Take me home please
L. Manze, 9 Fawkon Walk, Hoddesdon
Season 2016-2017

New year, new shop: in this case a recently-opened outpost of L. Manze in the heart of Herts at Hoddesdon. A party of London mashketeers alighted at Broxbourne BR, which sits some 25 miles north of Greenwich on the pie meridian. A brisk walk along a muddy river path brought the rovers into the centre of this old coaching stop on the London to Cambridge road.

At the end of a small precinct off the High Street we found the shop, which has been in operation since September 2015. Inside, newcomer Terry Steadman was already ploughing a steady furrow.


Sue [above] was on hand to take our orders from a comprehensive menu board. The only things noticeably absent were custard, bovril and ordinary sherry.

We were very much on the champ's manor, being no more than a welly’s throw from his home at Rye House. But for how much longer? – the pie-pushing postie has put in for a transfer to the Far North.


Two young gallivants grapple with their grub.


Overview of a first-class presentation: Manze's have faithfully exported the flavour of E17 into rural Hertfordshire.


Ray G drove through a mid-morning flurry in his trusty old silver Merc to join the fun.

Nick Everton cleared a full day from his busy schedule – when it comes to pie and mash he is not to be refused.


The Club Calling Card got lost in the post, so we caught them on the hop with our eel orders. I believe these were jellies warmed up – ample chunks, but disappointingly flaccid in the flesh.

Here is our dynamic young pieman, Brad. After the rush, he had time for a sit-down lunch with his own pals, dining on an unusual liquor and gravy combo.

Pie hostesses don’t come much more seasoned than Lisa [on the right], whom we’ve met over the years at both Chapel Street and Walthamstow. Lisa is currently on call between this branch and Walthamstow, with a view also to serving at a soon-to-open outlet in Braintree. We’ll keep you abreast of developments.

There was an unusual array of sweets on the counter but that was not the dessert.


. . . it was the fruit pie – rhubarb or apple.

Brothers-in-beige? Buddies-in-buff? 'The dun-namic duo?


As it happens the tan twosome was perfectly dressed for the muted elegance of a dining room in the contemporary style.

Along with the basic staples, I thought the signage, decor and overall ambience were spot-on. The laminate flooring gives it a modern, yet homely, feel while mirrors, ceiling strips and hanging lamps all nod to the classic L. Manze ‘look'.

The first all-male assembly since Friday 8th February 2011 – I think.

Immediate refreshment was sought in the White Swan just up the High Street. On the way back to the station there was an additional stop in the Golden Lion, an authentic country boozer boasting open fire, wood burner and neither level horizontal nor perpendicular upright.

A grand day out