M Manze

74 Chapel Market, Islington, London N1 9ER

London’s historic old eel and pie shops are a dying breed. You can still find a few scattered throughout the capital, particularly in the East End, and there is a splendid specimen right here on Islington’s bustling and determinedly old-school Chapel Market. Though the decor is wonderfully nostalgic – gleaming white tiles and spotless marble counters, old mirrors, vintage lamps, and wooden booths – Manze’s is far less concerned with style than with food. This is the real deal, rather than an evocation of a bygone age, and all the better for it. The pies? Well, they’re not haute cuisine, but are made fresh daily, the mince and onions within crowned with a lightly browned, flaky crust. Do as the aficionados do and eat them with a dollop of mash, the obligatory green “liquor” or parsley gravy, and a splash of vinegar. You should, of course, order a side of jellied eels – which are best with a dash of chilli vinegar. Note they don’t accept credit cards.

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