Only in London by Duncan J.D. Smith

228 South Bank (SE) 100 A Plate of Pie’n’Mash SE1 4TW (Bermondsey), M. Manze’s Eel and Pie Shop at 87 Tower Bridge Road Jubilee, Northern lines to London Bridge, then bus or walk down Bermondsey Street For many years Britain’s national dish was considered to be either roast beef or fish and chips. These days, however, it is just as likely to be Chicken Tikka Masala, a dry and spicy Indian dish with added sauce to satisfy the nation’s craving for gravy. Curry is a good illustration of the way in which Britain has absorbed and adapted external culinary influences since the days of empire and it has been available in London since 1926, when Veeraswamy, Britain’s first Indian restaurant, was established at 99 Regent Street (W1). That’s not to say roasts and fried fish have disappeared from Lon- don’s culinary map. Far from it. Simpson’s Tavern at 38 Ball Court (EC3), London’s first chophouse, has been serving perfect pies and roasts since 1757. Rules at 35 Maiden Lane (WC2) has specialised in game since opening in 1798 and Sweetings at 39 Queen Victoria Street (EC4) has been bracketting its fresh fish lunches with the likes of pot- ted shrimps and Spotted Dick pudding since 1889. Modest by compari- son is the family-run Golden Hind at 73 Marylebone Lane (W1), which has been serving excellent fish and chips since 1914, and don’t forget the Regency Café at 17–19 Regency Street (SW1), which has provided the best full English breakfasts in London since 1946. Two delicacies unique to London are pie’n’mash and eels. Steeped in Cockney culture these honest, no-frills dishes have been enjoyed since the mid-1800s and are still available in more than 80 eel and pie shops in and around the capital. One of the best – and certainly the oldest – is M. Manze at 87 Tower Bridge Road (SE1). It is consid- ered important enough to warrant its very own Blue Plaque, which is displayed inside the shop rather than being fixed to the wall outside because of the building’s Grade 2 listed status. Established in 1892 and taken over in 1902 by the Italian Manze family, the premises and the recipes remain exactly as they were a century ago. Behind the old-fashioned façade and green awning there is a single dining room lined neatly with green and white tiles. To one side a row of booths contain dark wooden benches and marble-top tables, where customers can enjoy their food sitting down. Those with less time queue at the take-away counter and enjoy this most original