Friday, 10 January 2014

Mother Mash - Ganton Street

I don't know when it happened, but it did. No more the giddy schoolboy from 6-months ago, relishing the trip to central London, neck craned toward the sky, tie wrapped around my head, sliding on knees across the highly polished floor of Trafalgar Square. Now, the west of Zone 1 only exists below ground. A place where tube lines connect and 'Way Out' signs are presumably someone's idea of a joke. The nuclear apocalypse realised, albeit one that only did surface damage.

Apparently, life does exist above ground, but it's an odd existence. Hundreds of feet drag themselves along Oxford Street, trying to buy their own reflection, before slumping into a red booth at one of the neon-light straddled steak houses. Best to stick to the back streets - they're far safer. Here you'll find such delights as Patty and Bun, MeatLiquor, Bodean's, and, presumably wedged between another palace of burgers and another meat emporium, Mother Mash. I'm a busy man, so I didn't have time to look.

Mother Mash, as the name suggests, specialises in mash served with sausages, pies, and gravy. Presumable a former alleyway or Dickensian hovel, the booths, benches, white tiles, and skylights give a smart finish to the decor, something many wouldn't associated with such standard fare, but it's about time pie 'n' mash was recognised for the trendy gastro-treat it is. Service was quick and as the menu was quite short - a definite plus - it matched my decision. Colcannon mash, steak pie, and traditional gravy. The mash was a winner, the gravy as described, although I knew when I ordered that I should have had the farmer's gravy. Farmers are never wrong. Bacon, wine, onions, and mushrooms, flavourful and one of your five-a-day.

Now for the pie. As the name suggests, Mother Mash focuses on mash, so perhaps here we have our excuse, but regardless I was still disappointed with the pie. Great pastry. Flaky, crisp with no burnt bits, and not overly salty. The meat, though, was dry. Dry, dry, dry. Even with the abundance of gravy, this still required most of my London Pride (4.7%) to finish off. Such a shame.

"The turkey's a little dry!
Oh, foe, what demon from the depths of hell created thee!"

I still hadn't quite had my fill of pies for the evening though. I was willing to give Mother Mash a second chance, enter the apple and blackberry pie. A sad looking thing, a sunken pie drowned beneath a small pond of custard. Underneath the collapsed roof, four or five blackberries sat alone: the apple had clearly left the building, as had the flavour. On a blind taste-test I defy anyone to tell me that this pie had ever been introduced to, let alone contained, fruit.

As scathing as my review may be, Mother Mash is worth a visit, saved by the beauty of pies - the fact that, aside from the common factor of being incased in pastry, different pies are hugely different. While one can be a failure, another can be a success. With a 6.4 on the Pierate scale perhaps the steak and ale needs sampling next time...

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