Take me home please
Robin's, 15 Clarence Street, Southend
Season 2012-2013

It's become a highlight of our calendar in recent years: the Pie and Mash Saturday Seaside Special. This season we paid homage to the Great British Seaside at Southend – for most of us a mere 50 minute train ride from London's Fenchurch Street. But for leatherclad liquor-legend Lucas [above and right] the experience wouldn't be complete without an element of quest. This year he chose to cross the Thames at the most easterly point available to public transport: the Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry.
In his words, The Duchess was an unforgettable seven minutes.

Arriving midday, the party was afforded an hour's worth of appetite-enhancing perambulation about the precinct and seafront, including a fling of the official Club frisbee on the shingle in front of the historic Kursaal.

The newest addition to the Robin's mini-empire at Clarence Street was bedecked with balloons for our arrival at 13.11. The sharp-sighted amongst you will notice that the cafe next door advertises 'Maureen's Traditional Pie and Mash', so you can't help thinking that the arrival of Robin's would not have been greeted with unreserved enthusiasm.

Starters.

Longtime club associate Graham MacLaurin showed up with a strapping lad of 14 or so years – his son Sam, no less!

Bill of fare. It's fare to say we all enjoyed 'Adult Mash and Liquor'.

Bunting festooned fixture and fitting to create an atmosphere conducive to face-filling. Although Robins of Southend opened last year, this was something of a 're-opening' ceremony. Thanks to valuable dialogue between the Club and Management, reinforcement work to the shopfloor was completed just days before our arrival.

Linda Holligan showed us how to use fork and spoon with poise.

My former colleague Louise Dugdale delighted one and all by bringing along her number one son Joe. As a lady of Essex now based at Leigh-on-Sea, she was keen to acclimatise the lad to the sights and sounds of this important socio-cultural activity.

A classic V-formation.

Some low-altitude shots.

By the time we were in full swing the medium-sized dining room was chocka with enthusiastic punters.

I spied this charming family of three deliberating over their lunch options on the pavement outside and managed to tempt them in.

The consensus from the champs was that Robins offers up top notch nosh to satisfy the trickiest of tastebuds. And all at a very reasonable price point.

Staff member Lily took her lunch break during a lull in trade.

In the kitchen the spuds were being manfully managed into the masher by the aptly named [King] Edward.

There was a meeting of most-important ladies on the marble-top in the middle of the dining room, hosted by the queen of the Robins Empire, June Robins herself [seen here, standing].

The assembled talent of the Club was then unleashed on the dessert course, a simple apple pie and choice of custard or ice cream.

It was nothing much to look at, but the filling was satisfyingly firm, tart and chunky. A bit like us really.

Joe-boy needed a winding. He wasn't the only one.

It was a pleasure and privilege to meet the Matriarch of Mash, June Robins, utterly resplendent in her marble-topped domain.

A unique and noteworthy addition to the menu is Robins Famous Poached Salmon, Mash and Liquor. It's not a combo that makes for points on the league table, but it seems like a logical extension of the P-n-M repertoire. For more info on Robins, visit their website at: http://www.robinspieandmash.com

All in all it was a triffic lunch. We rounded it off with a pint on the seafront followed by delicious ice creams courtesy of Rossi's.

Pier and mash.

St@