Manze's pie and mash shops are legendary, and rightly so. They represent an original and unique bit of Brittania.
The day I went there was a queue out the door. Once you've waited your turn, one of several busy ladies will take your order. They only make a few things, sticking to what they know: minced beef pies, mash, and eels.
All the food, including the pies, are made fresh there on the site. When ordering, you can specify one pie and one serving of mash, one pie and two mash, two pies and one mashwell, you get the idea. The whole thing comes with a generous ladle-full of creamy parsley sauce.
You can also get a serving of eels, either stewed or jellied.
I loved the fresh pies, thought the mashed potatoes were cooked just right, but would get them to use less parsley sauce next time.
I shared a serving of stewed eels with a friend; I'm glad I did, to get the proper experience, but I think I'll stick to pies.
They also serve old-style sasparilla in cups: very tasty.
They've kept the old interior fish-market decor: glazed tile walls and benches.
Prices are very reasonable. A substantial pie and mash with sauce is less than £3.
They're quite happy to do your food up for takeaway. In fact, when I was there, more orders were being boxed up than eaten there, though the place was still full. Some passers-by were taking pictures. It's obviously a well-loved place.
Note: maybe because of the age of the place, they have no public toilet in the restaurant.
Ever since I was kid living in the States I've always been into diners. Even as a kid I think I realized these places were free of attitude. Just comfort foods enjoyed by all walks of life. Fast forward 25+ years I find myself in London searching for the same experience.
Today a friend of mine took me to a M. Manze a pie and mash shop which has been around since the late 1800's. Stepping into the shop you immediately get the feeling this place is the real deal. Old school bench seating and a menu that's so refreshingly simple, it's kind of funny.
I ordered the 2 pies and 2 mash plate with a cup of hot Sarsaparilla. Yes Sarsaparilla! As my friend remarked it taste's "Olde Timey"! Actually taste like hot Ribena... and was surprisingly good.
They've got meat and vegetarian pies; I dare you to order one of the vegetarian ones... The meat was ground meat and the pie crust flaky and scrumptious. You can get liquor sauce or regular gravy. To my dismay liquor sauce is made of parsley and doesn't taste like much. I'd go with the regular gravy
The place is also known for its jellied and stewed eels. I've always been curious about the jellied eel hubbub... and thought what better time to give it a go. It isn't as horrendous as it looks, my curiosity satisfied, I probably won't be ordering that again.
If you're visiting London or you're an expat like me looking for an authentic experience, I highly recommend M. Manze "The Noted Eel & Pie Houses"
Really, you are here eating local history. The pie, mash and liquor (lickher / likka?) are in fact edible, but that's not what it's about. Other than the clothes of the customers it's hard to imagine that this place was any different 90 years ago. When Shad Thames was a street bustling with dock workers pushing barrows of spice from the ships off loading in the Pool of London to the warehouses that span the river to Tooley Street, this pie and mash shop was open and thriving. It is still open and thriving. I imagine that many of the customers are descended from those dock workers. The same food slopped on to the same plates the same way it has been for over a century.
A pie and mash here costs £2.85, as a dining experience, it is fine, but it is not a fine dining experience.
It's probably best not to ask what is in those pies.
This should get 5 stars really... I mean it is traditional regional cuisine (i.e. London). It is historic (one of the oldest eating establishments in the city and opened at this site in 1902). It is full of atmosphere (the tiles and wooden benches are beautiful). It is cheap (you barely notice the cost). The clientale are fun (traditional local sorts).
There is only one problem. The food is plain bad. The pies are unappetising and don't really fill you or have any of the basic attributes of a pie (a good centre or crust), the mash is rough and ready, the liquor is an acquired taste. I mean when you have to dollop vinegear all over every little bit of the meal to get some proper taste it says something.
That said I have been going on and off for years with my dad and it is more of a cultural trip. He loves it. But he also loves condensed milk as it reminds him of his childhood during the blitz.
This Pie and Mash shop has been here for DECADES, I have eaten in here for probably THREE DECADES, nothing has changed, it has history, wooden bench old photo's, lots of character. The pie, mash, liquor & eels (yes eels!) are all delicious, service is quick. Since we have moved away, I miss this place!!!. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
I read about M Manze before I moved to London. My friends visited it and posted photos onto Facebook. After reading their history on the website, I was determined to pay it a visit. A month after I unpacked all my boxes and settled into the my new life in London, I went to M Manze for a weekend lunch. Aside from the nostalgic interior, the whole experience was a big let-down.
The first bad sign came when I saw 2 servers smoking cigarettes right outside the entrance with their aprons still on. I kept up my enthusiasm, stood behind the queue and plopped down my money for an order of pie and mash with liquor and an order of jellied eel.
The second sign of trouble came when I tried to cut open the pie. I am using 'tried' because the top crust didn't crack under the first push of my knife. Instead, the side kind of squished open, and some yellow grease flowed out of the pie and into liquor. I am not a pie expert but I expect crust to be well, crusty. The rest of the meal spiraled downward from there. The 'mixed beef' filling, as the staff told me, had no spice in it. In fact, the filling generally had little flavor. I had to use my imagination to convince myself that it contained beef. The mash was equally bland. I find it hard to believe that I managed to find mash potato that lacks potato flavor. The green liquor is yet another mysterious entity that carries little tastes, even after a generous sprinkle of salt on and around.
After several wandering samples of the pie & mash, the jellied eel delivered an unexpected shock. It is very very, very fishy. The chunks of eels (skin included) is over-cooked and chewy. The jelly around it is over-salted and has as much fish taste as the eel.
I squirreled out of M Manze with my head shaking. This local establishment, despite it's history and affordable menu, does not live up to my expectations. I don't recommend it to any pie lovers, or food lovers in general.
I was dragged along by well wishing family members who insisted on walking all the way across the district to this place. You cannot deny the popularity of the shop; the interiors are from another time, the service was good, the queues long, the tables and benches scrubbed and the food well, not my thing. The idea, look and smell of the jellied eels still make my stomach wrench As for the liquor, that's the glutenous parsley sauce that you can-(should you wish to) pour on your mash. The rest of my family loved it and even cleaned up my plate.
Pies, mash and Eels
Established in 1902.
Considered the 'first' fast food shop.
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