Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More

Jellied Eels Are An Acquired Taste in London’s East End — Dining on a Dime


– Hey everybody, we’re
in the Bow neighborhood on the East End of London, we’re about to try a classic London dish, pie and mash. At this particular place, G Kelly, they also specialize in jellied eels, which is something that commonly goes with pie and mash shops. We’re headed there right
now to try this restaurant that’s been open since 1939, it’s a classic, I can’t wait to try it. (rock music) – [Narrator] Hey
everybody just a heads up, shortly after we filmed this, G Kelly announced that they
would be temporarily closing, so just check out their website, gkelly.london to make sure they’re open before you head over there. – What would you like? – I would like traditional pie – Yeah. It would normally
come with mash and liquor unless you suggest you don’t
want the mash or liquor. – Okay. I will have the
mash and the liquor. I’ll also add on a little
order of jellied eels. – No problem. Is that the small, the
medium or the large? – Let’s go with small
– Yeah – I think
– First time? – This is the first time.
– Oh small, definitely. – So maybe not the large. You’ve tried them, obviously? – I’ve tried them, as quick as they went in, it came straight back out. I tried them with a hen
party we had in here and the ladies all got
together and they said to me, have you ever tried them? And I was like, no. And they said, I’ll tell you what, you try one and we’ll try one. I said go on then, as quick as it went in, it come shooting back out. – Well you’re not making
it sound very appetizing. I’ll get your jellied eels for you. – Hopefully I can keep them down. – Good luck! (jazz music) – [Lucas] This is the original sign? Is that what you said? – Yeah. We dug this out of the
attic a couple of years back, so we put it back in the window. – It’s pretty cool. – And now it’s all over
Instagram, so that’s good. – Now the storefront, now the shop opened in, you said 39? – Yeah. – Okay, so that would have been right as World War II was beginning. – Yeah. My grandfather negotiated
a rationing quota of meat, so that’s why we were able to keep going and that’s why we’ve been here, whereas maybe a lot of shops had to close. Out here we used to have a
stall with all the eels on it, so there’d be live eels and
they’d be chopped up there and they’d have a fire going
and they’d be cooking them and selling them. The Thames is just down that way, eel boats would come over
from the Netherlands, drop off the eels, load up with stuff from
London and then sail back. So it was a trade route, and the eels were, because they’re basically saving on fuel and things like that, they were very very cheap. It’s a delicacy. If you’re brought up eating them, then you can’t get enough of them. Some people really love them, a lot of Italian people when they come in. – Really? – They really like them, yeah. – How do you feel about them? – I’m sort of, I prefer
the hot eels basically. – Oh you do. – I find the flavor of the
jelly is quite intense. (upbeat jazz music) – Wait, wait, wait. (laughter) – They’re better with vinegar. – You just used your fingers. – Yeah. Now not that much vinegar. – Not that much? Well… – Go on, go on, hurry! – Okay. Alright.
– Go on! Just put it in, not the thumb. They’re alright, isn’t they? – Disgusting. (laughter) And I’m from the East End. They’re horrible! – It’s an acquired taste. – I think it’s an acquired taste. If you’ve ever had something
like pickled herring or preserved jellied fish, that’s kind of what this tastes like. The eel is naturally a gelatinous fish, and so when it is stewed it
produces it’s own gelatin. Sometimes gelatin is added to the mixture, and also sometimes different spices. In this particular case they add allspice, you can also add nutmeg. You’ve all had Jell-o, imagine fish flavored Jell-o. That is the closest I can
come to describing to you what this bowl of
jellied eels tastes like. Let’s move on to the pie, which is why we’re here. The pie, the mash, and the liquor. When I saw it at first on the menu, I thought, what kind of a place is this? Turns out it just means gravy. And in this case it’s
not even a beef gravy, it is parsley. The way Neil described
this was a rough puff, so like a short crust but
maybe not quite as biscuit-y, there’s a little bit more rise to it. And inside is beef. I’m gonna dig into this pie. This looks really good actually. It was recommended to me that
I severely vinegar this up. (calypso music) I like that a lot better than the eel. This is great. Pure beef flavor, if that makes any sense? The vinegar actually really
adds something to it. There is a natural gravy, natural juices from the beef, but really what comes through
is the flavor of the meat. And what I really like is
that they include this heavily vegetable flavored gravy,
“gravy” along with it. Which is essentially just
chopped parsley herbs thickened with flour. So you’ve got this really
nice contrast of flavors. Clean sort of ground beef flavor, it’s like having a bite of
vegetables along with the meat, very herbal gravy that
acts a really interesting counterpoint to the meat pie. It is like hearty, utilitarian,
filling, and delicious. And beyond that, I mean that’s really what it is. This is something you could eat everyday. I really hope you enjoyed this
episode of Dining on a Dime from G Kelly Pie and Eel Shop in Bow in the East End of London. If you’d like to watch more, please click here.

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