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Cor blimey! Cockney classics prove big hit at Norfolk pie and mash shop

PUBLISHED: 13:36 03 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:05 04 October 2018

Diss Pie And Mash shop.
John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018

Diss Pie And Mash shop. John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Archant 2017

The taste of the East End proved such a hit that the opening of a traditional pie and mash shop in Norfolk has seen them sell out of pies.

A firm favourite in the East End for decades, cockney favourites are now on the menu at Diss Pie & Mash Shop which opened its doors to curious customers at the weekend.

Husband and wife team Jon and Maria Munford think they have seen a gap in the culinary market by serving up their very own slice of East London culinary classics, including jellied eels, in a former tearoom on St Nicholas’ Street.

Diss Pie And Mash shop.
John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Diss Pie And Mash shop. John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

After being transformed into the tiled interior of a traditional pie and mash shop, it launched with a special guest night attended by that most cockney of nights, Pearly Kings.

Brothers Gerry and Alan Baxter, who hail from a long line of East End Pearly Kings and Queens, but now live in Suffolk, were resplendent in mother-of-pearl buttons covered outfits.

Diss Pie And Mash shop.
John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Diss Pie And Mash shop. John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Jon Munford, who is trained chef and is cooking the pies from scratch using local ingredients, said: “They were brilliant. They were stopping people and talking to them. It was nice there were a lot of Londoners catching up and talking.

“It was a real good community vibe. We were pretty chuffed and quite a few bookings from it as well.”

Pearly Kings Gerry and Alan Baxter brought some traditional cockney flair to the opening of the Diss Pie & Mash Shop. Picture: Diss Pie & Mash ShopPearly Kings Gerry and Alan Baxter brought some traditional cockney flair to the opening of the Diss Pie & Mash Shop. Picture: Diss Pie & Mash Shop

Foodie trends come and go but London’s pie and mash shops have served the same traditional fare since the 19th century. Mince beef pies, creamy mashed potato and parsley liquor — a green parsley gravy — are on the menu, along with an acquired taste, jellied eels consisting of chopped eels boiled in a spiced stock and set in jelly.

Mr Munford said: “A lot of people had never tried it before and some were being brave and having a taste of the jellied eels. In our research people said they would like gravy but actually most people went for the liquor. We actually ran out and had to go out to get ingredients to make some more.”

Diss Pie And Mash shop.
John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Diss Pie And Mash shop. John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

Interest from diners has been so great that they ran out of pies on its first day.

Shop manager Lee Offord said minced beef had been the biggest seller as well as being the most accurate to East End tradition, but they were also experimenting with others pies including vegetarian options. They also have plans for pie-eating competitions and mini-tasting pies.

Diss Pie And Mash shop.
John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Diss Pie And Mash shop. John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

PIE AND MASH SHOPS

Diss Pie And Mash shop.
John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2018Diss Pie And Mash shop. John Munford, shop proprietor and chef with Lee Offord, shop manager. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018

London’s pie and mash shops have served the same traditional fare since the 19th century. Pies, usually minced beef, mash served with a generous dose of liquor, a parsley sauce made with the broth of stewed eels.

Jellied eels and cockles are also frequently on the menu.

Demand was so great the new Diss Pie & Mash Shop had to close early. Picture: Diss Pie & Mash ShopDemand was so great the new Diss Pie & Mash Shop had to close early. Picture: Diss Pie & Mash Shop

Since Victorian times when pie sellers roamed the streets and shops sprung up — the first recorded pie and mash shop opened in Southwark in 1844 — the dish has become synonymous with working-class Londoners.

But from over 100 shops in the mid-20th century, the number of shops has declined due to rising rents and evolving tastes.

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