Take me home please
Brook, 833 Dagenham Road RM10 7UP
Season 2016-2017

A dank, drear and drizzlesome dinner date in a distant district of Dagenham did not dissuade a dozen determined Pie and Mashers from all walks of life, despite a day of District Line disruption.

WIth the highest Pie Shop street number this side of the Atlantic, the squat and unassuming premises of 833 Dagenham Road have been operated as Brook Pie and Mash since the mid 1970's.

Once over the threshold we found ourselves in a medium-sized square dining room bustling with local lunchers. The menu and tariff presented few surprises, aside from some well-considered sides plus a shepherd's pie to order. There's an OAP deal all day Tuesday.


A few tables came free in the middle and we got down to business. Tom Leader rocked up, followed shortly after by Al Smith, taking his last p-n-m before his annual antipodean migration.

Drivers Non-Brewed is the standard condiment provided on each table; for the adventurous there is a bottle of something sinister available at the counter.

I snapped talented lensman Mike Goldwater dipping into his hot eels. He's the one responsible for our best eye/mouth-watering close-ups.

And lo, 5-times World Champion Chris 'CC-Rider' Charalambous reappeared after a summer of slimming, with a vastly reduced outlay before him. Nevertheless it was a privilege to share the formica with him, along with enthusiastic newbie Ray Goldstone.

Edward Wasp steadied himself with his usual one of everything; Rich Lucas amassed the mash for a modest season debut of 17 points. When you're out of shape, it's a good idea to keep your throat muscles warm with a much-loved muffler.

Ladies present: Sue Madigan – hello again Sue; Judith Deschamps.

Jean and Denise, who kicked off with a bowl of jellies.

Here's our talented and hard working pie man, Alan, who has been at the helm of Brook these past 15 years. I thought there was a touch of Clooney about our genial host from Cyprus, who rises at 5 each morning to grapple with the raw ingredients of our favourite face-fillers.

Pie ladies, Lee and Lindsey.

Alan's graft and craft has made this shop a well-loved favourite in the area, as these local educators will attest.

Mother and daughter spending some quality time together.

I caught up with working man Luke, who was introducing colleague Dimitri to his first taste of our regional dish. For Luke, Brook is the best of the pie shops in this region – he is a regular 'user' who honed his taste buds at Lediard of Stratford. That first and formative taste of pie and mash often becomes the benchmark for all future comparisons, and Brook compares favourably in the book of Luke.

In session. With a hint of West Ham.

Afters consisted of the usual suspects, but Leader threw a statistical curve ball by ordering an ice cream floater. I believe – fairly – that this constitutes a half-measure of dessert.

Team P-n-M under the awning.

Luckily the Eastbrook was one minute's walk away. We paid by coin.