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harrington’s pie and mash, tooting – review

Last Updated on November 17, 2022 by Leyla Kazim

In the heart of Tooting in South West London, amongst the throngs of great Indian and Pakistani restaurants and market stalls, nestled in the bosom of a thriving and buzzing Indian sub-continent population, you can find a little nugget of London’s English culinary history. 

For on Selkirk Road stands the same establishment that has stood for the past 105 years and all the time remained in the hands of the same family – Harrington’s Pie & Mash shop.

As London’s pie and mash shops go, they’re a dying breed. Once the staple diet for the
cockney geezer, these days they face lofty competition from the latest pop-up, new
and exciting cuisines, and places that serve your drink on fire in a jam jar
with a fig roll – it’s a tough old market for an establishment where both the
interiors and menu have changed little in over a century. 

But there’s a lot of
love for this place and for the other remaining pie and mash shops in London
the loyalty from customers who once visited with their grandparents, now
grandparents themselves, gives Harrington’s a special place in people’s hearts.
I suspect many of their customers would sooner keel over before eating anywhere else – there’s
a lot to be said for that.

The format is as
such – you order your pies (£1.50 each). One, perhaps a couple – they’re not
huge. To accompany this is a standard side of mashed potato (£1.00), scooped up
with a spatula and arranged on the rim of your bowl. And for lubrication, a
portion of liquor (50p) – otherwise known as parsley sauce. If you’re feeling
adventurous, why not sample the jellied eels. 

Whilst it wasn’t the prettiest
plate I’ve ever been served, I’ll tell you what, it wasn’t half tasty. 

Home made pies are churned out from the back throughout the trading hours,
delivered to the front bar in the pie trays they were cooked in and piping hot.
Filled with ground mince beef and gravy, they’re fresh and tasty. The mash was
a little dry for my palette, but the parsley sauce helped loosen it up. Notice
the gelatinous consistency of the liquor – it’s traditionally made from the
water the eels are stewed in. Embrace it.

Harrington’s is a
bit like an old dear – sure the tiles are cracked, the paint is peeling and the
vinegar is served in old wine bottles with pierced screw tops. But the heart of
it is still beating strong and stands steadfast as a pillar in the community,
serving up tasty home made pies at low prices, feeding generations that span decades. 

While we were seated at around 5pm on a Sunday, a queue began to form
leading out the front door – families ordering take-out for their tea at home;
an old lady ordering what seemed to be a week’s worth of pies with jugs of liquor
decanted into Tupperwear; a very fragile couple sitting and eating in a comfortable
silence familiar to those who have been together for decades – I like to think they’ve come
here every week since they were childhood sweethearts. The lady behind the
counter knows almost everyone’s name and engages with the regulars – people feel
comfortable and at ease here.

If you want a
chance to live out any East End cockney fantasies and visit a slice of history frozen in time, don your flat cap and make your
way to Harrington’s for a taste of London’s past that hasn’t changed in for ever,
and probably never will. 

The bill


pie x 2 £3.00

mash £1.00

scoop of liquor £0.50

Total £4.50

My rating: 3/5

This review can also be found on the Your Local Guardian website.

Harringtons Pie & Mash Shop on Urbanspoon

Leyla Kazim
Leyla Kazim

Spending most of my time either eating or travelling. Constantly in awe of nature and on a mission to seek the joy in every moment. Please feel free to leave a comment below, I love hearing from you all!

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Roge Mills
    March 7, 2022 / 02:54

    I live in Florida. I am buying a flat in Colliers Wood. Why? Harringtons. The lady is perfect. She is the “Darling Buds of May” Mum. She will skin me for making this comparison because in reality she is young. But she has always been there. I’ve tried and tried to bring P & M to USA. It’s not the same – the pie, the mash, and especially the liquor. I’m not hopeful. I can’t even make Shepherds Pie like my Mum did. I know about those who presumably mean well. But it ain’t the same.. I have to understand – is it reasonable for really nice Americans to appreciate my South London dreams? Of course not. And Big Mac’s can be pretty good; perhaps not every day of the week but Ronald would never advocate every day eating. I wouldn’t eat sushi every day. Would you?

    • Leyla Kazim
      March 14, 2022 / 13:40

      I love this Roge, thank you!

  2. AnnieB
    August 27, 2021 / 10:21

    The difference with Harrington’s Pie and Mash is that the filling is made from mutton otherwise it would just be an ordinary beef pie. We have a pie and mash shop in Eastbourne but theirs is made of beef and there’s no comparison with Harrington’s. If you are in Tooting, drop in on them and you will see what I mean. I truly miss Harringtons and it would be wonderful if they opened a branch in Eastbourne.

    • Leyla Kazim
      September 13, 2021 / 10:38

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment Annie! This reminds me it’s been a while since I’ve popped into Harringtons – I’d better rectify soon!

  3. Tom
    October 1, 2020 / 16:31

    Pie mash and ells
    What a treat it’s cheap tasty and healthy.
    There’s not many left now the younger generation
    Prefer pizza ect ect .

    • Leyla Kazim
      October 5, 2020 / 11:02

      This is true Tom! Pie and mash is a dying breed, which is a shame. Time for a revival I say!

  4. Sam J
    January 21, 2015 / 18:00

    Growing up in London until I was 25, I have never been to a proper pie & mash shop. Now I really want to get here next time I'm back!

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