Take me home please
Robins, High Street, Wanstead
Season 2013-2014

A warm Wanstead welcome wafted over the wanderers of the Pie and Mash Club as they crossed the threshold of Robins on 4th April. Bearing in mind this is a recently installed pie and mash shop, particular attention has been paid to the decor, which carries a bold black and white theme throughout. I call it 'tudor 'n' tiles'.

One of the distinguishing features of this shop is a large black and white striped canopy to the side which shelters a pavement dining area for those who prefer their pies al fresco.

An immaculate lady in white, appropriately named April, was on hand with a basin of traditional delicacies.


And senior pie man Ted stepped out between tray-loads to get the measure of the Pie and Mash Club.

Mike's monstrous mandibles were soon in motion. The mild-mannered movie-maker from Middlesex was on his way to a true 'Noah's Ark' – that's two of everything, including afters.

The second and first seeds respectively getting ready to appetise – bread is free.

Even Judith Deschamps had the eels, which received the enthusiastic approval of Edward's opposable digits.

As ever, the event was heavily photographed.

Ted has been making pies since Edward Mosse was in nap-pies – an impressive 32 years. He's the nephew of that redoubtable mash matriarch June Robins, whom we met last year in Southend.

These gilded hemispheres . . .

Made with 100% Scottish beef, the Robins vehicle is modestly proportioned but satisfyingly tasty, with an inherent gravy which tends to make for a soggy undercarriage.

Although I only had three, I could easily have handled another. Charalambous effortlessly accumulated 49 points, and we both concluded that these were perfect competition pies.

Judith Deschamps likes an application of the hot stuff straight onto her pie-lids . . .

. . . whereas an artistic drizzle of vinegar is the preference of ex-Eastender Denise Rouse. This was the final appearance in what has been a remarkable season for the lady from Royal Berkamsted, as she set the best ever points-haul in the ladies' division.

Elsewhere in this compact dining room, there was a refreshing lack of drama from these two national theatrics, Ian Burr and Edward Mousse.

For Jenny and Lloyd, Robins is a Friday lunchtime favourite.

Charalambous's cream-covered apple pie.

Statto's syrup pud in a pat of ice cream.

'Extra sugar' is also an option.

Sugar daddy Chris Charalambous will be embarking on 'Parenthood Part Two' at the end of the year – congratulations Chris. As is customary, his good lady is carrying the pregnancy, but he's manfully accepted the challenge of eating for two.

The dessertification of Edward Mosse.

After every whim of the club had been executed, our hostess April took her own lunch outside. I glimpsed an off-menu item before it was craftily concealed from my camera.

Ham and Ilford now closed, but trading continues in Basildon and Romford, along with Southend and the portakabin in Gallion's Reach. And don't forget their unique 'poached salmon, mash and liquor' option.

Say 'pies'.

Mere minutes distant is The Cuckfield, its extensive beer garden ideal for libation, inhalation and general relaxation. Robins Pie and Mash Shop can only add value to this delightful conservation area.