Take me home please
Cockney's, 314 Portobello Road
Season 2014-2015

The less-visited end of Portobello was the scene of rampant construction when we visited Cockney's on 29th January. It's not often you see the looming hulk of the Trellick diminished by a jib-monster, but it's a sign of the times in fashionable West London, where Cooke's of Goldhawk has been under the shadow of the wrecker's ball for some years. For the time being, Cockney's remains comfortingly unchanged inside and out – apart from the tariff of course.

Mike Goldwater was chuffed to the muffler to be stuffing steaming Cockney delicacies down his pie hole. He has clung tenaciously to bronze position in the table, upon which he commented this occasion, 'It's trench warfare from now on . . .'

We met Doug Benford, who was keen to show off his new luminescent courier bag before tackling a less-than-traditional gravy-garnished pie, mash and peas. I was unclear if Doug's offering a, er, 'Dougie-bag' service, but I imagine it would extend no further than a half mile from Brentford town centre.

[Far right] Rikk Lucas is a master of slice-n-dice.

The satellite view, from an altitude of 12 inches.

Probes sent back these astonishing images from the surface.

These are the moment-recorders of the Pie and Mash Club, capturing the beauty in the pie of the upholder.

These chaps certainly bent to the task.

Chris Charalambous demonstrates the correct method for seasoning a pie, while Statto is caught cack-handed with the cutlery. A right hander generally favours the spoon for cut-and-shovel, with the fork in supporting role.

Judith and Jean are keen contributors to the historical and informative chat. Jean grew up in Bermondsey at an unspecified point in the Peek-Frean years, 1866–1989. Back then, pie and mash was a lunchtime treat on a day down the market, and Peek-Freans was the number one career choice for a Bermondsey biscuit-town girl.

You can't run a premier pie shop without an apron, marigolds and a good deal of elbow grease. These ladies have all the necessary attributes. Here they are paused for the briefest moment: Ruth Phillips [left] and her able assistant Cathy.

[Below] Portobello belles.

The club, in good cheer at the end of a tasty session. Here we must give thanks to our young dough-wrangler Billy Phillips for his heroic behind-the-scenes work in the Cockney kitchen.

Two of the crew departed early: Chris C for the furthermost reaches of England, and Rich Lucas for a most inconvenient work detail (pictured).

The 2 J's were dead set on puds from sun-up, but Cockney's don't do sweets. They got their just and crumbly desserts in The Eagle, Ladbroke Grove, whither we wandered for the wetment of our whistles.

Twilight falls on Kensal Green gasometers.