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Norfolk pie and mash shop to serve up cockney classics

PUBLISHED: 13:40 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:12 26 August 2018

Jon and Maria Munford who are opening a pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin

Jon and Maria Munford who are opening a pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin

Archant

It’s been a firm favourite in the East End for decades now cockney favourites are on the menu with the opening of a traditional pie and mash shop in Norfolk.

Pie and mash traditional East End fare since the 19th century is coming to a new shop in Diss. Picture: Goddardspies/WikipediaPie and mash traditional East End fare since the 19th century is coming to a new shop in Diss. Picture: Goddardspies/Wikipedia

It’s been a firm favourite in the East End for decades now cockney favourites are on the menu with the opening of a traditional pie and mash shop in Norfolk.

Husband and wife team Jon and Maria Munford will be serving up their very own slice of East London culinary classics, including jellied eels, on St Nicholas’ Street in Diss.

Work is currently underway to transform the interior of the former Fairchild’s tearooms, which closed last month, and they are hoping that a Cockney pearly king will attend the opening on September 28.

Jon and Maria Munford have begun work to transform a former tearoom into a traditional pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Simon ParkinJon and Maria Munford have begun work to transform a former tearoom into a traditional pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin

“It’s going to be very much like a traditional East End pie and mash shop as much as possible,” said Mrs Munford.

“The decor will be in the distinctive style with tiled walls. A lot of the London pie and mash shops have seating booths but we won’t be able to do that in this shop but we will be having tiles.”

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 that many shops claim to have their very own secret recipe for. Very much an acquired taste, jellied eels consists of chopped eels boiled in a spiced stock and set in jelly.

Jellied Eels are a traditional dish originating from the 18th century. Picture: GettyJellied Eels are a traditional dish originating from the 18th century. Picture: Getty

Mrs Munford said: “For those who like the traditional we will have jellied eels, pie and mash and liquor but we are also going to offer alternatives like mushy peas, although that is not traditional. We will also be doing vegan and vegetarian options.

The couple came up with idea for Cockney culinary delicacies after researching what food people felt was missing from the town. They have been getting tips from their mothers who both come from London.

All the pies will be baked on site using beef reared just outside Diss.

Pearly Kings and Queens are a traditional feature of East End life and one will attend the opening of the pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Archant LibraryPearly Kings and Queens are a traditional feature of East End life and one will attend the opening of the pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Archant Library

“We thought there may be a gap in the market,” said Mrs Munford. “As far as we can see pie and mash shops are very sparse in East Anglia. I think there are ones in Felixstowe and Clacton but not near us.

“My husband and I are both chefs and went to college together. He has been head chef, been a lecturer, opened restaurants and bars, and now he just wanted to have his own little place.

“We are both really excited. I was surprised when he suggested it and our parents can’t believe we’re doing pie and mash, but we think it’s something that Diss will like.”

Jon and Maria Munford have begun work to transform a former tearoom into a traditional pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Simon ParkinJon and Maria Munford have begun work to transform a former tearoom into a traditional pie and mash shop in Diss. Picture: Simon Parkin

PIE AND MASH SHOPS

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.

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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