Last time when I traveled to London, I missed out on trying traditional British bangers and mash. This was nothing short of tragic, as mashed potatoes (well, potatoes in general) is one of my favorite dishes. Ever. (I know, it’s a bit weird, eh?) What better place to sample my lovely potatoes than a place that describes mash as “a great big hug”? Sounds like we’re on the same wavelength. In any case, this time I was determined to make a stop at Mother Mash, a cute, sliver-of-a-bangers-and-mash joint in trendy Soho. For less than a tenner, you can get a terrific plate of comfort food, made all the more easy with their step-by-step menu.
As you can see there are a plethora of options – I never knew the humble mashed potato could be so sophisticated! There are so many choices for the bangers as well, which, despite the funny name, are aptly named: Before departing on this trip, I learned from M, whom I affectionately refer to as “a real Englishman”, that bangers got their nickname from World War II. During the time, food rationing was in effect, and the quality of sausages severely declined. Specifically, they were short on meat content but high on water content. This made them explode once they got amply hot – hence, they would explode with a “bang”, earning them the title “bangers”.
Anyways, history lesson aside, most of our group got bangers and mash, with a couple of students ordering the pie and mash. I personally recommend my dish, the Champ Mash (Irish mash with milk, butter, cheddar cheese, and green onions) and two sausages, one of which was the Pork and Chili, and the other of which was the Cumberland.
Out of the two sausages, the Cumberland was my favorite as it had more of a meaty, substantial taste. The Pork and Chili wasn’t as thick as I expected, nor as spicy, unfortunately. The mash stole the show for me! You can actually specify if you want your potatoes “mashed”, meaning as a full-on creamy puree, or “bashed”, with a little bit of texture left. I opted for the latter, which made it chunky and hearty. The addition of the spring onions kept the mash from getting too heavy, and the Farmer’s Gravy with smoked bacon and mushrooms was savory and divine!
Out of my two students who ordered the pies, both liked the filling (minced beef and chicken, leek, and ham respectively), but curiously, the flaky crust of the chicken was not on the minced beef, as my student with that pie struggled to saw through her pastry. It looked quite tough, though both said the fillings were delicious (once they got through to them).
Some of my students got the Cheesy Mustard Mash as well, which I first thought was strange. But, I sampled a mouthful and realized it wasn’t so weird after all, though if you’re not a mustard fan, having half a plateful may be a bit overkill.
Service was great, as the waitress helping us was so patient! It can be tough for the uninitiated to choose from all the mouth-watering options, but she answered all of our questions, and never looked exasperated as we asked her for “just five more minutes” three times.
All in all, I would highly recommend Mother Mash for a good plate of yummy comfort food. With so many options to mix-and-match, this is one place that definitely warrants repeat visits.
26 Ganton St.
020 7494 9644
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Cost: ~ £10/person (approx. $125 HKD)
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