One of east London’s few remaining traditional pie and mash shops, G. Kelly has quietly reopened following a two-year closure for refurbishment, as first announced by Roman Road London. One of two London pie shops carrying this name, the independently run Bow site has been operating from this location on Roman Road since 1939.
Demanding long queues during its first weekend of trading since its extensive restoration period, the venue has been refreshed with new gleaming white tiles from Johnson Tiles in Stoke-on-Trent to match the original tiles covered during the 1980s. Elsewhere, the interiors have been specifically redesigned to mirror the shop’s original dining room. The partition has been removed to make way for a disabled toilet (a pie shop rarity), with traditional marble table-tops joined by metal bench seating and globe lighting. A new bakehouse has also been built to comply with modern standards. As for the food, G. Kelly’s offering is strictly traditional, though vegan pies (and gravy in place of liquor) are available on request.
“The aim always was to keep all of the features in here, and to restore it as close to it was when we opened in 1939, as a lot of it had been changed gradually, and changed without the foresight of conservation,” G. Kelly’s Neil Vening told Eater. “The shop was very, very worn out — not as pristine as the likes of Manze’s in Walthamstow, which is Grade-I listed and just incredible. We’d lost the original shop front — it got blown up in the Blitz — but we kept as much of that as possible and restored it.”
It somewhat goes against a modern trend, one that has seen a number of London’s original pie and mash shops close because of diminishing popularity and challenging business conditions. Most recently, F. Cooke on Broadway Market in Hackney announced it would close after more than 100 years’ of business. M. Manze on Chapel Market in Islington announced its closure in the summer of 2017, after 106 years, A.J. Goddard closed in Deptford last autumn.
(Although the Broadway Market site has been acquired by the upmarket fishmonger Fin and Flounder, which will open a fish bar on the premises, Cooke’s remains open for business.)
Once properly up and running, G. Kelly will aim to open for lunch every day (including Sundays) and will open later on Fridays and Saturdays.