Take me home please
Castle's, 229 Royal College Street, NW1
Season 2014-2015

It's another pie and mash shop enjoying a big anniversary – Castle's is octogeneric as of this year. We last came in 2009 [see review here] so a revisit to this cosy nook in the Camden hinterlands was long overdue.

Castle's is withing gobbing distance of Camden Road on the Overground, and I challenge you to find a more down-to-earth lunch in the NW1 postcode.

[Above] Camera-shy Joyce was front-of-house to cater to the vagaries of the Pie and Mash Club as well as attending to a steady stream of local lunchtime regulars and take away orders.

The usual Club suspects were ranged at the counter along with the thrilling addition of a grinning boatrace last spotted on 06.01.12. Terence Cecil [far right] has finally found gainful employ flexible enough to allow him a Pie and Mash 'lunch hour'.

[Below] Here's what we came for: in my case a stewed eel entrée followed by a double pie, single mash. The scrape completed a beautiful composition.

There's me and Rikk occupying Castle's most intimate corner table. All it needed was a candle.

Here's Anne. She's the A1 hostess and perfect ray of sunshine to brighten the darkest midwinter recess.

But lo, who is the distinguished gent quaffing yon fizz? His plummy baritone has rattled the windows of many a boardroom in a glittering publishing career, but he is a freshman at the College of Pie and Mash. It's my dear old colleague Robin Baird-Smith. A longtime resident of the borough, RBS claims – outrageously – to be the first to bring Castle's to my attention.

And here's Fred, the unassuming hero of our Pie and Mash hour, checking pie's progress at the business end of a Tom Chandley Compacta.

[Far right] Mike G in a state of eelation.

We've all seen jellied eels, but before today I had never clapped eyes on an eel jelly. Denise's enthusiasm for her starter was unwobbled.

Denise and Judith mashing along together.

The picture allows a glimpse into Castle's cosy wood-panel interior. Aside from a few minor details and inflation, it's pleasingly unchanged since 2009. I reckon the pies have got better.

Andy Potter brought the Man City supporters count up to three. The neckerchief is the key ingredient of his new casual look.

Doug Benford looked more 'causal'. I caught him in a state of genuflective grace . . . but not pie-ety.

Sue Madigan lends Terry a hand.

The lad was in a mood of cheerful abandon – Castle's was a comfortable 'point C' en route between the A and B of his working day – but we had to dock a point from his tally for using colourful language at the table.

The range of custard-covered delights is worth reserving digestive space for.

Ye can take the laird outtae Glasgow, but ye cannae take Glasgow outta the laird. Irn-Bru is not available in Castle's, so he had to settle for a Coca-Cola.

Doug jealously anticipated his afters with the words 'Don't let anybody grab my spotted dick'.

Paul Grice's jaw in the stationary position – it doesn't happen often.

Mine's a treacle . . . but is the treacle mined? It's a fantastic pud, but I couldn't possibly pronounce the provenance of the sticky-gooey topping of my steamer.

Perhaps the answer's at www.treacleminer.com?

Doug made the acquaintance of two Friday lunchtime regulars, Renie and Chris.

An unusual feature caught our eye. It's the customers' cutaway, allowing a full, no-arguments view of the till.

For the traditional group pose, the gang ranged themselves on an exciting new feature – picnic tables. If you fancy dining al fresco on Royal College Street, look no further.

Even the ironclad got a makeover since our last visit. It must be the Camden Town Effect.

And if you wondered how champ Chris C got on the scoreboard, well he prearranged a remote-participation with the Club. Here's documentary proof of his 2-3-2-1-2 at Hall's of Cheshunt. Pies courtesy of Goddard's.

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