Vegetarian pies are available, but there’s a 10-minute wait while they heat one up. According to the Manze’s website, the vegetarian pies, the mash, and the liquor are all suitable for vegans.
The website also mentions that the gravy is suitable for vegetarians. It was a no-brainer, and soon I found myself, and two meat-eating companions, on a bus heading down Tower Bridge Road. The shop is exquisite, with tiles, and marble table tops, with the only change in the last 80 years or so being the sympathetic addition of some stainless steel surfaces in the food serving area. Manze is no dodgy establishment, and they pride themselves on keeping up with all modern hygiene standards, and even some up-to-date ingredients, whilst maintaining a traditional atmosphere and flavour.
I ordered the one vegetarian pie, one mash and one liquor, plus sarsaparilla to drink. The food only took five minutes, if that, and this is what I got:
Now, I’m not from London, but I’m from a working class background, and that just says to me “food”. One of the others, of more refined origin, opined that it resembled school dinners. Obviously private schools have better dinners than we did! We all tucked in, and none of us was disappointed. The veggie pies are made with a soya-based mince to resemble the meaty ones as closely as possible – none of those effete vegetables here. The pastry was a little tough at the edges (does chewing it count as exercise?), but the mash was made of potatoes – real ones, that tasted of something – and nothing else. The liquor was interesting, mildly herby and was really good with the potato. This is the only recipe I’ve found so far, with a very superficial search, and making that vegan will be trivial.
Overall, I never expected to find food like this in a vegan form, especially not in such a traditional shop, and it was solid comfort food that kept us going all day whilst touristing around London, and it was a joy to eat. I’ll be back on my next visit, and I’m only waiting that long because the shop’s not open until after I get home (Sundays and bank holidays being in the way).
M. Manze Pie and Mash shop, 87 Tower Bridge Road, London SE1 4TW. Open lunchtime only, Mon-Sat. Closed Sundays and bank holidays.