Take me home please
Golden Pie, 188 Lavender Hill, SW11
Season 2012-2013
The Pie and Mash Herd migrated south in search of pastures new on the tenth day of Christmas. The destination was Golden Pie on Lavender Hill, some ten minutes' walk from Europe's leading rail hub, Clapham Junction. As we bounded along Battersea's broad pavements, we had little idea of what to expect – the shop has only been operational since December 2011.

Golden Pie is a modest, brown-fronted premises just a moment or two from that local landmark, Battersea Arts Centre. As we crossed the threshold and approached the counter, we took in a matching brown menu board and some promising signs.

Here is our genial host, Ali Ziweck, who was ably assisted by his partner Nina. Their hospitality was exemplary.

Good news for the discerning vegetarian: 'We are now serving vegetarian pies freshly made on the premises'.

The present company was a mix of discerning non-vegetarians, among them Edward 'The Eelqualizer' Mosse and Roger 'Dodge Rogers' Fullilove, to give him his full and wonderful title.

Up came the goods onto the marble-effect runway. So far, all boxes ticked, checked and clear for take-off.

Evans and Charalambous opted for the eel starter as you can see. I would have liked a bit more eel broth on mine, but the first course was good to firm.

 

Chris's starter and main course – modest by his standards. In this shop, that portion constitutes a double mash.

Edward James Mosse is a picture of chuffability.

Rikk Lucas strolled in at 13.21, pausing for a festive bauble.

Five minutes later he attained nirvana.

Brian Catchpie, I mean Catchpole, dug in to the vittles with youthful vim and vinegar.

Here's our resident gastronome and champie-on of Pie and Mash journalism, Mike 'Golden Words' Goldwater, seen adding a gentle dusting of white pepper to the main course. Mike's incisive, crust-cutting reviews of the Pie Shops this past year have helped to propel the Pie and Mash Club's Facebook presence from mere fan forum to a well-considered reference for conoisseur and novice alike. Read Mike's review of Golden Pies here.

Douglas Benford once again donned his sporting vest for this occasion, symbolic for being the most easterly point yet that Doug's personal pie pendulum has swung. Pie-ronically the West Londoner's bowl was pie-free. Says Doug, 'It's not that I've got anything against pies, I just can't fit it all in'.

At the back of the shop the Minstrel of Mash was tucking in with two charming lady companions, Sylvia [l] and Hazel [r]. Dodge described the fare as 'modern pie and mash', a view endorsed by Sylvia who hadn't partaken for some time and who found these Golden Wonders to be quite different from the Pie and Mash of her memory.

Lavender Hill at lunchtime.

The long counter sets up a traditional ambience with two historic sepia prints of Smithfield Market from yesteryear. But which Smithfield?

For those requiring table service there is a fully laminated menu, adding some useful detail to the leaderboard items. 'Jellied Eels with B/Beans or Peas' was a curio that caught my eye. Foul-fanciers and veggies alike are ably catered for, and as you can see there is a stout choice of desserts.

We went for the special, home-made bread pud.

It emerged piping-hot from the kitchen some minutes later, a comestible crenellation set in a moat of livid custard. While Chris adopted a cautious approach, Edward Mosse went for the chest-thumping full-frontal assault.

The presentation certainly showed flair.

My afters.

Mike G: 'I'm glad this bread pudding tastes good, 'cos I'm almost full'.

The Golden Pie experience was, as Dodge rightly described, a modern take on the traditional formula – don't come here expecting a burnt crust. However, after dinner conversation revealed our host Ali to be a seasoned pieman of some 21 years in Cooke's basement kitchen at Goldhawk Road. It was the threatened closure of that shop which prompted him to tackle this bold new venture. Ali has taken the best aspects of the Cooke's Pie recipe and added something of his own – without the help of their famous pie machine, for as he is proud to point out, these pies are handmade everyday on the premises.

The Lavender Hill Mob.

From there we ambled some five minutes up to the north-westernmost tip of the Common, where we found suitable refreshments.

St@

Lavender Hill Lip, courtesy of Len Wilcock:

1 Johhny Briggs (aka Coronation Street's Mike Baldwin) was born in Lavender Sweep.

2 Sarah, Duchess of Por.....er, I mean York lived in Lavender Gardens prior to her marriage.

3 Lavender Hill was immortalized in the Film "The Lavender Hill Mob".

4 Battersea Arts Centre (formerly Battersea Town Hall) was a famous Boxing venue and the "Russian Giant", Nicolai Valuev - former WBA Heavyweight Champion - won his 5th pro fight there when he defeated Yorkshireman Neil Kirkwood on a 2nd round TKO.

5 Several episodes of "The Sweeney" and "On the Buses" were shot there.

6 And above all, I used to live there.