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Looking for Assorted 'British' foods and a Rant :)

Hi all

I'm hunting for any place in the Boston area that might be making
any savoury pies on a daily basis - like chicken/cornish pasties/ sausage rolls/steak and kidney pies/beef and onion/veg pies/cheese and onion pies etc..
Ditto any places that are not doing ridiculously overpriced 'fish n chips'
(went to Elephant and Castle and tried their fish n chips, which was barely passable - luckily I stopped them from putting damn chutney on everything. What IS it with sugared foods here? (They also use canned baked beans that are sweet as hell, and have no place in any genuine British food. Grrr.

I'm going through withdrawal symptoms, coming from South Africa, which is a mix of UK/Dutch/French and African foods - to nonstop sweet products everywhere with hardly any savoury or salty foods available, outside of various 'ethnic' stores.. (been making my own biltong, for instance - which is a superior form of jerky)
But I'm craving normal tasting foods which don't seem to be easily available here.

Also - any cheese geeks here - can someone explain why the cheese that is called 'cheddar' in the US, behaves differently than EU and African cheddar cheese, when heated? (The stuff here turns to runny water, and loses all consistency when heated - very weird.)

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  1. Pies sweet and savo(u)ry: Petsi Pies in Somerville, lots of posts here on the site. Not exactly in the British style, but very good nonetheless.

    1. There's plenty of "British" food here, but it's typically labled as Irish. Many of the pubs around town do a decent breakfast with black and white pudding, bangers, Heinz beans, etc. . . The sweet beans are the boston baked beans, which are delicious but not always what you're looking for. The Tir na Nog has a good one and also fantastic fish and chips.

      There's a South African restaurant in Provincetown called the Karoo Cafe (I think) and while I'm fairly sure it's closed for the winter, they may be able help you find some of the ingredients you're craving. Some of the stop and shops also have a passable selection of food from Britain and Ireland. You could also try some of the East Indian shops.

      Much of traditional New England New England food actually falls into the savory catalog, as does Quebec food. I had a thread a while back called "fatty, salty, starchy" or something and there's a thread called "cretons" which has some ideas for Quebecois food.

      No idea what the cheddar issue is.

      1. American "cheddar" is not all the same. The most common types are from Wisconsin, NY and Vermont. The supermarket versions of these are not processed quite like genuine English cheddar, though some of the finer Vermont cheddars (like Grafton or Shelburne Farms) are very fine renditions.

        1. I was wondering this myself after reading a great Chowhound thread on meat pastries:


          I'm embarassed to say that I can't think of a British pub in Boston, there's got to be some. I did a quick search and found this place mentioned on a page from the consulate:

          36 Railroad Street
          Methuen, MA 01884
          Tel: (978) 683 2429

          "Retailer and importer of British meat pies and meatballs, pork pies, sausages, scotch eggs and faggots." Another page I saw said they have 24 types of meat pies, noticed that Thwaites is a UK company so maybe they're all imported rather than made locally.

          4 Replies
          1. re: steinpilz

            Did a quick pub search, there's Cornwall's at Kenmore (which looks so terrible I've never gone in) and Elephant and Castle downtown - which I have been to, they have a great English beer selection, and happened to talk to a Brit who was in town for a conference and staying at the hotel. I didn't try the food but the description I read says they have all the classics you mentioned.

            1. re: steinpilz

              You're not too far off on your judgement, Steinpilz. Been to Cornwall's a bunch of times ahead of taking in a Sox game. Good beer selection, lively bar area but the food was highly forgettable pub fare.

              1. re: Sal Monella

                Agreed, awful food, but they have Strongbow on tap!

            2. re: steinpilz

              No, no, no Thwaite's is not importing their pies! This is a fourth generation Yorkshire family business - the old granfer made pork pies in his kitchen and peddled them to bars - they were so popular he opened a market and the rest is a most interesting history! It's a butchery and you can get poloney and tomato sausage, etc., etc. And it's a bakery and you can get English pork pies - and also all these other flavors which come from other ethnic cuisines - very important because the area where Thwaite's is located is largely Hispanic. This market has survived and thrived by satisfying its customers' needs while continuing the authentic food it's old customers return for. They also do Canadian style pork pie (tourtiere) proving a nice opportunity to compare! No, I'm not a relative, but my Dad grew up in Methuen and we've shopped there all my life!

            3. Thwaites market in Methuen makes pies in the British style....they at least have pork pies, and seem to have a number of others (I was only there once, but the pork pie I had was very good, like a Cornish pie).

              In the US, the term "cheddar" for cheese is used very loosely. There are some producers of proper cheddar-style cheeses, but what one usually sees in the supermarkets is not that. Good cheese shops, including Whole Foods, sell real cheddar.

              I'm not sure what you mean about the sweet stuff and "normal tasting foods"; I don't like sugar in my food unless it belongs there for balance, like in Thai food, but I don't seem to have encountered the problem you're mentioning.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Zatan

                " (I was only there once, but the pork pie I had was very good, like a Cornish pie)."

                Huh? I don't think I understood your statement. The meat in pork pies should be dense and solid surrounded by gelatin and then thick pastry - and is usually served cold. Usually made in a big size, then sliced like pie. With cornish pies (pasties), the meat (i've only had ground meat)and veggies are loosly held together with a gravy in a enclosed pocket of pastry -and is served warm. I understand there can be differnt variations of these, but they seem to be completely different things to me.

                I guess my question here is do they make real pork pies there or some bastardized concoction?

                1. re: LStaff

                  Speaking of pork pies, an old boss used to bring in these insanely rich pies w/pastry on the bottoms. The pork had been finely pureed with savory herbs, spices, shallots etc. It kept it's integrity at room temp & cut like a creamy, dense cheesecake. Anyone seen anything like these?

                  1. re: LStaff

                    hmmm, though the one I had was still warm, and though I think they have both small, single serving sizes and larger ones, it was delicious and otherwise fits your description of a pork pie above (dense meat, some juices that were turning to gelatin). It's been a long time since I had a Cornish pastie so forgot the difference.

                2. Yes, Thwaites is a good recommendation. Their chicken pies are delicious - they use lots of schmaltz (sp?). They sell individual sizes so you can try different kinds. They also make scotch eggs, not sure if that's a British thing but might be what you're looking for.

                  1. The best way to ask the "cheese geeks" a question is to post on the General Chowhounding Topicss board. We suggest you post your cheese question there. This helps us keep this board focused on finding great chow in the Boston area. Thanks.

                    1. I feel your pain. In addition to Thwaites (great scotch eggs) you can find many staples at Cardullo's in Harvard Square -- marmite, cadbury's chocolate (most notably Flake)and Heinz beans in the turquoise tin. I think they have HP sauce and Coleman's mustard too. I've seen PG Tips tea and OXO cubes too, but usually have mine sent from the family in Blighty.

                      If you ever get down to NYC, there are a few Brit places, including Tea and Sympathy and another pork pie/scotch egg purveyor whose name escapes me at the moment.

                      Cornwalls is good for a pint, but of course it's served too cold. Good luck and report back on your finds!

                      1. GREENHILLS IRISH BAKERY in Adams Village, Dorchester, sells sausage rolls and maybe some of the other stuff you are looking for.

                        It's a huge gathering place for the Irish ex-pat community.

                        Cheddar is the descriptive name for a type of cheese made through a certain process called "cheddaring." Thus, the term "cheddar cheese" rightfully encompasses a large variety of cheeses.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Green Hills also sells lots of Irish grocery items that are very similar to British items. Great scones too!

                        2. Just in case you ever want British sweets, the Indian store in Davis Sq - (near Namaskar with the sign that says something about having Irish foods) has a ton of British candies, etc.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sheitoon

                            Oh and that little sandwich place (I'm not sure what ethnicity they are -- Nepali? Tibetan?) that is across the street from there has a bakery case full of interesting savory little pies and things -- not UK-style but not sweet and really excellent.

                            1. re: sheitoon

                              Farmers' Bounty, a great convenience store. Lots of British and Irish candy ($1.45 a bar, though) along with very interesting Indian foods and an excellent produce section for a small place. Nice owners too.

                            2. Faneuil Street Market in Brighton has kidney pie and sdausage rolls but it's mostly Irish goods.

                              1. About an hour away is Hartley's Pork Pie Shop. There was an article in the Globe about the place recently:


                                I've only been to the one in Fall River- close to the RI line. It's very old-timey and the guys who work there are funny and nice.

                                The pork pies have a solid pork meatball-like filling. They'll put the 'gravy' in a cup for you if you're going to travel with them. They reheat great in the toaster oven, then just nuke the gravy to pour over.

                                Their chicken pies are like tiny pot pies and also very good. I'm not crazy on the chorizo ones- kind of bland somehow.

                                Nearby is Chaves Market- also worth a stop for portuguese food and liquors while you're in the area.

                                1. thanks to everyone for the valuable suggestions. I'll definitely do a special pie-hunting mission, and report back :) As the pie-fans will know, little pork pies just can't fill the gap like a couple of good cornish pasties or beef pies do.
                                  To address some of the various points that folks have raised.

                                  re the seemingly 'sweet' stuff everywhere here, as I see it.
                                  Okay, where I'm from, all bakeries sell both 'sweet' pastries and products, AND savoury products, including pies usually. So to have bakeries here where there are no selections of pies, sausage rolls, etc - just 'sweet' things - to me (and perhaps to the visiting Brits as well), is bizarre.

                                  Also, every corner store routinely sells pies, both reheated from frozen each day, in their warmers, as well as frozen ones from the freezer (so you can take em home and heat em up later) whereas local stores just don't. There's also biltong (salted dried meat) available everywhere at a fairly cheap rate - so there's always a 'savoury' taste to be had. Here, there simply isnt - its variations on sugared and sweetened products only.

                                  Even the samoosa's, (three cornered Indian pastries) that are being sold here and there, in the US, are these odd potato-filled and sometimes sweetened bulky 'thing'. Whereas its normal to be able to buy meat, or veg variants of samoosa's - as another form of savoury taste. And a 'real' samoosa, is a delicious crisp deep fried pastry filled with a savoury curry actually - not a dry piece of pastry bloated up with a stodgy wad of potato.
                                  -South Africa, as I said, is a weird mixture of a lot of national foods, in order of mixtures - from Dutch/French/British/Portugese/ Indian/Italian/Chinese etc - (for instance, visitors to the UK will know of 'Nando's' chicken franchise - thats a South African portugese spicy chicken franchise, en route to taking over the world :)

                                  (And I've noticed here that humous is treated as some overpriced delicacy here, $5 gets you barely 300grams in a supermarket. I have to go to ethnic stores, buy huge tins of the stuff for about $2, and mix up my own humous, (add cumin, tahini, garlic & olive oil) in order to guzzle it down in quantities that I'm used to, without going broke..

                                  re the Harvard Sq place for british candies - yup, I found them, but they're real pricey - an 'alt' cheap method to get the goodies and odd things like Milo (a nice chocolate-type drink) - is to go hunting through the Asian (ie Chinese)supermarkets, and grab the things that're still made under license in the East, and shipped in. Same taste, same wrappers..
                                  As for the Davis Square store, also found that :) Bought Smarties there already..

                                  Not that I'm totally and utterly focused on food :P

                                  Thanks again for the various suggestions - I'll go a hunting to find the perfect pie outlet, and report back..

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: TheFamine

                                    I dream of Nando's on a regular basis. I once even got a shipment of the peri-peri sauce, but it wasn't quite the same.

                                    1. re: TheFamine

                                      I agree with you about the lack of savories at a typical American bakery, that's much more of a European thing (not just UK).

                                      You might try some of the Russian stores in the area, they tend to carry fresh-baked piroshki with savory fillings.

                                      1. re: BobB

                                        Italian bakeries often have a few savories as well--and so do Brazilian bakeries.

                                      2. re: TheFamine

                                        Give Thwaite's a shot and let me know what you think. I was born in England, lived there for 10 years, and visit annually. Thwaite's pork pies aren't EXACTLY the same as we had in Lancashire, but they're awfully tasty - especially hot. I got some for my parents when they were here, and they couldn't put their finger(s) on what was different, either.

                                        I've only been out there twice, and I haven't tried the other options yet, but they have a huge variety.

                                        1. re: zebedee

                                          Maybe the difference is the Yorkshire version? Or it could have to do with a basic difference in the taste of American pork vs. English - what the pigs are fed, etc.

                                        2. re: TheFamine

                                          The samosas at the Indian place in the Super88 courtyard are pretty close to the British original. (I lived in the UK for 9 years.)

                                          Other places you should know about: Up Rt 1, near Danvers, on the west side, is a British food shop, where you can get all kinds of delights -- wine gums, proper baked beans, etc. Don't THINK there are pastries, though, but worth checking out. Sorry I can't recall the name.

                                          Similarly, if you're in Newton Highlands there's a shop on Lincoln St. (The Market Deli?) that sells a lot of British stuff -- definitely baked beans, digestives, etc. No pastries, either.

                                          My husband (British) and I love kedjeree but it's really difficult to find fresh smoked haddock. Have gotten it from Wulf's in Brookline but it's not the best quality. Would love to hear of a good source. (When we lived in Brooklyn we got it from an Irish shop in Queens, so maybe one of the Irish places carries it?)

                                          1. re: pamlet

                                            I love kedjeree too ... I shop for smoked fish at the River Street Whole Foods. Sometimes they have smoked haddock, but other lightly smoked fish will work in a pinch.

                                          2. re: TheFamine

                                            While this may not help you, I think I can explain the lack of savory meat pies in our corner stores. Every culture has their answer to cheap, portable, filling lunch food. In the US, that answer most often is the burrito, the sandwich, and the burger. During my brief stay in London, I fell in love with British sandwiches ( far superior to US), but the burger and burrito options definitely seemed to be non-existent. If you venture into a US Seven-Eleven, you'll always find burritos ready to be warmed in the microwave and in most urban centers burrito shops and burger shops are on almost ever other block ( with pizza and sub shops taking the alternating blocks). Americans like savory hand carry friendly food, they just get their fix differently :)

                                          3. as regards the pie mission, thats going to happen in the next few days, and feedback will happen -
                                            and re the piroshki at Russian stores, as an alt plan, well, as my partner is Russian, I've been sampling the various piroshki variants that they have - but they just dont really hit the mark for me. Sounds like Thwaites or the other places mentioned, are going to be the load up, eat in the carpark, then buy a big load of the good stuff, for the freezer..

                                            1. Just a report back for the chowhounds out there.

                                              Went to Thwaites, and did an initial load up of assorted pies. Its weird, they use the standard pie crust of what is usually only reserved for pork pies (in the UK) for all their pies. That minor quibble aside - and Im just grumbling coz they're so small.
                                              Chicken pies - somewhat watery chicken (but that can perhaps be the norm for US-style chicken, which are generally speaking oversized, and lack the 'lean meat' taste of scrawny, less hormone-filled chickens.
                                              Pork pies. Frankly, not too great in my view. A kind of sausage mince affair stuck inside a standard crust. The 'real' pork pies tend to be smallish, probably because you'd throw up if you had to try eat a large gelatin-laced-pork pie - and I couldnt quite get my taste buds around this bland sausage-meat taste inside a reasonably decent (altho slightly industrial) crust.
                                              Peppersteak. Again, 'kind of' interesting but lacking the thick gravy holding it all together, so ones again chewing on the industrial crust to get to a somewhat bland 'pepper-steak' concoction.
                                              Its not all bad:

                                              Steak and kidney. Heaven. While again not really the quantity you'd expect in a pie, the taste is very darn close to the standard steak-n-kidney pie one knows. Two or three of these and I had a near post orgasmic trance-like moment :)

                                              Cheese brocolli. Another surprisingly scrumptious taste. Good cheese, good brocolli - overall effect, one of very rich contents.
                                              I didnt get to try the 'cheese and onion' unfortunately. But based on this initial sampling mission, will load up on steak n kidney and cheese brocolli's.

                                              Additionally. I tried a few links of their fresh 'bangers' (pork sausages) - which are larger than the normal bangers, but which have a good taste to them, and they fry up nicely with onion, bisto gravy and worcester sauce, into a pretty decent traditional 'bangers n mash'. They also hold their shape nicely when stuck in a microwave and keep their taste quite splendidly.

                                              Thwaites seem to operate on the 'call us in advance if you want a large quantity of this or that pie' - as they generally dont have the serious quantity to hand that a famine such as myself might want. (20+ of each) - so keep that in mind if you have plans of picking up a big load when there, always better to call in advance.

                                              Hope this is of help to the others out there, in search of the perfect steak-n-kidney pie :)

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: TheFamine

                                                I went to Thwaite's for the first time yesterday, and bought one of each of the 12 pub pie varieties available. Most are unmarked, so I'm in for some adventures! I have never had steak and kidney pie - or kidney ANYTHING - but today ate one of the pub pies that I really loved. It was beef and...??? something - no visibly different textures or colors - but some of the ground meat looked and perhaps tasted a little like liver. Would this be Steak and Kidney? If so, I'm a convert!

                                                1. re: TheFamine

                                                  Yes, it's definitely a good idea to call in advance to order larger quantities - also to check which pies they're doing that day (or to order your favorite) My own favorite is lamb and I've found I have to go early in the day or they're sold out so I guess they're other folks' favorites too! (I mean, all sold out before noon!)

                                                2. Believe it or not, if you walk into your average Chinese bakery in Chinatown, you will see savory chicken pies. No idea if this is like British meat pies since I didn't have any in London, but they should certain appease anyone who wants something savory rather than sweet. Not only European bakeries, but Chinese bakeries always have a mix of sweet and savory goods (usually buns, steamed or baked).

                                                  In the Indian restaurants I've been to, there has always been an option for a vegetarian samosa (i.e., mainly potato and peas) vs. the non-vegetarian ones. I've dined at a few Indian restaurants in London and have found the taste to be reasonably close to the meals I've had here. Maybe you chose a few bad restaurants?

                                                  I used to enjoy the fish n' chips at the Green Dragon Inn near Faneuil Hall, but it's been years since I've eaten there (hope it's still there).

                                                  Lastly, every country will localize their ethnic foods to some degree, so if you're hoping to replicate many of the S. African tastes you're used to here in Boston, I think you're in for a long winter. :)

                                                  1. The little restaurant at Scotch Pine Farms in Pepperell, MA might have some of the things you seek. They serve breakfast only on weekends and lunch a few days during the week. Scones, lemon curd, homemade sausage balls and, sometimes, haggis are on the menu. In addition, they have an attached store that sells items imported from England and Scotland, including some food items.
                                                    Also, you might want to check out British Aisles in Nashua, NH. They are an importer/wholesaler/distributor of products from Britain.

                                                    1. Sorry the pork pies disappointed after my strong reco. But wow - that's great news about the steak and kidney! I had been a little afraid to try them, to be honest. It's my absolute favorite pie, but it can go SOOOO badly wrong. I'll give them a shot next time I drive out there.

                                                      Next up... steak and kidney pudding, anyone?

                                                      1. If you like sausage rolls, Keltic Krust in West Newton does quite nice ones.

                                                        1. re the pork pies disappointing me, nope not at all. I'm more or less used to the idea of 'pork pies' being the standard (usually cold) gelatin nasty-but-wonderfully-filling thing as found in the UK - so I was real curious to taste fresh pork pies. Didnt work for me tho, too odd for my tastebuds :) I mean..its pork..and its warm..and its in a pie! :)

                                                          re localised versions of UK food, well given that South Africa was something of a colony of the UK, the standard foods have tended to stay the same over the years - so almost all the UK sweets, pastries and crisps, are the same in SA, and that includes the regional UK foods (scot/irish/welsh) and many have grown up with them.
                                                          So going to UK stores, is like stepping back into my childhood - from the Smarties to gravies, custards, any cadbury's products, ditto most shortbreads, as well as almost all the crisps tastes. On those times I've gone to the Uk and eaten foods there, there's nothing that's unfamiliar taste-wise - from pies, pastries and sausage rolls, through to bangers n mash, and the traditional roasts and breakfasts and hot n cold puddings.
                                                          There's of course all the various other cultures foods available at the same time in SA, but you're able to - if you're that way inclined - live quite nicely on what here in the US would be called 'British foods'. Every corner store and bakery has pies and savoury snacks, and its not considered anything that special..
                                                          /ramble off :)

                                                          re Keltic Krust - thanks for the heads up, I'll definitely try them out, as a good sausage roll is a wondrous thing for those times when a bit of grease is needed :)

                                                          BRITISH DELIGHTS

                                                          I found another place for goodies.. 'British Delights' ( http://www.britishdelights.com/ )- I think the address is 63 Power Road, Westford (I wasnt driving so didnt pay attention) Big union jack flag flying outside this standalone building. Inside, small but very crammed shelves, filled with lots of - well - everything. The area of interest to me was the 'past sell-by date' section, which was overflowing with lots of quite edible things, at discount prices - from coffee, to custards, to crisps. Picked up large quantities of packets of shortbread for something like $1.50 instead of the usual price of $3+.
                                                          One big grumble with the place is that - at least when I was there - very few items had any prices on them, which isnt a good thing for the discerning shopper who wants to compare prices of things in the same category. Dont like getting surprised at the till with the actual costs, would rather know in advance what ones in for.

                                                          That said, they also have a small fridge filled with assorted homemade and somewhat 'industrial' prepackaged pies n things. Bought an assortment. The prepackaged 'pork pies' and 'beef turnovers' (kind've wannabee beef pies) were adequate, I thought, but not really worth it.
                                                          They did have what looked like home made sausage rolls, which - being a slob - I bought a few for a microwaving 'bachelor chow' kind of experimenting, and they were pretty tasty. Greasy as hell, but very very tasty.
                                                          The other thing they had, were BANGERS, which were also very very good. Two kinds of bangers, one frozen in traditional six sausages and wrapped in paper, another laid out on styrofoam and plastic wrapped - both types tasted very very good. Not sure of the damn prices, because a) no prices on just about anything, and b) they didnt give a till slip with a breakdown of ingredients. I kept having to ask how much this or that item was, while browsing, which sucked.

                                                          They had bins of crisps behind the till, which I didnt even see until I was almost leaving - and then loaded up on cheese n onion crisps etc etc.. these I vaguely recall were about 80 cents or so.
                                                          (The Indian store in Davis Square, which also sells crisps along with what's loosely called 'Irish Foods' on their sign outside - sells these small packets of crisps for 99 cents - so
                                                          there's a bit of saving to be had, in loading up if you're doing the British store - but just check prices.

                                                          1. there's a cheese shop at Haymarket (in what's left of the old North End Italian street market - Fridays & Sats), on the same strip of shops as Pete's Pub - unfortunately, can't think of the shop name.

                                                            the guy who owns it, 'specialises' in cheese that Americans would call 'past their shelf life', but are really only just becoming edible. it's always a hit and miss thing, in terms of looking for something specific, but pretty much guaranteed that u'll come out with something that actually tastes like cheese - most is imported from UK and Europe, and pretty fair pricing.

                                                            On Sat, he has the shop open into the market, and one of his staff sells-off chunks for $2 to $3 - some good deals available, as they are clearing cheese that is not moving in the main shop.

                                                            (on the lack of good Fish n'Chips, my wife's from SC, but is 'addicted' to UK style battered fish swimming in malt vinegar - the fish here is generally pretty good, but there's no decent batter - so,we have given-up trying to find anything locally in Boston. same on the cornish pasties.)

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: expat101

                                                              The Haymarket cheese shop is the improbably-named Harry's Cold Cut Center; several local 'Hounds have sung the praises of its cheeses.

                                                            2. Sullivan's in SOmerville makes a great fish and chips (or they used to - haven't been in a long time).. they have 2 kinds - the beer battered which I don't like - too much for me and then the cornmeal battered which is yummy...

                                                              Doyle's in JP used ot make a decent fish and chips..

                                                              13 Replies
                                                              1. re: Redhohoho

                                                                Anyone been to the Battery in Brighton Center? I hear they fry everything, including Mars bars! I have to get there to try the fish & chips. Also, the curry chips at the Lord Hobo.

                                                                1. re: CookieLee

                                                                  The chips at The Battery are excellent. As is their cheese and potato pie. Because of their proximity to a Boca Grande, you can visit the area and quickly construct the ultimate "meal that cannot be": burrito and chips.

                                                                  1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                    The chips are okay, but the fish is an abomination.

                                                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                      Oh no, I'm disappointed to hear that. What's wrong with the fish?

                                                                      1. re: CookieLee

                                                                        Here's a thread from last fall:

                                                                        The common feeling is that the fish is fine, at least some of the time, but the batter coating is horrible.

                                                                      2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                        You'll notice I didn't mention the fish. I gave it a few goes, to be fair, but the batter is dodgy.

                                                                        Depends what you mean by "okay" when talking about the chips. You called them excellent in the thread Allstonian quotes below -- did your opinion change?

                                                                        They do what I would call proper chips. Over the water they would not be special, but they would be good and better than many. Around here, I don't know anywhere that even tries to make chips that way.

                                                                        1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                          What's special about the way they're made? I don't recall noticing any significant differences between chip-making methods (or results) here and in the UK - both countries produce a gamut of quality from inedible stodge to nirvana.

                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            Careful BobB -- stepping into kind of a holy war here. British chips are quite different than American fries (or French frites, etc...) and like so many things, you are likely fond of the style you grew up with.

                                                                            Google images might help.

                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                              Hard to describe. What's different is that they tend to be softer and thicker and a little greasy when done The Battery's way. I don't know what makes it that way but I think it's partly due to them "resting" after cooking. Wrapping hot chips in paper and ending up with a stuck-together lump of soft chips when you open them is part of the preparation, in a way.

                                                                              1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                                Ah, OK. I've had that type on both sides of the pond (probably more often over there, now that you mention it) but didn't think of them as particularly British style. Yumyum's right, I prefer thinner and crisper, possibly because that's what I grew up with.

                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                  Well, evidently it's Irish style too. The thing is, though (and I can only speak for the UK) that you will find fries, frozen chips, oven-baked etc. over there too, and often in the context of "fish and chips" in pubs and cafes and what not. Barring no doubt a few specialist places, most of the time you will not get The-Battery-style preparation except in traditional fish and chip shops, and the occasional kebab shop.

                                                                            2. re: chickendhansak

                                                                              They're certainly what I would call proper UK chips, and I would agree that they're the best example of same I've had around here. But I would never consider making a special trip out to Brighton Center just for the chips when the fish itself isn't worth eating.

                                                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                Chips go with everything, though -- I did make a special trip to bring back chips and a Boca Grande burrito. I felt a slight breach in reality as I ate them.

                                                                                They do battered sausages (though I've not tried them) and various "pies" like the cheese and potato one which is fantastic. Eating potatoes with potatoes ... well, it's not for everyone but it is for me.

                                                                    2. I am also English and I am looking for somewhere I can buy smoked haddock. For my tins, bottles, sweets. etc., of British food I use the website Goodwoods.com. They have most of everything you are familiar with. They also have frozen foods, but I have never purchased those so can't honestly say how good/bad they are/

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: nikib

                                                                        I'm not sure if they had smoked haddock, but the WF on River St. in Cambridge has a whole case of fresh smoked fish adjacent to their fresh fish counter. Thanks for the website rec!

                                                                        1. re: CookieLee

                                                                          Thank you for the info. I usually go the WF in Hingham, so next time I will see if they have my smoked haddock. My husband thinks I am nuts but I have been craving this for years and years!!

                                                                          1. re: nikib

                                                                            have you tried Bazaar in Allston (2 locations) for the smoked haddock? maybe give them a call

                                                                            1. re: barleywino

                                                                              I will certainly give them a call. Thanks.

                                                                          2. re: CookieLee

                                                                            Haddock is a truly a simple fish to smoke at home. I buy and smoke huge amounts of haddock when the prices are low. Heck, send me an email, and I will let you know when I have created too much and you can have some. I try to mimic some of the smoked haddock I have eaten in Northern Scotland. A little dry, a little salty, perfect with an egg.

                                                                            1. re: smtucker

                                                                              Thank you so much for such a nice response. I will certainly get back to you after the holidays.

                                                                          3. re: nikib

                                                                            Wulf's in Brookline has smoked haddock, and will order if they don't. We were looking to make kedgeree and it was the only place we were able to find. However, the quality wasn't great -- it was a bit dry, not yellow and moist the way it should be. I suspect this might have been due to their defrosting technique or the fact that it might have been in the freezer too long. That might have been a one-off, however -- they're usually pretty reliable, so I'd give it another shot.

                                                                            This reminds me that I haven't made kedgeree for AGES...

                                                                          4. I was there last night and quite pleased with the Haven. The fish dinner (fried haddock, chips and minted mushy peas with homemade ketchup) was among the best I've had here for UK style fish and chips and wouldn't be out of place in the mother country. RE OP, they have a few savory pies (beef pie, vegetable bridie) and Scotch eggs at the bar.

                                                                            1. Hartley's Pork Pies - locations in Somerset, Fall River, and Smithfield RI. I've only been to the Smithfield RI location at 871 Smithfield Av, Lincoln RI. My grandparents used to live nearby many years ago.

                                                                              Hartley's Pork Pies - sells pork, beef, beef & potato, chicken and now salmon (only Friday) pies. Pies cost $2/each.

                                                                              It's quite a small, lovely, old school place but they've been selling pies for many, many years. Originally, they sold to the mill workers who lived there. The owners originally came from Lancashire.

                                                                              They're open Wed to Fri 7 am to 2 pm (or when they sell out of pies). Sat 8 am to 2 pm (or when they sell out of pies). You can place an order by phone to avoid disappointment - 401.726.1295. We went on a Saturday morning, about 11.20 am, and they only had pork and beef & potato left.

                                                                              For frozen pork pies and other British foods, check out:
                                                                              Union Jack
                                                                              134 Newbury St
                                                                              Peabody, MA 01960 -

                                                                              It's on Route 1 near the Peabody/Danvers line - across the road from the Golden Banana.

                                                                              The owner is a Scottish woman and been running the British shop for a number of years. She sells chocolates, crisps, tea, frozen bangers and pies, etc. I wished she sold some Soreen's malt loaf and some other stuff, but she doesn't. Still, Union Jack has a decent selection of British goods and is a good compliment to what you can buy in the UK/Irish section at Shaw's or Stop & Shop.
                                                                              (978) 535-6256

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: cdfox1

                                                                                After looking at pictures and reading descriptions of this "pork pie", it seems to be more of a pastie (ground pork and gravy) in a pie shape than a pork pie. Am I wrong here?

                                                                                1. re: LStaff

                                                                                  Hartley's pork pies look mostly legit, from what I can see on their website. Not especially "smooth" like a traditional pork pie their filling looks a bit chunkier, but with the proper crust and shape and not a pasty.

                                                                                  Haven't been able to find any pix of the pies at Union Jack, although I imagine if they are importing them, they are the generic kind as well.

                                                                                  Here's a classic pork pie: http://www.formanandfield.com/images/...

                                                                                  It's getting close to xmas, have to get all the supplies in. I may be making a trip to Union Jack in the very near future and will report back if I do.

                                                                                  1. re: yumyum

                                                                                    Wikipedia mentions another type of pork pie called melton mowbary named from a town in Leicestershire which uses only fresh pork - but also seems to be served cold since all the pics I find have gelatin surrounding the meat. Serving hot with gravy comments when Hartley's pork pies are described are still throwing me off though. Maybe they are doing a fusion of english and french canadian pork pies - which wouldn't surprise me given the large population of french canadians in the area.

                                                                                    1. re: LStaff

                                                                                      The picture I posted was a Melton Mowbary classic pie, and yes, it's served at room temp with the gelatin around the outside.

                                                                                      I'm not sure about the gravy that Hartley's serves either. Not traditional, but sounds yummy!

                                                                                        1. re: LStaff

                                                                                          Being a lover of Pork pies and Melton Mowbray pies , coming from Wales and have now lived in NH for the last 12 years, I have to say that I have tried all that are mentioned in this thread, Ill try and give you my honest update

                                                                                          Hartley’s Fall River and Somerset, are very much the same , but real good, have to go early as they sell out great folks to deal with I would give them 7.5 out of 10

                                                                                          Hartley’s in Lincoln RI, I would say are better, they also sell a Meat and Potato and a Meat Pie, I have to say that I give them a 8.5 out of 10, there pastry is better I think

                                                                                          Thwaites Market in Methuen, MA is closer for me and are Ok, I think they lack something, but they do a killer Scotch Egg, also something that they call a Duck Egg,
                                                                                          (from the UK we would call it a Faggott) its not bad, overall a 7 out of 10

                                                                                          Lastly and I do have to order these from the web is The English Pork Pie Company from Upstate NY, they have a great assortment of pies and the only one to offer a Melton Mowbray pie and also a Gala Pie, one with a hard boiled egg set in the middle of the pork, plus a array of pasties, and other goodies, there shipping is also good, I have to give them a 9 out of 10


                                                                                    2. re: cdfox1

                                                                                      Just a FYI , I have seen Malt loaf at theBritish food store link below, they also have a huge assortment of goods, more than on the store on Rt 1


                                                                                    3. There is a new Australian place in Southie on A st, that serves really good savory pies and sausage rolls. I had the classic beef which was awesome, buttery falky crust filled with nicely seasoned ground beef. They also have vegimite on some crusty sourdough which was my first taste of the powerful stuff.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: djr222

                                                                                          We hit KO catering on A street in Southie on Sunday. Husband loved the classic Aussie hand pie and the Irish stew one. Steaming hot, flakey, buttery crust and tasty fillings, one with ground beef, the other, long, slow cooked chunks of beef. I have the sweet tooth and couldn't resist the Lamington and lemon slice. Can't vouch for either as they went straight to the freezer. Still working my way through Thanksgiving pies (pecan, also in the freezer) and my birthday cake from Lakota!

                                                                                      1. Judging from the title of the thread, the OP was looking for British food and a rant. There have been lots of good food suggestions, but no rants. What's wrong with you people? How is it possible to have a long thread on chowhound full of revelations but without rants?

                                                                                        With that rant out of the way, is anyone here aware of that peculiar, hard Scottish fudge called tablet? It's like a solid bar of condensed milk and I'm very fond of it. Half a bar can clog at least two arteries. Is it available locally?

                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                          I have a feeling I've seen it in British Delights in Westford. According to their website they stock a product called Lees. I've not tried that one but I would imagine anything would hit the spot as long as it's well kept.

                                                                                            1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                              Like djr222 says, that shop is worth a visit. They were stocking the pies from The English Pork Pie Company recently, as I wrote in this post:


                                                                                          1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                            HOUNDS RANT!!!????? kidding

                                                                                            I'm itching to check out the Aussie place. I like a good meat pie of any sort.

                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                              I like meat pies as well.

                                                                                              Although the suggestion upthread to try Chinese bakeries is old (as is the original post), it's still a good one. I like the various meat-filled puff pastry items you can get in Chinatown. There are versions of these you get in India as well. The most common ones have either a very slightly sweet, but also spicy ground-goat filling in a rectangular puff pastry casing, and a creamy, black-peppery chicken filling in a round casing. There are also vegetable versions.

                                                                                              I also notice a discussion of samosas upthread. The versions one most commonly gets in the U.S. are Punjabi samosas -- bulked up samosas in a short-crust pastry wrapper. The OP was referring, I think, to another version which I too prefer. These are smaller, flatter triangles where a very thin strip of pastry is wrapped around a filling, then fried to a crunchy state. A variant of these is sometimes available in the frozen section of Indian groceries under the name "mini samosa", but it's not exactly the same thing.

                                                                                              1. re: FoodDabbler

                                                                                                Japonaise bakery in Brookline has a very good curry donut.

                                                                                                1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                  Found in their Porter Exchange outpost too.