Take me home please
T & J Kelly, Debden Broadway
Season 2013-2014

Striding boldly into the most precipitatious winter since records began in 1767, intrepid Pie and Mashers braved gusting squalls on the last day of January to reach their port-in-a-storm, T&J Kelly of Debden. It's another venue new to the Club.

Debden Broadway is comprised of two enormous parallel swathes of masonry in the Brutalist style. It was constructed by WW2 POWs in the post-war social housing boom. Here you'll find typical high street shops and local businesses at street level, supporting three storeys of council flats above.

A humble grey shopfront stands sentinel at the eastern approach from the rolling Essex countryside. It's a pillar of stodge in this concrete community, and has been a house of pies since the Broadway's opening in the 1950s.

When we arrived the windows were steamed up. As we crossed the threshold into a canary-coloured cavern of cosiness, Mike G's double glazing misted over accordingly.

Pine furniture was arrayed along the left-side wall and in the rear area beyond the counter, which occupies the right-side wall. The homely effect was enhanced by a calor gas heater.

Silver liquor pails, mash buckets and pie trays completed the picture counter-side.
There was a sizeable Friday lunchtime crowd as the stalwarts got stuck into their stewy starters.
It looks like a still from a Romero splatter flick, but these mini-steaks in their own jus take on a whole new dimension with a splash of Morrison's 'Habanero'. Highly recommended.

Mike G got a second helping of steam as he plunged into the soft underside of his Kelly's pies. A sensible liquid accompaniment was found in the form of a 'Big Time' Orange Cup [40p] and all was paid for from within the depths of his Dr Who wallet – it's roomier on the inside. He really is a Big Time Lord.

Denise Rouse joined this culinary excursion out east. Here she is captured in a moment of repose, clutching a classy mug of rosy lee.

Paul Grice himself presents a classy mug at these much photographed events.

[Right] Stat selects the chili vinny for ceremonial anointment.

[Far right] Edward Mosse operates the digging and lifting gear.

[Below] Chris Charalambous' first main course.

Chris Charalambous towards the end of his second plate.

His awesome form is built around a simple strategy – don't stop eating. If you recall, it was the 15-minute lapse between shops in this season's double header that saw him washed up on the rocks of remorse at Nathan's in November.

Two dignified customers occupied the love pews at the back of the pieditorium. Eileen and husband Arthur enjoy a regular Friday lunchtime treat at Kelly's, and with a degree of style and elegance we don't often see in such humble surroundings. It's pie-n-panache.
Enough vinegar for a pickling project.

The Kelly's display cabinet. Bottom shelf, centre: the Pie and Mash Club calling card.

Five desserts were ordered, and presently a steaming confection came under the critical scrutiny of Mike G's spoon.


This was not the advertised home-made bread pudding, but custard-covered jam roly-poly. The close-up reveals a multi-layered sponge. Light, almost fluffy in texture and not overly sweet, it combined exquisitely with the light, lump-free custard [20p extra].

This was a delicacy direct from Iceland. The shop, not the country. You could say I was a 'trifle' disappointed to learn this, but it was a pleasingly candid admission from shop management. And good news for those of you wishing to recreate the experience at home.

Here is our senior pieman, Greg. His dad took over a going concern in 1984, and Greg started helping him in 1989. For the past 15 years Greg has run this shop with business partner Paul, a descendent of the Bethnal Green Road Kellys.

Our affable dinner ladies on the day were Carol and 'Teddy', so called for her longstanding admiration of the ex-England striker and local legend.

[Above] Paul and Chris go halvos on afters.

[Right] JRP RIP.

It was some time later that we reassembled ourselves for the obligatory pavement shot.

The shop record is 16 pies, 4 mash plus requisite liquor. However this was achieved in two sittings either side of a brief trip to William Hill over the road. That all important proof of quantitative retention is missing, so this must remain simply an impressive folklore curio.

Debden's take on a Regency Crescent.

I urge you to visit.