Visiting a traditional pie and mash shop has always been one of the things I’ve wanted to do, but never really known where to go. I had a rough idea of going to the East end of London (I know that Manze’s is South East) to find one. After seeing this place on one of Heston Blumenthal’s programmes thought it might be the one to go to (however on reflection, it could have been M. Manze in Peckham?!).
Parking on the high street was a ball-ache with wardens circling like vultures around every car. 30 minutes max, so a sit down was not an option. A local fellow pointed out that Goddard’s (another pie and mash shop, see below) was across the road and that these two were probably the oldest in London. I figured that this must be the right place to find the pie and mash I was after.
Manze’s looks as if it hasn’t changed in the past 100 years, white tiled and old looking. The menu was sparse (no choice in pie, just pie), but what had I expected? Time was ticking so I ordered a pie, liquor (water from cooking eels with parsley) and sarsaparilla which came up to £3.30. It would have probably been better value getting a meal (see the picture of Goddard’s, it’s the same price).
I’m not a fan of pissing on institutions but the pie was quite a let-down (this is the second disappointment for the month, so far!). The pastry was hard, like undercooked pasta and I had no idea of what the filling was. It was salty and clumpy with an appearance not unlike dog-food. The liquor was weird. It was a green semi-viscous liquid without any flavour. This place was not worth getting excited over. A Pukka-Pie from the local chippie would have been better! Sarsaparilla was interesting (in that I liked it). I’d only ever had it out of a can, but this stuff was much sweeter and not fizzy. Manze’s one saving grace was its price.
I really wanted to like this place, but I don’t.
I can’t say that I’m a traditional pie aficionado, but it’s got to be better than this! Turns out the dog-food was in fact beef?!? That was a bit of a shocker…seriously. However, this experience hasn’t put me off going to another pie and mash shop, so I’m still on the lookout for a good one (there has to be one).