Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Manze's - A Slice of Englishness

the counter

Yesterday was a busy day indeed. Before going to the demonstration, I spent some time in deepest Deptford with Slightly. We had a bit of work to do on our new project LIVE.PLAY.RIDE. (more about that soon, I expect). We met at the Witcomb Cycles shop and then he took me to Manze's an "authentic" pie and mash shop he has been harping on for ages.

His ("famous") gran used to work there and they apparently do the best pies in the whole world. Slightly had tried to convert me to pies and mash some time ago by taking me to a now defunct shop in Greenwich. I can't say I had been impressed as the was rather tasteless (note to the Brits: you don't necessarily need to boil something to make it edible).

So we walked up the colourful and rather exotic Deptford High Street almost all the way Evelyn Street. The shop itself, appart for a soft drinks chill cabinet, seems in the time wrap since the beginning of the last century: narrow wooden benched, marbletop tables, white tiles on the walls and sawdust on the floor. Deliciously quaint.

The sitting area

On the wall (left hand corner of the picture above), a framed picture commemorates a visit by Clement Freud who is apparently a regular. Slightly also proudly informed me that "everybody" has been here (Churchill, Noel Coward). The shop apparently also has some old document showing that it provided pickled pies to Captain Cook on his first journey. Slightly, himself, seems a little like a son of the house and the hostess asked him at length about his gran. We leave without paying: on the house. Not that we would have broken the bank, everything is so cheap.

We went and sat towards the back of the shop not far from the open door to the kitchen. The muffled sounds of what seems to be the World Service waft towards us. To complete the experience, we are treated to bits of the opening music for Eastenders (probably a trailer), God Save the Queen when the Service hands over to Radio4 at 2pm and just after the news, of course,The Archers. How much more English can you get?

Pies and mash, liqueur and gravyFinally our plates are here (we already have our mugs of tea): Two pies and one mash for slightly with liqueur and one pie and two mash for me with gravy as my first encounter with liqueur was not the most successful. Manze's apparently have their own secret receipe for the stuff which makes "everybody go wild" on it (dixit Slightly's gran). This is indeed much better stuff than on my previous experience, although I still find the pie and gravy a little cloying. I supposed it is an acquired taste and I might indeed now be willing to work on it a little more.

On our way back to his place, Slightly found a bought (for 50p) a metal teapot in a charity shop, the likes of which are used at that old favourite of ours, Wong Kei.

Once we had told her of our experience, Slightly's gran was magnanimus enough to dub me a "proper Londoner now" and advised me to "keep up with the pies".

204 Deptford High Street
Deptford SE8 3PR

Almost across the street, you can find Goddard's; another renowned pie and mash shop.

Two days, later, Slightly is catching up and has posted about our visit to the shop: here.

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  1. You're more of a Londoner than I'll ever be, that's for sure. I've never had pie 'n' mash, despite living there for years. You'll be moving on to jellied eels next - chapeau!!

  2. I think I'll give eels a rain check if you don't mind... I can't sell out completely, can I? ;O)

  3. Oh god avoid the eels!!!!

    - Goddard's is not as nice!


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