Pie and mash shop to move from East End as residents just want lattes

Traditional pie, mash and eel shop is ‘forced to move from East End because new residents just want lattes and paninis’

  • F. Cooke’s pie shop in Harold Hill, Romford is being forced out of the East End
  • Pie and mash is a traditional cheap meal popular with Victorian dock workers
  • But shop worker Chi Hart said gentrification means the customer base changed 

A traditional pie, mash and eel shop has been forced to move from the East End of London because new residents ‘just want lattes and paninis’. 

F. Cooke’s pies is a family-run chain originally established in Brick Lane in 1862 by Robert Cooke. 

In 2010 his granddaughter Emma opened a branch in Harold Hill in Romford – but it is now being forced to move from its traditional location due to ‘gentrification’. 

The shops sell minced beef and kidney pies with mashed potatoes and green liquor sauce, made from parsley, chicken stock, butter and flour. 

Chi Hart, who is married to Emma and works in the Harold Hill branch, said: ‘We had shops in Hoxton, Bethnal Green and Broadway market, but with the gentrification of the area the customer base just changed. 

‘A lot of the East Enders were moving out to Essex or [the outer boroughs of London]. It’s lattes and paninis around [the East End] now.’ 

Traditional pie, mash and eel shop F. Cooke has been forced to move from Harold Hill in the East End of London because new residents ‘just want lattes and paninis’

Robert Cooke began the pie and mash chain in 1862 in Brick Lane and in 2010 his granddaughter Emma opened the Romford Branch


Chi Hart, who is married to Emma and works in the Harold Hill branch, said residents now want a latte over traditional jellied eels (file image)

Mr Hart said: ‘A lot of the East Enders were moving out to Essex or [the outer boroughs of London]. It’s lattes and paninis around [the East End] now’

The legendary cockney meal, which also comes with an option of jellied eels, was easily portable and a cheap meal for the working class, becoming especially popular with Victorian dock workers. 

Eels were one of the few types of fish that could survive the heavy pollution of the River Thames at the time.  

Mr Hart said apps such as UberEats and Deliveroo helped the chain to cope with the burdens of covid – but now the distinctive green signs of pie and mash shops are being forced out of east London. 

Pie and mash shops usually have white tile walls and marble floors and countertops to make them easy to clean. 

The shop is open from 10am until 6pm Monday to Thursday – and until 7pm on Friday and Saturday. 

You can get one pie and one mash for £4.25 and a small portion of jellied eels for £4.50 and a large for £9. 

You can get one pie and one mash for £4.25 and a small portion of jellied eels for £4.50 and a large for £9

Pie and mash shops usually have white tile walls and marble floors and countertops to make them easy to clean

The legendary cockney meal was easily portable and a cheap meal for the working class

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