Take me home please
Winnie's, 50 Station Road, Chingford
Season 2015-2016

At the gateway to Epping Forest, Chingford has an edge-of-town character, but boasts a lengthy 2-part shopping parade covering most of the consumer bases. Winnie's Pie Shop has been operational for just 5 months. As part of its ongoing programme to seek out new pie-forms, the Pie and Mash Club converged upon these premises for lunch on Friday 6th November.

The menuboard held few surprises – apart from the mock-ecclesiastical styling and a typo in 'Jerusalem':
'I shall not cease from metal fight'.

Our arrival at 13.07 was 4 minutes ahead of schedule but our good-humoured host Russ was unfazed.

While the connoisseurs awaited the stewed eel starters they were treated to the sight of a pro-celebrity of the Pie and Mash Scene. Although no longer in the prime of his youth, it was nevertheless a privilege to witness founder member Jamie 'Jeff' Tanner going about a modest 2-and-1. Hardly a suprise though – all he had to do was get out of bed, pull on a pair of shorts and walk around the corner in his slippers.

For Judith and Jean, pie and mash usually tops off a morning of charity-shop trawling. Chingford's well-stocked parade had already been under their rigorous scrutiny for more than an hour before they crossed the threshold of Winnie's to review the swag.
Eels with, eels without.
You'd be forgiven for thinking we were chowing down in a branch of Waterstone's book shop. However it's nothing more than a screen-printed 'mood-board' behind those eel-guzzlers.
This immaculate 3-and-1 was fully four-dimensional and filling fodder. The overall presentation was of a high standard: mash was moist and fluffy, and the pies well-filled with unusually delicate and crisp pastry lids. However the mince interior could have done with a tad more seasoning for optimal impact on the palette.

The steaming tucker was hotly anticipated by the horde.

The Charalambouses get some in.

Junior had been drumming expectantly on the table since our arrival in store. A shovelful of stodge had the desired tranquilising effect.

That is not Ed's beaker.

Some of you will say that's wrong. But the precision cutlery handling of ex-champ Rikk Lucas should be admired in its own right.

Mike G was happy enough to notch up another nosh newbie. There'll be additions to the grub gallery on The Club's Facebook Page of course. Thanks to the efforts of this wunderkind we now have 3.12k 'likes'.

I thought I detected a long-distance-albatross look in Big Al's eyes. You could call it a 12,000-mile stare – he's off to New Zealand for another 6-month stretch come Monday.

The herd at trough.

Mike clowned gamely for the younger Charalambous.

There's a mystery shopper in the background of this picture. A delicious pie and mash meal in the sparkling company of the Pie and Mash Club is yours if you can successfully identify the lady. Email your answer plus means of identification to us here.

Perhaps they should add a 'babyccino' to that hot drinks selection.

E. Mosse continued the clowning.

J. Deschamps was not amused during 'hunt the pie'.

Below the custard line, I discovered a particularly satisfying cherry lava pie with real fruit filling for added, er, realism.

The lads thoughtfully remembered my birthday by means of a generous theatre token and a wonderful 'Blunders of the Waterways' dishtowel. I can't wait to wash up.

Winnie's is a modest operation as the pie cabinet and staff of two attest. However Russ and Cheryl processed us with style and a smile, and the shop is not without a certain unique charm.

Current opening hours are:
Mon: 11am to 5pm
Tues to Fri: 11am to 8pm
Sat: 11am to 5pm
Sun: 11am to 3pm
but if you are thinking of going on Sunday call ahead on 020 8524 1824 as a recent scouting party found it closed.

Thence to the Station House for a quencher.