'They just want lattes and paninis now' Legendary East End pie and mash shop to move out due to gentrification

28 November 2022, 15:17 | Updated: 28 November 2022, 15:28

F. Cooke's Broadway Market branch in 2013.
F. Cooke's Broadway Market branch in 2013. Picture: Alamy

By Chris Samuel

One of London's best pie, mash and eel shops has been forced to move out of the East End of London, with locals favouring lattes and paninis.

Family run chain F. Cooke's pies was originally established in Brick Lane in 1862 by Robert Cooke.

But Chi Hart, a worker in its Harold Hill branch, said the chain has had to move from its traditional East End home due to 'gentrification'.

He said the chain's Broadway Market branch in Hackney closed three years ago because of a change in customer base.

The shops offer minced beef and kidney pies with mashed potatoes and green liquor sauce, made from parsley, chicken stock, butter and flour.

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Mr Hart, who works in the Harold Hill branch, said: 'We had shops in Hoxton, Bethnal Green and Broadway market, but with the gentrification of the area the customer base just changed.

'A lot of the East Enders were moving out to Essex or [the outer boroughs of London]. It's lattes and paninis around [the East End] now.'

Pie and mash is a Cockney classic often served with jellied eels and was easy to carry and cheap for the working class, and was particularly popular with Victorian dock workers.

Eels were among the few types of fish that could survive the heavy pollution seen in the River Thames at the time.

Mr Hart said apps like Deliveroo and UberEats helped the chain cope with the pressures brought by Covid, but the distinctive green signs of the shops are dissapearing in east London.

But he added that the shops in Chelmsford, Bishop Stortford, and Romford remain very busy and popular.