Take me home please
Byrne's, 5 Ross Parade, Wallington
Season 2015-2016

Byrne’s Pie and Mash Shop has been on our radar for some 15 months, so it was with a sense of anticipation that the club descended on the unlikely southern suburb of Wallington to sample the goods. The shop is at Ross Parade – geographically very close to the train station, but rendered slightly more distant by some inconvenient urban planning on the A237 Woodcote Road (effectively the High Street).

Byrne's is not a broad shopfront but it is impressively tall, as you can see from the leader pic. Hungry as we were, our first point of focus was the menu board above the counter. As usual, several of us opted for a bowl of stewed eels as a starter. Husband-and-wife team Sally and Nick Byrne were front of house to serve us, ably supported by pie man Karl.

This is a newly-fitted out shop with first class decor - sparklingly clean of course. The interior tile theme is black and white and, to add to the authenticity, these are marble-topped tables. The immaculate Paul Gale couldn’t have found a more becoming backdrop for his formal attire.

However this club is not about formal attire, as the following pictures attest.

 

The eels were good – but I think you’d have to make an effort to muck them up.
What we were really keen to sample was the fresh-baked pies, seen here in this awesome pie tin line-up. I thought the finished product was highly attractive with its visible pastry grain.

The pie itself is slightly deeper than average and contains a generous filling. This presents as a bit of a ‘patty’ which didn’t make an immediate impact on my tastebuds.

However, continued mastication releases a satisfying and meaty flavour – the sort of thing you sometimes have to close your eyes to best appreciate.

The soft underside yields easily to the spoon-edge, which is what your pie and mash enthusiast expects.

Sue Madigan looked slightly overbaked thanks to a recent sun-soaked winter break in Capo Verde.

Mosse performs his standard grappling manoeuvre. On the far right is me, your trusty crusty statistician, serving here as a hatstand for Goldwater’s discarded trilby. They said I looked a bit 'Andean'.

The Two J's tackled the tuck with alacrity. The basic elements, in combination with a thicker-than-average liquor, made for a satisfying face-filler.

Charalambous's outing was modest by his own belt-busting standards, but it was enough to keep him 42 points clear at the top of the table. Here he is vinegaring up a second plate.

Thanks to Sally Byrne standing on a table, you're able to get a feel for this high-ceilinged dining room.

The floral tile pattern below is an original feature of the premises which, if I have it right, were intended to be a J. Sainsbury's grocery back in the Victorian Age. However Sainsbury took a larger shop on the main road and this became a butcher's.

Staying on the the flowery theme, Wallington was 'lavender central' until the early 20th Century: the land to the north of the station was farmland devoted exclusively to the production of lavender oil.

As befitting a man of his rank and station, Paul Gale's official valise is anything other than a case of 'brief'. It's certainly large enough to accommodate a take-out for his masonic pals. To which business he must attend, leaving us to tackle the single dessert option on offer – bread and butter pudding.

I wouldn't normally go for a b+bp if there's anything else on offer, but it was easy on the eye and surprisingly light.

[Above] Their first sarsaparilla.

[Right] Their first pie shop. Nick and Sally have recently acquired an old ambulance with a view to getting their pies out on the summer festival and function circuit. They could well become the fifth emergency service.

Pie-vates on Parade.

To the left of Lucas's lower leg you can glimpse another lovingly restored feature of the shop – decorative ceramic tiles in the Victorian style. The refit of this shop is so good that they've put it on an authentic location list for film purposes.

If you're anywhere near Wallington for filming – or just 'filling' – I urge you to drop in.

 

We repaired to the studiedly quirky surroundings of the Wallington Arms, conveniently placed for the journey home.

Here's one for the rails,
St@