Dim sum at Shanghai, Kingsland Road, Dalston

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You’d be hard pressed to find too many Chinese restaurants housed inside former East End pie and mash shops. In fact, I think there’s only one. For this fact alone, Shanghai on Kingsland Road is worth a visit. And that’s before you get to the dumplings.

The long front room, its long marble bar, turquoise tiling and bevelled art deco mirrors, is now heritage listed. It was once owned by the Cooke family, who still operate a pie and mash shop in nearby Broadway Market, until they were made an offer they couldn’t refuse. These days, red-roasted ducks and pigeons and great chunks of pork have replaced vats of jellied eels in the window display, and you can order a whole suckling pig or let rip in the karaoke room.

Now, instead of meat pies, mash and bright green liquor, you sit at the polished wooden benches and order baskets of prawn dumplings, steamed barbecue pork buns and cheung fung (rolled up sheets of soft rice paper, stuffed with prawns or barbecued pork), as well as Chinese teas from their special tea menu (I know next to nothing about tea, but a Chinese friend told me the list was very good). And chilli salt squid.

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Service can be torturously slow, especially late in the day, and the cavernous restaurant out the back is a little dingy. I’ve only been there for dinner once and it was nothing special. But I don’t know of many other place serving dim sum in East London, so if you’re craving a dumpling or five, some egg tarts or fried turnip cake on a Sunday afternoon (and it’s Happy Hour(s) from 3-5pm, this is the place to go.

Shanghai, 41 Kingsland High Street, Dalston, E8 2JS, tel: 020 7254 2878

http://www.shanghaidalston.co.uk

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