Take me home please
Scotts, The Walnuts, Orpington
Season 2013-2014

A pleasant westerly breeze ruffled the Union Flag – let's enjoy it while we still can – at Orpington Station on the noon of 21st February last. The express service from Charing Cross took just over 20 minutes, catapulting the intrepid Pie and Mashers into a hitherto unexplored region of the Greater London Area.

We were questing in search of a local pie house of repute, Scotts of the Walnuts. A walk of some 15 minutes took us downhill from station into town, passing a mighty Tesco extra into a picturesque High Street past its prime. (We counted 14 charity shops.) At its further end is a precinct leading to the Walnuts Shopping Centre, and it was at the entrance to this imposing edifice that we found what we were seeking.

Inside, Chris Charalambous was tucking into a stewed eel and liquor starter. That grisly picture on the right is my appetiser – they had run out of bowls.

This aerial shot shows what a handsome prospect a three and one at Scotts can be.

They were soon overturned by the Postmaster General.

The picture on the far right describes a process known as 'mosse-stication'.

The Bunteresque expression on this young chap's physog is down to the conjunction of Pie and Mash with his 24th birthday. He was only 4 when our story began – many a-pie returns, Mike.

[Far right] Feast your eyes on that glorious grub close-up.

Here is Jean Cunliffe with pal Judith Deschamps. Jean was brought up in Bermondsey and, when there was less money around, would often share a meal with her brother. On this day, Jean was disappointed by the cold plate on which her food was served.

Dodge and Hazel drove over from Mitcham to join us in the many-chequered dining room of Scotts.

Denise Rouse has clocked an impressive number of pie miles to maintain her current place in the top five of the league. It could be the best season yet for the ladies.

Preston Paul prefers to pepper his pies.

A pause for fork.

Here is our host Mark. I thought he had something of the performer about him, as he whirled industriously between kitchen and dining room.

It's because of Mark the mash is so smooth here. You almost think it's powdered potato but it tastes fresh – and no Pie Shop would try that on, surely? Scotts generally serve a specially selected Scottish Estima, mashed to silky consistency with the addition of butter. That, combined with what looks like a shortcrust pastry vehicle, makes for quite a filling – and tasty – meal.

Scotts was chock-full of young and old alike. These young ladies were clearly no strangers to delicious and nutritious scoff.

Orpington youth tuck in. This young shaver nearside has a unique 'lid-first' approach to his tucker . . . I swear to you I never seen anyfink like It!

Jill and Jean.

The shop was humming with activity and Jill was telling me it's always like this on Friday and Saturday lunchtimes. It's one of two 'Scotts', the other a couple of miles away at Cotmandene Crescent, St Mary Cray.

Flying saucer attack.

Flying saucers attacked. It was treacle sponge in custard.

Goldwater gets gobular.

You don't have to be walnuts to eat here but it helps.

Despite its unlikely location, Scotts Pie and Mash Shop is a local gem and the perfect after-mall antidote, offering scrumptious scran at down-to-earth prices. Here beats the cultural heart of the Big 'O'.

Inside the Maxwell Arms.

Here we paused for a pint on the way back up to the station. Mike G had nodded off into a carbohydrate comfort zone – the day's excitement had got the better of him.

Platform souls at the Big 'O'. You should gO.