Take me home please
Maldon Pie and Mash
Season 2015-2016

The Pie and Mash Club received a polite invitation to visit Maldon Pie and Mash long ago. The challenge of visiting this Essex coast destination, severed from the national rail network in 1964, was finally undertaken at the end of April 2016. A valiant away-day team assembled in Stratford on a bright Saturday morning in the spirit of public transport adventure. There followed a swift train journey to Chelmsford, thence the 31X bus service, delivering us into the heart of this quietly affluent settlement in under half an hour.


We found there a well-swept and tidy main drag lined by many well-kept and various shops. Our business was at premises several hundred yards along a high street sloping gently down to a picturesque quay on the Chelmer estuary.

At eleven minutes past one, we crossed the threshold of Maldon Pie and Mash and began placing requests from the menu board. In such a touristic setting it makes sense to complement the basic lineup with several reliable standbys – peas, beans, chips and gravy – and it was good to see a couple of veggie options up there, along with a clearly-signed toilet.

As a starter I opted for a cooling bowl of satisfyingly firm jellies, splashed with globules of the club's hot sauce.

Mike G. chose stewed eels in liquor, gaining a single point advantage in so doing. Here you can see his fabulous lozenging technique.

Several quick assessments were made: [1] this shop operates a hot pie cabinet, which suggests a relatively low volume of trade and turnover and [2] the pies are on the small side. Apprising these details, a former champion saw opportunity of a points break, ordering a hefty 4+2 delivered on a stunning golden platter.

Some other chunky orders from the Pie and Mash Club soon emptied the pie cabinet, causing delay for unfortunate customers in the queue behind. I suspect the staff never received our calling card.

[Right] Eddie Mosse on his stewed-eels-in-their-own-juice starter.

Here are nephew and sister of your correspondent, Royston and Max Forbes. Max faced the fare with fork and spoon, but the lad cheekily feasted on chips and ketchup while reading the sports pages, a study in unabashed delinquency.

Maldon’s elliptical offerings in delicious close-up. Inside, a dark and steamy morass of moreish mince awaited our investigative probing. This was no standard pie shop vehicle. I believe it to be a meat-and-gravy combo – dare I say, a tried and tested recipe designed to deliver a beefy biff to the tastebuds.

Mike G certainly thought so, boldly proclaiming these the best pies of the season.

Terry Moore merrily munched away on a 4+2. His elegant use of non-traditional knife and fork belies a formidable – and frightening – face-filling technique.

Larger-than-life loving spoonful.

A cosy corner between courses.

The various combinations of JRP, STP, SD with custard or Rossi’s ice cream were real crowd-pleasers.

NE: JRP+I
RL: JRP+I
MG: STP+I

EM: STP+C
TM: SD+C
MF: JRP+C

[Right] At the dessert trough with Eddie, Rich and Mike.

[Below] “Good food, fresh service” was provided by Kirsten [left] and Tanya [right] who coped well under pressure.

We were joined by friends of the club John and Eleanor Allen, former Eastenders now emigrated to Chelmsford. John reeled off an impressive list of East London pie shops past and present from a long career stretching back to the 1940’s. Among his ‘benchmark’ establishments, now long gone: Mrs Olley’s of Rathbone Market, Lediard’s of West Ham Lane and Hitch’s of 46 Angel Lane, Stratford. Despite changing hands several times over the past 20 years, Maldon Pie and Mash has provided tasty fare consistently enough for John and Eleanor to use it on a regular basis.

 

A post-pie pint quayside at the Queens Head, followed by a leg-stretcher to the statue of Byrhtnoth the Ealdorman of Essex were the necessary aids to collective digestion. Thus was Maldon finally secured.

Your historical nib,
St@