What goes into the making of a great East London pie?

G. Kelly shopfront. Home of the East London pie. Pic: Lamees Altalebi

G. Kelly shopfront. Home of the East London pie. Pic: Neil Vening

To all pie fanatics out there, this week is British Pie Week and Eastlondonlines celebrated by visiting G. Kelly on Roman Road Market to learn the secrets to creating the perfect pie.

Pies are considered to be one of the real British classics; from those with fruits inside and caster sugar dusted on top to the juicy savoury pies stuffed with meat and gravy.

Neil Vening, 23, a third-generation baker at the G. Kelly pie shop, said G. Kelly’s only uses British minced beef ensuring the freshness and the quality of the meat. As for their chicken pies, they are made from British free-range chicken.

Vening told Eastlondonlines about the secret to a sweet meat pie. “We cook it ‘hard and fast’ – as I like to call it, like a steak. Whereas up north they would maybe steam the beef up for a few hours first”, he said.

Taking us into the kitchen, he gave us an exclusive behind the scenes look into making pies.

But, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, fear not. You won’t miss out on the experience of trying one of Britain’s traditional foods. The Tower Hamlets’ pie shop also has vegan pies, which G Kelly’s bakers ensure are cooked separately from the meat pies to eliminate any potential cross contamination.

All of G Kelly’s hand-made pies are served with mashed potato and a green coloured, parsley based sauce called liquor, which usually goes with traditional pie and mash.

Carl Truman, 46, a freelancer in training development from Surrey, said: “There is nothing to beat a really good meat pie to be honest”, he added, “It is a good source of comfort food especially with the cold weather”.

We thought it would only be right to give these pies a try after learning how to make them. So, we carried out a live pie-tasting session, with a vegan pie – not forgetting a drop of vinegar or chili sauce.

David Huante, 20, a US transfer student at Queen Mary University, had his second pie at G. Kelly’s. He said: “I had my first pie about a month ago and I just had the craving again. I came across like a list of really good places to get pies and this [G. Kelly] is the closest.”

G. Kelly is a shop founded by George Kelly, Vening’s grandfather’s brother in law, in 1937, giving his name to the in-house bakery.

The shop is a family business and currently run by Neil Vening.

If you want to try one of G Kelly’s pies and mash, check out their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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