Friday, 26 November 2010

Variety is the spice of life

I had pie and mash twice this week for lunch. Greedy yes but I haven't had this beloved dish of mine for a while and besides it's bloody freezing out there. When it gets this parky, there's nothing like walking into a pie and mash shop and being enveloped by a hot, steaming fug that whiffs faintly of vinegar and eel juice. It's like being cuddled by your Nan. Not that my Nan smells of vinegar and eels of course. No, she smells of Special Brew*.

For the first excursion I went to Clark's in Exmouth Market and yesterday I popped into our local cafe Roy's Pie and Mash in Hornchurch and as you can see from their splendid Facebook page, Roy cuts a fine dash. This pie and mash shop comes with all the usual, comfortable trappings. The black and white tiles, the formica tabletops upon which salt, white pepper and huge bottles of 'Vinneys' vinegar sit, the aforementioned steam and the slow and steady stream of pensioners who seem to eat nothing but pie and mash all day. For extra authenticity, the walls of Roy's are adorned with tributes to the mighty, mighty Hammers, pictures of Billy Bonds and Trevor Brooking in their heyday, clutching the FA Cup way back in 1980, the last time the mighty, mighty Hammers ever won anything. And in the corner is your obligatory Krays tribute, a massive placard of those boys who looked after their own and kicked in the teeth of others. Even though I wasn't actually born, I was in The Blind Beggar the night Jack the Hat got it you know. Along with everyone else from the East End**.

Anyway it's all very cosy, nostalgic and cockney and I love it. What I love even more is the menu in Roy's. You'd be hard pressed to make your mind up, I can tell you that. It goes something like this.

Pie & Liquor - 2.20p

Pie & Mash - 3.00p

Pie & 2 Mash - 3.80p

2 Pie & Mash - 4.70p

2 Pie & 2 Mash - 5.50p

2 Pie & Liquor - 3.90p

2 Mash & Liquor - 2.10p

Eels & Mash -3.70p

Eels, Pie & Mash -5.40p

Mash & Liquor - 1.30p

Eels & Liquor - 2.90p

Jellied Eels - 2.50p

2 Pie, Mash, Liquor & Eels - 7.00p

See, the possibilities are endless and it never fails to make me smile as I stand there at the counter, desperately struggling to make my mind up.

*PS My Nan doesn't really smell of Special Brew..............oooooh fack, she's gonna ring my gregory when she sees this.
** And it wasn't Jack the Hat, it was George Cornell, just checked on google.

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