Take me home please
Frank's, Canvey Island
Season 2013-2014

There was an extraordinary meeting of the Pie and Mash Club on Saturday 26th April. A scheduled away-day trip to Skipton abandoned in the face of escalating costs, we had to find an exciting replacement venue. A tireless publicity campaign on the Club's Facebook page by Sandra Revell, pro-pie-tress of Frank's, Canvey Island, proved ultimately persuasive.

A combination of train, rail replacement and local bus services saw us into the heart of the island with time aplenty to look around before official business commenced.

Frank's, so named after a dearly beloved family member, has been in operation for about a year and occupies a prominent corner plot on Furtherwick Road – effectively the town high street.

We found Sandra Revell in the command module as we boarded. She was assisted by able pie-man Curt [far right].

Sandra's formative years and fledgeling tastebuds were ins-pie-red by the likes of Lediard's, George's and Nathan's; these are the flavours she is trying to evoke in this remote outpost of the East End.

The stewed eels were ordered up and anointed with the hot stuff. Even without it, these were some of the tastiest we've had this season.

Here's my old colleague Louise Dugdale – you might remember her from Southend last year. She lives in posh Leigh-on-Sea these days, so we were honoured with her presence in these down-to-earth environs. Here she is, gamely trying out a starter.

With E. James Mosse there was no hesitation whatsoever.

That's a plate of 3-1-1. As a feast for the eyes, these were the most pulchritudinous pies I've clocked in some time.
However, a little seasoning was necessary to bring them out of their crusts.

As ever, our galloping gourmet Goldwater was gustaceous in his gobbling and guzzling.

But lo and behold, a tentative and investigative newcomer. It's Michael 'Mini-Man' Tracey, semi-pro tenpin bowling sensation and longtime pal of Ed Mosse.

To open a pie shop and not offer dessert options would be madness. Frank's serves the classics with custard or that reputable seaside favourite, Rossi's ice cream.

Apple crumble and Rossi's is a sublime match-up.

Ed Mosse went for the hot option.

The Mini-Man was maxed out after double mash, pie and eels. Or is that a bowling ball under his shirt?

Behind the scenes lurks a superbly well-appointed kitchen comprising state-of-the-art pie-making equipment . . .

. . . but some tasks are still best tackled with elbow grease and a pair of yellow marigolds. Here's Bert doing a sterling job on our dirty dishes.

Sandra and me.

Attention-grabbers. Graphic designers take note.

Screwballs.

About 15 minutes' walk due south is the Sea Wall, where it was necessary for Ed to hurl some rocks into the Thames estuary. There were plenty of muddy-looking oysters, but no sign of the Canvey Island Monster.

A westerly wallside walk takes you past caravan parks and the rusting hulks of a huge petro-chemical storage facility.

After two miles of concrete and industrial decay, we were more than ready to sink a pint in the relative shelter of the Lobster Smack beer garden. It was well worth it.

St@