Just around the corner from Elephant & Castle, Arments has been operating since 1914. On a good day, the pies are remarkable, with flaky-pastry lids and a minced beef filling with plenty of gravy and no gristle. Don’t miss the smooth mash, generally brilliant liquor and signature chilli vinegar. There are veggie and fruit pies too, and Arments is also known for its jellied eels.
Like many other great things in London, classic cockney pie and mash was created among poor working-class and immigrant communities – many of them Italian. From the nineteenth century to the 1990s, London had a pie ’n’ mash shop on almost every high street. Now, these tiled beauties are an endangered species. Often small family-run businesses, some have been open for a century or more continuously, and the survivors are hubs for local communities. But they have struggled as London’s menu has diversified into the street food of six continents. If you’re into Instagramming your avo, take note: along with Sunday roasts, fish ’n’ chips and full-english fry-ups, this city was built on pies, mash, eels and liquor. So why not ditch the chicken and forego the falafel and tuck into the OG food of London?