Take me home please
Frasier's, Herne Bay
Season 2014-2015

The unsuspecting Kentish resort of Herne Bay was influxed by a posse of pie and mash tourists on the last Saturday of April. Fresh off the high speed Javelin service from St Pancras, they paused briefly before seeking out a park for an appetite-enhancing kick-about.

As the magic hour of one neared, they headed towards the sea front in search of Frasier's Pie and Mash Shop, finding some delightful curios along the way – including a likely potato supplier.

Shambling along the shingle, I received a droll message from club associate Daniel Bouquet. "The mash might be cooked by the time you arrive."

 

Frasier's occupies a prominent spot directly opposite the clock tower. I was told that the shop has been in business for six years.

Bouquet, now a Whitstable coffee baron, last saw competitive action in the Club's first-ever seaside jaunt in May 2009. We caught up with him as he perused the property pages over his first plateful.

His squeezable Encona proved to be something of a loose cannon.

The stewed eels were duly anointed.

Here's Mike G evaluating that delicate dish of spice and fish.

The booth arrangement offered these two old duffers opportunity for a cosy tête-à-tête.

[Below] Ed Mossse was sporting his red hot "Team GB Pie and Mash Squad" t-shirt for the occasion.

I went for a three and one. This is it.

This event was never going to be a high-scorer; I reckoned these specimens to be 1.4 times larger than a standard Robin's pie. And, though generously scraped, there was a little more texture to the spuds than I would have liked. I put it down to a poorly-performing potato pummeler.

And that's me.

Mike's application of chilli vinegar was textbook.

Mosse's portions may be modest, but there's no denying the lad's gusto – it's fearsome!

Here's my sister Max mucking in with the rest of us. With fair weather forecast, she had decided to bring along her two 'erberts for a day out at the coast . . .

. . . but Marmaduke and Royston Forbes merely dabbled with p-n-m as a supplement to their burger and chips.

The Saturday lunchtime fixture enabled the presence of one Michael Treacy – Ed Mosse's pal and flatmate. However he didn't cover himself with glory. A cocktail of large pies, lumpy mash and a tall glass of cold water proved disastrous to his scoresheet – and mine.

By contrast Bouquet was comfortably leaning into his second platter, the day's high scorer on 24 points.

[Below] Scenes from the shop.

Our hosts were [clockwise from left]: Emma, Lee the Pieman, Jody and Lucy.

Emma has worked here for nearly a year, and helps run the business with her partner. She responded to Mike Treacy's reflux whoopsie with the commendable composure of a long-experienced dinner lady.

The group shot.

Seaside pie and mash is a winning – and warming – combination that we've enjoyed at Clacton, Walton, Eastbourne and Southend. Aside from the day's disappointment in the mash department, Frasier's offers up substantial and reasonably-priced fare in a classic seaside setting. But there's an affluent breeze blowing along the north Kent coast, and it'll be interesting to see how much of its traditional character Herne Bay can retain in years to come.

Makcari's pier-side parlour was selected for the delicious, but non-scoring, dessert course, which Ed Mosse anticipated eagerly.

It was the perfect set-up for a 5-mile walk westwards to Whitstable.

There were a number of diversions on the way, namely the Hampton Inn and the Tankerton Arms.

The hike didn't end with the glorious flaming sunset I'd imagined, but the sight of Old Neptune looming up over the shingle certainly warmed my cockles.

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