Take me home please
Duelling Pie Shops in E14
Season 2011-2012

ROUND 4
25.11.'11

played
eels (4)
pie (4)
mash (3)
afters (2)
liquor (1)
sum
total
CHRIS CHARALAMBOUS
4
4
6
2
0
4
50
174
NICK EVANS
4
1
4
2
0
3
29
88
TOM LEADER
2
2
5
4
0
4
44
80
EDWARD MOSSE
3
1
2
2
0
2
20
44
LEN WILCOCK
1
           
38
MICHAEL GOLDWATER
2
1
3
2
0
2
24
36
PAUL GALE
1
           
29
LINDA HOLLIGAN
3
0
1
1
0
1
8
28.5
BRIAN CATCHPOLE
2
1
1
1
0
2
13
25
PAUL GRICE
2
           
23
LUKE ROBERTS
1
           
20
DENISE ROUSE
2
           
20
GRAHAM MACLAURIN
1
           
19
YURI NEMKOFF
1
1
1
2
0
2
16
16
BEN HAYES
1
           
15
JOHN O'DONOVAN
1
           
15
ANDY POTTER
1
           
15
IAN SHERRATT
1
           
15
RICHARD LUCAS
1
           
12
JASON SHARP
1
           
12
ALAN SMITH
1
           
12
SHARON KANOLIK
1
           
9

Pedal-Powered Pop Pensioner Brian Catchpole pulled up on a leafstrewn Poplar precinct to join the Pie and Mash Club for a double dinner date. Brian has pointed out to me more than once that he finds our august society positively 'Pickwickian' in its meandering epicurean odyssey through the forgotten byways of London and environs. But let me remind you one and all that this is no work of fiction as these handsome colour lithographs attest.

First stop was Balkwill's 'Traditional'.

It's a very down-to-earth setting. Once inside, the impression is light and airy, yet at the same time cosy. The menu board is one of the most comprehensive I've seen, including a Veggie Pie option and a 'Pensioner's Special' for £4.25.

Here's someone whose look of surprise belies that she is no stranger to pies. Linda Holligan's p-n-m pedigree stretches back to the days when it was advisable to take your own cutlery to the Pie Shop.


Chris Charalambous' first course [detail below].


Tom Leader's literary lunch with Lawrence Block.


The pie of the upholder [1]

Transports of delight.The pies were better than I remembered, mash solid with a few reassuring lumps, liquor tasty and eels 'agreelable', if a tad overstewed.

 

New boy Mike G grapples tentatively with his first eel. Cutlery was soon abandoned in favour of the manual approach. Mike described his pies as strong and beefy and the mash 'rugged'. However, the lad submitted to a grave temptation with his main course. It makes me wonder if we should craft a 'Gravy Hat' in the style of a Dunce's Cap, to draw attention to such renegade behaviour.

The Edster gets stuck in with a grin and chagrin. It was good to see these lads going at it with spoon and fork, the old-fashioned way.


The international sign language for heavy metal was at last observed. This is international man of metal, Yuri Nemkoff, formerly of Latvia and latterly of England, whence he has come in search of fine food and excellent ales to accompany his searing guitar riffs.

The leatherclad one enjoyed the scoff, but was hoping for a more 'rustic' pie with a chunky filling. However the eels met with his enthusiastic approval. Let's hope he comes back later in the season for a crowd-pleasing encore.

Down in the nosh pit they were headbanging to 'Eels of Steel'.

I caught the guvnor counting the well-earned folding before stashing it in time-honoured tradition into a brown paper bag.

Our genial hostesses were Jodie and Debbie [below]. Jodie is learning the noble art of pie making, and I think she has made a telling contribution to the flavoursome fare on offer.

Goodbye Balkwill's, hallo Maureen's. Journey time: 90 seconds.
On the other side of the Chrisp Street Market, the menu board was smaller but comprised some unusual adjuncts to distract the casual pie and masher. Maureen's has had a make-over since last we visited in January 2009, with a two-tone tile transformation carrying through to the staff pinafores. Which were definitely a 'warm grey'.

This is the way they serve pie and mash in Maureen's; artistic vision realised in sumptuous foodstuffs.

No points are awarded for this audacious extravagance, but Brian Catchpole licks his lips in anticipation of Maureen's famous salt beef dinner; terrific value at £4.10.

It was reassuring to see that Mr Jason is still in charge of the engine room.

These two usually end up in an engaging discussion. A long career in crisis management has honed Linda Holligan's interpersonal skills, while Brian Catchpole's rich archive of personal anecdote and sea shanty lyrics is a lifebelt to any drowning dialogue.

The pie of the upholder [2].

Pie and Mash Seniors and Juniors on the same table. It's the mentor and disciple principle applied.

Tom Leader preferred the pies in Maureen's, taking the trouble even to relieve Linda Holligan of her platter. [By consent I hasten to add, though I am not sure he remembered to settle up.] For afters Tom requested a small bed, but there was none to be found on the premises. His literary lunch had probably put him in mind of Lawrence Block's popular pulp protagonist Evan Tanner, who hasn't slept since the Korean War.

The side and front of The Ledger Building E14, now a Witherspoons, whither westerly we went for our just desserts . . . 'an undertaking which under the favour of God shall contribute Stability, Increase and Ornament to British Commerce'.

Conclusion: Both shops we visited today are gems, giving value for money whilst adding priceless human value to the Chrisp Street area.

Captains of Commerce. The markets are safe in the hands of these New Money Mentalists.

St@