The canny ‘.london’ URL is the first clue. Then there’s the description of G. Kelly on its Facebook page as a ‘British restaurant’. With the arrival on staff of Neil Vening, a third-generation family member fresh from university, the pie and mash shop established in Bow’s Roman Road market in 1937 is setting its sights on a new audience. ‘British food culture has come so far,’ says Neil. ‘You only have to look at The Great British Bake Off to see the interest. Good, honest, basic food traditions are in the spotlight, too.’
G. Kelly’s response has been to highlight its high-quality local produce suppliers, upgrade its delicious desserts offering with home-made pies and crumbles, answer an increasing demand for pie and mash wedding catering, and begin a sensitive refurbishment that will reveal vintage tile work and return original mirrors, marble and wrought-iron tables to the shop.
The current hipsterisation of the area only makes the timing better. ‘We’re seeing more young people with no nostalgic or family connection to this kind of food wanting to give it a try,’ says Neil. ‘Less so the eels, perhaps, although they definitely hold a fascination.’
526 Roman Road, E3
Tube: Bow Road/Mile End