- Eleanor Russell
One of London’s most famous dishes, the pie has been around since the Victorian era, when it was sold cheaply as street food. The most common filling used to be eels, but nowadays steak, chicken or lamb are more popular options, accompanied by mashed potato and gravy. Some pie makers have taken the dish even further, using innovative flavour and ingredient combinations to give this London tradition a makeover. Discover some of the finest pie and mash establishments around the city with our list of the upper crust.
Proud inventors of over 120 different types of pie, British food fans Square Pie expertly combine a crusty base with a puff pastry top to create the perfect vessel for their delicious fillings. The recipes for the different sorts of pie have been carefully thought-out in order to pair each ingredient with the right accompaniment, and each is made using high-quality, fresh produce. The obvious favourites are steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom and lamb and rosemary, but there are some tasty vegetarian options, including sweet potato and goat’s cheese. There’s even a seasonal special, a pie filled with turkey, bacon, vegetables and cranberries! For those who want a lighter lunch, the Skinny Pies or the aptly named Canapies make for a snack-sized yet still satisfying meal, and if you haven’t had enough after all that, why not grab a takeaway pie on your way out — unbaked so you can cook it yourself at home.
Address: Westfield Stratford City, World Food Court, Westfield Stratford City, London E20 1ES
Barrowboy and Banker
A grand split-level pub in London Bridge, Barrowboy and Banker pride themselves on their handmade pies. With a range of different options that make use of fresh, locally sourced seasonal ingredients, the thick crust and the buttery pastry are consistently perfect. The generous fillings include their famous steak and ale, chicken and chorizo and traditional fish pie, and there is also a Pie of the Day on offer and a vegetarian option. The pies are served with creamy mashed potato or chips, greens and a jug of gravy and are best enjoyed with a pint of ale. For real fans, you can even order the Ale and Pie Tasting Board — three miniature pies accompanied by three different types of ale. A busy and bustling establishment with friendly and attentive staff, Barrowboy and Banker are definitely strong contenders for the best pies in London.
The Barrowboy & Banker, 6-8 Borough High Street, London, UK, +44 20 7403 5415
The original home of pie and mash in London, M. Manze was established in 1902 and is somewhat of a legend in the city. It serves fresh pies baked on the day, which are made using good quality cuts of beef, alongside mashed potato and lashings of gravy or liquor (traditional parsley sauce), which is made using a special secret ingredient. There is also a vegetarian option available. True to Cockney tradition, there are stewed or jellied eels on offer if you’re feeling brave and want to taste a piece of London culture. It is a firm belief that the traditional fare at M. Manze proves the old saying true — “why fix something that isn’t broken”. So, if you’re in search of good old-fashioned, un-fussy food served in a charming setting, there’s really no better place.
M. Manze, 105 High Street Peckham, London, UK, +44 20 7277 6181
Located in Soho, pie shop Mother Mash makes eating delicious pies even easier with three simple steps. Firstly, customers can choose the type of mash they’d like — an incredible array ranging from classic milk-and-butter variety, to more adventurous variants such as sweet potato and bubble and squeak. To go with this, you can then select either free-range sausages or a hot pie — options include chicken, steak and even some choice vegetarian fillings. Finally, top the whole dish off with your choice of gravy. It is recommended to wash the meal down with a hearty pint of cider, of which there are several different types, and there are sweet pies and other decadent desserts available for those who are left wanting more. When it comes to fantastically tasty food that warms the soul, Mother Mash is top of the list.
Mother Mas, 26 Ganton Street, London, UK, +44 20 7494 9644
Battersea Pie Station
You can definitely find some interesting gems in Covent Garden, but none so tasty as the pies from Battersea Pie Station. Old-fashioned flaky pastry, free-range quality meat and flavourful fresh vegetables are combined to create some truly mouthwatering pies. Either stick to the tried and tested versions, or if you want to try something different, there are some more unusual varieties, including salmon, cod or prawn. You can then choose from a range of sides, such as the classic mashed potato, roast potatoes, seasonal greens, homemade coleslaw or two different fresh salads. The convenient location means that you can easily drop in for lunch after a morning’s shopping and head straight back out afterwards — although the pies are so good that you’ll want to linger over your meal.
Battersea Pie Station, Lower Ground Floor, 28 The Market, Covent Garden, London, UK, +44 20 7240 9566
A pub with a passion for pies and real ale, The Windmill in Mayfair houses two pie rooms and its very own Pie Club, which offers members the chance to attend exclusive events and tastings, as well as keep up with current pie news. For lunch or dinner, the award-winning steak, kidney and mushroom pie is a real show-stopper and has received well-deserved praise for its suet pastry and rich filling. There are many other beautifully made pies on offer, including several seasonal options, and you can choose to enjoy your pie with mashed potato, carrot and swede mash, chips or mushy peas. Why not round the meal off with a sumptuous dessert — there are ginger, sticky toffee and lemon puddings served with custard or ice cream. The Windmill even have their own YouTube channel where you can watch how their pies are lovingly crafted by hand!
The Windmill, 6/8 Mill Street, London, UK, +44 20 7491 8050
With a recipe that has been handed down for three generations, traditional pie shop G. Kelly definitely knows its stuff when it comes to London’s favourite pastry dish. This East End establishment has been serving pies for over 70 years, made using hand-minced beef straight from Smithfield Market and a delicious rough-puff pastry. All pies are accompanied by classic mashed potato and liquor and a dash of chili vinegar for those who like a touch of heat. The main attraction of G Kelly’s is the chance to enjoy a simple, honest dish in a traditional pie shop setting — expect to find wooden benches, tiled floors and cheerful staff. If you still have room for dessert afterwards, there are a number of different fruit pies and crumbles served with hot custard or ice cream.
G Kelly, 526 Roman Road Market, Bow, London, UK, +44 208 980 3165
A highly successful pie maker with numerous restaurants, cafes, pop-up stalls and their own supermarket brand, Pieminister have risen to the very top when it comes to pie and mash. They have created an amazing variety of flavours and fillings, from classic favourites like chicken and mushroom to beef steak with chorizo, butterbean and olive. These pies are best enjoyed in a pub setting with a pint of ale or beer, but for an eat-at-home option, the Pieminister Pie Pots are ingenious, simply replacing the usual pastry lid with potato. As for dessert, the Ice Cream Pies are a truly indulgent way to finish a meal and add a touch of fun to the menu.
Address: The Wharf Restaurant, Gabriels Wharf, 56 Upper Ground, London SE1 9PP
Goddards at Greenwich
There’s no better recipe than one which has been handed down through many generations, and the Goddard family’s secret recipe has certainly been a success. Goddards Pie and Mash shop in Greenwich has been open for business since 1890 and still finds itself busy today, selling chicken, lamb, beef, steak and vegetarian pies to their hungry customers. The time taken to slowly simmer the meat filling is evident with each bite and is perfectly accompanied by mashed potato, peas or baked beans and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. If you’re a veggie fan, the cheese and onion or the veggie soya pie are tasty meat-free alternatives, and they also sell jellied or stewed eels to complete the traditional lineup. Why not ask for a mug of tea to go with your meal — the ultimate British beverage! If you have room, it’s well worth ordering one of the beautiful desserts, including cherry pie, apple crumble or handmade bread and butter pudding.
Goddards at Greenwich, 22 King William Walk, Greenwich, London, UK, +44 20 8305 9612
Travelling pie shop pop-up Barnaby Sykes has been providing the festival crowds with delicious pies for over ten years. Each pie is made by hand using locally sourced ingredients, making for a fabulously buttery pastry crust and deliciously comforting fillings. On a cold winter’s night, the spicy butterbean pie is a must, served with creamy mash or chunky chips, rich gravy and mushy peas. Catch them at Winter Wonderland for a warming bite to eat after exploring the festive attractions — Christmas comfort food doesn’t get much better than this.