April 2017. Whenever I return to London from my foreign adventures I find myself gorging on all those amazing English dishes I’ve so badly missed during my time away. English breakfast, fish & chips, pork pies, Double Deckers, flapjacks, Branston pickle, the list could go on and on. Luckily Tooting Bec has got me covered with its fantastic Indian restaurant scene, the delightful pastries and sandwiches of Walker Wyatt Coffee and a cracking Sunday roast at Richard’s Kitchen. Another craving is a big old plate of pie, mash and liquor and for that I head here to Harrington’s, one of the city’s most historical pie and mash establishments.
April 2017. Harrington’s Pie and Mash opened its doors in the spring of 1908 by owners Bertie and Clara Harrington. On my maiden visit with my friend Henry I remember wondering if perhaps we’d actually been transported back to 1908. I can’t imagine its stark interior has changed that much over the years, just a few rows of wooden benches, those lime green tiles and a giant wooden boat carving adorning the main wall.
April 2017. The only other embellishment was this tatty old clock mounted on the grubby wall with its peeling paint and spidery cracks. I guess that some people would be revolted by the look of Harrington’s Pie & Mash but I found the vibe rather enchanting. I’d read that the Harrington family still own the place over a hundred years later, which had me pondering whether the wooden boat and the clock might be family heirlooms.
“Aaawright lav, what can a getcha?” asked the woman behind the counter. I wondered if she was actually a Harrington, but didn’t dare ask. Doing my best to ignore the jellied eels options (I mean honestly, how can people…) I ordered a simple pie, mash and liquor, which sounded so good Henry followed suit and we settled in at one of the bench tables.
When the food arrived we weren’t disappointed with the mountains of old-fashioned English grub set before us. The pie was nice and meaty, the mashed potato had a decent amount of fluff-factor and the liquor (actually a salty, non-alcoholic parsley sauce) drowned the lot if it to the point where it almost overran the plate. Let’s be clear this isn’t what you would call fine dining, but rather a generous dollop of old-fashioned, working class English grub. So well done Harrington’s Pie and Mash, who’ve given me yet another reason to champion the London neighbourhood of Tooting!
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