Saturday, 28 November 2015

Yeo Will Like this Pie Review

Yeovil Town FC/Wrights - Chicken Curry Pie Review

Yeovil Town's calamitous plummet from the Championship to League Two provided a new club to add to our Football Pie League when we visited Huish Park on Tuesday. An enjoyable game saw Wycombe grab the 0-1 win. Whilst it was a decent performance from Wycombe, Yeovil offered very little and now sit bottom of League Two. Could a third successive relegation be on the cards? Certainly the heady Championship days seem a long time ago now with an attendance of only 2,963 for the match against Wycombe. Arriving at Huish Park it was hard to believe it was ever a Championship ground, it is only 9,565 capacity and one of the terraces is completely open to the elements. I believe this is traditionally where they put away fans but I was quite glad that we were sitting down undercover in a corner of the Screwfix stand.

The stand that we were in did seem fairly modern with decent enough facilities, but did this bode well for their ability to cook a pie properly? This being the South West I had feared that pasties might dominate but there was a healthy choice of 3 pies; Steak & Kidney, Chicken & Mushroom and Chicken Curry. There was no indication what company might make them but after some consultation the staff and myself concluded that they must be Wrights Pies as that was on the packaging of the Steak & Kidney pie. Those of you who know your football pies will know that Wrights are quite common at football grounds. We have previously reviewed their football pies at Cambridge, Northampton and Wolves as well as a review of their shop bought Chicken & Mushroom. Recently I have noticed them spreading further from their base in Stoke (I have recently spotted them in my local shops around Gloucester) so it seems there are growing their Em-pie-re.

Previously they have been solid but not outstanding performers and so it was again today. I opted for the Chicken Curry, I thought it was going to be the same as I had reviewed at Cambridge but was pleased to note that it was subtly different, that one having been Chicken Balti. This option had a filling more similar to chip shop curry sauce (a bit similar to the Peter's version). It wasn't particularly spicy, I found it a little boring but it was pleasant enough. It was very salty (too much so) but also slightly sweet in places. There were some small pieces of a red vegetable which I guess was chili. The chicken was in small chunks but was pleasant enough.

The pastry was soft and stodgy but fairly tasty. It was unbelievably greasy though, the underside of the pie was almost dripping in grease, perhaps the most greasy pie I have ever eaten which is saying something! The most positive aspect of this pie was that it was well cooked, we often complain about badly cooked or dried out football pies, but this was cooked through and piping hot. In fact it was really too hot, I was so hungry, it was burning me. It wasn't just burning my mouth because this pie was disintegrating as quickly as I was eating it, there was no structural integrity at all which is really not what you was when trying to eat it with your hands. At £3.20 it was on the more expensive side for League Two but it is good enough that I would have another on my next visit to Yeovil Town.

Chicken Curry (Yeovil Town/Wrights)
[Colour 4.0, Condition 4.5, Cheapness 3.0, Capacity 5.5, Chewiness 4.6, Content 4.0, Consistency 4.0]


P.S. Having compared pictures, this does look to me like it might in fact be a slight variation of the Pukka Balti pie that we have reviewed at Southend. Whilst the Steak & Kidney they were serving definitely was Wright's, it looked quite different to this one. Further evidence is that I spotted a Pukka pie advert at Yeovil on the match highlights. Evidence against is that the filling didn't seem the same colour or taste as the Pukka version. I also doubt that they would sell pies from more than one company. I know how important finding out the correct information is for everyone, I have contacted Yeovil for clarification. I will let you know as soon as I get an answer so that you don't lie awake wondering 'Who makes the Chicken Curry pie at Yeovil Town Football Club?'.

P.P.S. Sorry about the title of this post, I think it is my worst attempt at a pun in a long time, but I couldn't think of anything better!
continue reading "Yeo Will Like this Pie Review"

Thursday, 12 November 2015

International Pierate Day 2015

We Pierateers of pie review website are today celebrating our 6th Birthday, and we'd love you to join us by simply eating a pie and rating it!

That’s why we’ve designated
12th November as International Pierate Day!

It follows in the footsteps of the very first International Pierate Day in 2013, which was once again celebrated last year. But we don’t want you – pie lovers worldwide – to just sit at home and watch as we eat all the pies! Oh no! Pie eating and pie rating is something we can all enjoy. Something that can bring friends, family and communities together. Pies are celebrated and eaten in so many countries worldwide and so today – marking our sixth birthday – we would love you to join us in eating and rating pies!

And to celebrate the occasion of our 6th birthday, we commissioned fellow food blogger and amazing illustrator Emily from to create us this lovely, personalised print - an illustrated guide on how to rate a pie, based on our 7 Cs of pie rating!

An illustrated guide on how to rate a pie by @emily_etc

So here’s the deal... in six simple words: Eat a pie and rate it!

It doesn’t matter whether it’s savoury or sweet, or whether you prefer your pies without the wheat or meat! We really do rate anything and everything that is a true pie and sometimes a number of interesting things that try to be pies to! But the important thing is we love to eat pie and rate it – for we are, after all, the Pierateers!

So once you’ve found a pie to eat – whether in the local bakery, butchers, supermarket or your favourite pie shop or one you have made in the luxury of your own home – why not rate your pie using the Seven Cs of pie rating in our lovely illustrated guide above?

In addition to celebrating #InternationalPierateDay today, we are also delighted to announce that Chris from MyPie London is coming to Birmingham to serve up his highly rated pies for our 6th Birthday Pie-rty on 14th November! We can't wait!!!

His Chicken pie scored a whopping 6.39/7 just a few months ago!
But his Steak and Ale was not to be outdone, scoring 6.61/7 and rating as #3 on our list of over 500 pies rated!

So what do you need to do now?

Well, first things first - you need a pie (or two!) For insPIEration you might find our Pie Rankings helpful, with over 500 pies we've rated and reviewed over the past 6 years! Or perhaps you want to make one of the pies our Ship's Cook has made, following her reci-pies here.

You can even watch us on the BBC website advising what to look for in a pie!

Most of all, we hope you enjoy eating and rating pies today! We sure will!!!

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "International Pierate Day 2015"

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Bring on the Bramley apple pie!

Waitrose British Bramley Apple Pies

I do love apple pies. You might consider me a bit weird for this (and perhaps for many other reasons too...), but I think I prefer cold apple pie to warm apple pie. Just me?

Here's an apple pie that admittedly I tried quite a while ago but absolutely loved at the time. These are two 'tart and fruity' British Bramley apple pies from purveyors of fine pies Waitrose.

apple pie

Currently on sale at £2.79, these pies are certainly not at the cheap end of the spectrum. It's certainly larger than your average Mr Kipling apple pie, but at £1.40 per pie, you'd expect a sizeable pie for your money. I'm not quite sure the size of this pie matches up with its price tag - so I'm hoping this pie makes up it for when I taste it.

apple pie

apple pie

Cutting open the pie reveals some wonderful large chunks of Bramley apple. There is a definite air gap, but the filling does look delicious. The pastry cuts nicely, with the perfect balance of crunch and softness. The apple is wonderfully fluffy and juicy, and complements well with the smooth puree sauce - a perfect mix of consistencies. There's a fantastic tart-ness to the taste of this pie - it's not too sweet or artificial, it tastes real and authentic. The pastry is also very tasty, which a part of the pie I've often found ignored.

Interestingly, Bramley apple pie filling has received protected status from the European commission. This means that the filling must contain "a blend of fresh Bramley apple pieces, sugar and water, with the option of Bramley apple puree, cornflour and lemon juice" - any else simply won't cut the mustard. The recipe for a Bramley apple pie filling dates back to the 1880s.

This was a delicious apple pie, and I could have eaten both! It's main drawback, however, was its price, along with its air gap.

Waitrose British Bramley Apple Pies
Score: 5.9 / 7
continue reading "Bring on the Bramley apple pie!"

Friday, 6 November 2015

The case is closed on fully-encased pies

Waitrose Steak, Mushroom & Red Wine Pie

So we've tried the Waitrose top crust offering - and we detailed some of the shortcomings of a top crust pie - and now is the chance for the fully-encased pie to show why it is the superior pie.

This is a Waitrose Rich & Juicy Steak, Mushroom & Red Wine pie with puff pastry, and costs £2.00. It's made with British steak, and is surrounded with butter-enriched pastry.

Out of the oven, the pie is a lovely golden brown colour. There's no boil-out, unlike its top-crust counterpart, so the pie is in good condition.

Cracking open the pie, however, reveals that it is lacking in real structural integrity. Despite picking a sharp knife, cutting this pie open for the cross-section means it just collapses on itself, oozing its red wine gravy out over the plate. It's therefore hard to fully ascertain the extent of the air-gap in this pie, but I could still see that this pie was not entirely filled to capacity.

The content was tasty - the gravy in particular was delicious and rich, and the meat was nice and tender. I could have done with a bit more steak in the pie, however.

At £2, this is a decent price for what was a quality pie. It's by no means the cheapest supermarket pie, however, but you could do worse.

While this pie may have collapsed when I tried to cut it (meaning it would be hard to pick up and eat with your hands), you can still clearly see it is vastly superior to it's lesser top-crust cousin. Fully-encased is always the way to go. Case closed.

Steak, Mushroom & Red Wine Pie
Score: 5.4 / 7
continue reading "The case is closed on fully-encased pies"

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Top Football Pies from Piglets Pantry at MK Dons

Piglets Pantry Steak, Chicken and Vegetarian Pie Reviews

Piglets Pantry Football Pie Reviews
Piglets Pantry Football Pie Reviews
With an ever expanding list of football pies being reviewed in our PIEremiership, there was one noticeable football pie manufacturer missing. Having won multiple awards at the British Pie Awards over the past few years, both in the football pie category and beyond, we still hadn’t yet been to a ground selling Piglets Pantry pies. That all changed with an invite by MK Dons to rate their pies before their Championship tie with Blackburn recently.

We were delighted to be offered the chance by Stephen Miller (Food and Beverage Operations Manager) to head to Stadium mk to sample some of their pies, which included the Steak and Concrete Cow Ale pie which has been exclusively produced for MK Dons. This – as I found out talking to Jo Hunter from Piglets Pantry, who kindly came up from the south coast to meet us and talk us through the pies – was one of many things that help Piglets Pantry stand out from the crowd. They regularly talk to the clubs/businesses they supply and the supporters who are buying the pies to get their feedback and aid them in developing new products.

For me, this is one of the distinct advantages of having a small, personable pie business supplying the pies in a football ground, as opposed to the more homogenised mass producers sold within many UK stadiums. You get pies that the local fan base can connect with, support and recommend. Indeed, the Steak and Concrete Cow Ale Pie had been developed with a group of MK Dons supporters and using a local ale, a personal touch that seemed to be going down well with the fans there!

Sales of Piglets Pantry pies at their local football club, Brighton and Hove Albion, seem to back this up. Since taking over the pie supplying their ground sales have rocketed from 1,500 to 10,000 pies a match, which is quite phenomenal! It certainly shows that if the quality pies are there, people will pay a bit more for a premium product. It’s therefore no surprise to see the pies being sold in more grounds, including hospitality at Chelsea and West Brom, plus recently in Twickenham and the Millennium Stadium for their Rugby World Cup fixtures.

Back to MK Dons and the pies to rate were the Steak and Concrete Cow Ale Pie, the Chicken, Gammon and Leek Pie and the Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Pie. They also had a special on that game – the Chicken Balti Pie – which Pierateer Sam has his eye on when he visits, as our resident Chicken Balti football pie expert! I was impressed with this range of pies available to home and away fans, with MK Dons putting on a special pie for away fans dependant on where they were from. It’s one of the few clubs I’ve found where they are actively looking out for the needs of their fans, rather than just giving a very generic catering experience to all.

Onto the pies and my overall thoughts are that these are premium pies being sold at a very reasonable price, especially for a football ground, at just £3.50. The pastry is shortcrust around the sides and base, with a puff pastry lid. It is noted that these pies do not contain lard or suet, giving them a paler colour but also a lighter, crisper pastry. This means the pastry is less moist and can hold the filling in thinner, crisper pastry. While this different pastry did take a little getting used to, having primarily eaten and enjoyed butter-rich pastry which is more golden and softer, I enjoyed the firmer crunch this pastry had and it did feel a lot lighter and less stodgy as a result. The main downside was the outer rim of overhang pastry which was a bit too dry, but the rest of the pastry when eaten with the filling was well balanced.

All the pies held together brilliantly when eaten by hand, with generally a great consistency to the fillings, which is ideal for a football pie. The capacity was very strong in all of them, with the meat pies particularly standing out against most other football pies in terms of the strong meaty content and packed filling.

Piglets Pantry Chicken, Gammon and Leak Pie Review
Piglets Pantry Chicken, Gammon and Leak Pie Review

Chicken, Gammon and Leak
First up to rate was the Chicken, Gammon and Leak which is a regular on the menu at MK Dons. The pie was packed with a nice blend of chicken and gammon in a light b├ęchamel sauce, spread well throughout the pie filling. The chicken was lovely and tender, the gammon not too chewy and the leak complemented the flavour well with the white sauce. The consistency of the filling was good for a hand held pie and balanced the crisp pastry well. Overall a top quality filling and while the rim, side and base pastry was a little too dry and crisp for my liking, I’m sure many would love this pastry and it well deserving of Pierate Highly Recommended status.

Piglets Pantry Chicken, Gammon and Leek Pie
Score: 6.11/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 6, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 5.75, Content 6.5]

Steak and Concrete Cow Ale
There’s no denying we love a good steak pie on the Pierate Ship, so it has to be a top, top flavour to challenge for the top spots in our pie rankings. We very much appreciated the lengths Piglets Pantry had gone to in order to create this pie with a local ale to the MK Dons, creating this pie exclusively for the team after meeting with local fans on a taster day. The meat was good quality and the gravy had a good viscosity to it for a football pie. Another good pie but we felt it didn’t quite match the Chicken pie in terms of the mix of flavours. No doubt it would however still be very popular amongst the steak pie fans at the game!

Piglets Pantry Steak and Concrete Cow Ale Pie
Score: 5.96/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6, Consistency 6, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 5.75, Cheapness 5.75, Content 6]

Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Pie
It’s worth saying from the start that this was one of the best vegetarian pies I’ve had! I’m never normally one to go for the vegetarian option if there is a meat alternative (especially if they are sold at the same price), but this Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta pie had such a rich flavour, with a delicious light runny cheese sauce and complementary spinach and mushroom content that I didn’t really miss the meat! In fact my friend Martyn was tempted to convert to veggie pies after eating this one! The filling was nicely balanced and while the consistency of the sauce was a little too runny to easily eat with your hands, it complemented the pastry well. This pie was second in the Vegetarian pie category of the British Pie Awards 2015 and you could easily see why!

Piglets Pantry Spinach, Mushroom and Ricotta Pie
Score: 6.04/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 5.75, Condition 6.5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.25]

Overall then a great selection of football pies at MK Dons, with one of the best vegetarian pies we’ve rated to boot! It means Piglets Pantry have achieved what only two other clubs have – a Pierate Highly Recommended football pie – and puts them comfortably into third place in the PIEremiership. My thanks once again to Stephen and Jo for their hos-pie-tality at the game and, of course, the very good pies. We look forward to trying some more of the Piglets Pantry range soon!


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Top Football Pies from Piglets Pantry at MK Dons"

Monday, 2 November 2015

Waitrose top crust pie - the clue's in the name

Waitrose pie review

Normally, when it pops up in conversation that I write for the pie review blog Pierate, a common question for people to ask is "What do you think of those top crust pies?"

And I tell them: "They are not proper pies!"

And then some people can be rather taken back by this. "It has to be a pie," they say. "It has pie in the name."

Well with this post I hope to convince you (if you hadn't already been convinced!) why the top crust pie is vastly inferior to its mainstream cousin, the fully-encased pie. I appreciate I may be preaching to the converted here, but I hope this pie will be the final nail in the coffin for all those 'false pies' out there.

Exhibit A: Dark & Velvety Aberdeen Angus Steak & Ale Top Crust Pie. Purchased from Waitrose, cost £2.99.

pie review

Waitrose even know that the top crust pie is the inferior product to the fully-encased pie - that's surely why they've put it in the name, so you can avoid disappointment later!

pie review

Out of the oven, the pie does look fairly nice. It has attained a nice golden brown complexion, and the puff pastry has lived up to its name. However it is let down by the boil out on the left hand side of the pie. Boil out, of course, that's resulted from this being just a top-crust pie. If this pie had the correct infrastructure (sides and a base), there wouldn't be gravy dribbling down the outside of the casing.

Now, onto the next problem with a top crust pie. How do you eat this thing?

pie review

Lifting the lid on this pie reveals long strands of flabby pastry trailing off the lid and flopping around in the gravy soup below. Clearly this isn't the effect Waitrose are going for with this pie, but what other option do I have to get this pie out of the foil tin? Unless I'm meant to eat the pie in the foil? That can't be right, surely?

waitrose pie

Okay, so I've got the pie out of its foil bath tub, and now its swimming around on my plate, topped off with a raft of pastry. I hope you can see now why the top crust pie is inferior - I might as well have just had a stew!

The filling itself tastes very nice. The gravy has a very smooth consistency (some might say 'velvety'), with a fine taste of Fullers ale, and the pastry at least tastes nice and buttery, even if it doesn't go all the way round. Together, it's a nice combination of flavours, and the meat is not chewy (which is always a good thing). Cost-wise, £2.99 is at the upper scale of a supermarket pie - especially an own brand, 1 person portion - so unfortunately it will lose a few points there.

Although you could taste the quality in the filling, overall this pie was not a great experience for me and I personally couldn't recommend it.

Waitrose Aberdeen Angus Steak & Ale Top Crust Pie
Score: 3.5/7

Hungry for more? View all of our Waitrose Pie Reviews!
continue reading "Waitrose top crust pie - the clue's in the name"

Friday, 30 October 2015

London Pies with the legendary Pie and Mash Club

On Friday 25th September I was proud to be able to join pie regulars for my first real experience of a London Pie and Mash shop in full buzz, reports Pierateer Rob.

Traditional London Pie and Mash Review
Traditional London Pie and Mash at M. Manze
It was a busy Friday lunchtime and the time was 13:11. Why do I know that? Well that’s when you need to be in the queue if you’re going to be dining with London’s premier pie and mash eating club – the aptly named “Pie and Mash Club”!

For over 20 years now a group of pie lovers in London have been trying the traditional pie and mash in shops across the capital and beyond, recording their conquests to a level normally reserved for Opta’s football statisticians. The mind-child of Nick and a number of his work colleagues, the first official Pie and Mash Club meet up was in October 1994 and set the tone for a 1994/95 pie eating “season” which culminated in the first champion Richard Lucus.

If nothing else, do check out the amazing directory of Traditional Pie and Mash shops that the Pie and Mash Club have recorded - it really is an amazing effort!

The rules are pretty simple. 4 points for a pie, 3 points for mash, 4 for eels and 1 for liquor. You get an additional 2 points for “afters” such as a pie and custard dessert. Penalties are dished out for non-completion (something I have to admit to – more of that later!) But above all, despite the leaderboard providing some healthy (okay, perhaps not so healthy) com-pie-tition, this is a social gathering with a heavy pie focus. And that’s just how we like it!

Nick and Chris
Nick (l) handing over the 2014/15 trophy to Chris
It does, after all, have a strong resonance with how Pierate Pie Reviews started. A group of friends meeting up and enjoying pies. Turning from a “bit of fun” to a slightly more serious “bit of fun”! The creation of a pie and mash trophy – handed to 2014/15 season champion Chris – was just a small competitive part of a largely informal and light hearted afternoon.

Conversation ranged from bicycle manufacturing to the surprisingly sunny weather (come on, we’re British!!!) but the focus, oddly enough, was pies! The sad demise of a few local traditional pie and mash shops offset with the celebration of a number of new openings, plus the successful start for The London Pie and Mash Company, who you may have seen were pie providers to our 5th Birthday Pie-rty last year.

Traditional London Pie and Mash Review
All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon chatting pie to a group of pie enthusiasts, some of whom would have been enjoying pie and mash years before I was even born! My only disappointment was, slightly controversially, how poor the pie and mash actually was! It was my first time at this particular M. Manze in Chapel Market, Islington and it did disappoint compared to some of the traditional pie and mash shops I’ve visited.

I have to say I am no expert in this niche of the pie world, with Pierateer Sam being our expert and writing our very informative Traditional Pie and Mash article. I’m going to have to leave it to his expertise to rank it against the many others he has had – but the highly soggy underside, split side and very chewy and gristly mince filling was one I didn’t really enjoy. I attempted 3 pies but only managed just over 2 of them. Even the pie and mash experts around me were rather disappointed by the pies and service there, though they still managed to tuck away more than me!

Click here to read the full report for 25th September on the Pie and Mash Club website, featuring their leaderboard after one event!

Traditional London Pie and Mash Review
Still discussing pies in the pub afterwards!
For them, it’s always a quick turnaround before their next meet up approximately three weeks’ later, once again at their infamous meet time of 13:11. For me? Well I just hope I can bring myself to rate another (hopefully far better) Traditional London pie and mash again soon.

I’d like to take this op-pie-tunity to thank the Pie and Mash club for welcoming me with open arms to their regular pie meet up. They made me feel like a regular and the pub trip afterwards was a great way to get to get to know them better. Nick does a great job of organising the group but such a gathering only works if everyone plays their part. Well done to all those who regularly participate in this regular celebration of pie. Long may it continue!


To find out more about the Pie and Mash Club, visit their website at and their Facebook page at

Thanks to Mike Goldwater for supplying the photos taken at the event – far more of them can be found in the report for 25th September on the Pie and Mash Club website.

continue reading "London Pies with the legendary Pie and Mash Club"

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

TV's Radford Family expand pie business

Radford’s Pie Company Steak, Chicken and Meat and Potato Pie Reviews

It’s always great to be approached by pie producers asking us to rate their pies – but rarely do we get approached by anyone with as much TV exposure as the Radford family. For those who don’t know, the Radford’s featured on Channel 4’s 15, 16, 17 and now “18 kids and counting” and are – as you might guess – one of the largest families in the UK! With so many mouths to feed, you can imagine the pie consumption must be pretty high in their house up in Lancashire, but it helps that the family run bakery – which supports the continually growing family - sells, amongst other things, pies!

Radford's Pie Company Review
Radford's Pie Company Review
However while they’ve been selling pies in their shop in Heysham for around 15 years now and dad Noel has worked in bakeries for much longer, their latest exciting venture is offering home delivery of those pies, so that more people across the land can tuck into their exciting bakes! It’s great to see a family run business doing well and expanding their delivery options and we wish them continued success in this!

So having been sent some pies, how do the pies rate? Made with shortcrust pastry, one of the more obvious things you notice about them is they are packed near to capacity when you cut through them. They all travelled well, important for a home delivery pie, holding their shape well when cooked and removed from the foil. One interesting thing to note was that while the instructions recommended cooking them in the foil, I tried one of the steak pies cooked out of the foil and it really helped firm up the base of the pie, making it crisper and firmer than the steak pie I’d cooked in foil. However whether cooked in foil or not they all held together pretty well for a shortcrust pastry pie, some of which can crumble quite heavily upon biting into. The crimped edge added a slightly firmer crunch and the pies were all golden colour.

At £2.95 these are a pretty decent sized pie for that price considering the home delivery and that they are packed with meat. The local ingredients, from butchers and vegetable sellers near to the bakery, also adds to the appeal of these pies. No worries about air miles here! Here’s the breakdown of the four flavours we tried:

Radford's Pie Company Steak Pie Review
Radford's Pie Company Chunky Steak Review
Chunky Steak Pie
Large chunky pieces of steak, just as the label promised! The meat was quite nice and tender, though a few pieces could have been a little leaner. However it was very meaty, with 45% beef steak. The gravy was quite a nice thickness, making it quite moist to contrast with the quite crisp outer pastry, which being shortcrust was a little dry in places. The thick chunks of meat and moisture of the gravy did seem to mean in places the base of the pie didn’t crisp up quite as well as the rest of the pie.

Score: 5.5/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6, Consistency 5, Condition 5.25, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 5.75, Content 5.75]

Radford's Pie Company Steak and Mushroom Pie Review
Steak and Mushroom Pie
At 40% beef steak, this pie is firmly focused on the meat, which is my kind of steak and mushroom filling! The mushroom was nice and spread throughout the pie, though not a lot in there. The gravy was quite rich and meaty, not overly runny and the meat in quite large chunks. A nice, if quite subtle, change on the Chunky Steak pie.

Score: 5.5/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6, Consistency 5, Condition 5.25, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 5.75, Content 5.75]

Radford's Pie Company Meat and Potato Pie Review
Radford's Pie Company Meat and Potato Pie Review
Meat and Potato Pie
The meat and potato pie was very potato focused, with a nice texture to the potato in decent chunks, however the mince beef was quite lacking at just 11%. It meant the gravy wasn’t that rich in flavour and there was less fluid gravy in the pie, possibly due to absorption into the potato. The pastry was crisp and held together better in this pie, with a firmer and crisper base. For those who like a heavier potato content to their meat and potato pie this would be just up your street, but for me there wasn’t quite the right balance to really get my teeth into any of the meat.

Score: 4.71/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 5, Consistency 4, Condition 5.25, Chewiness 4.5, Cheapness 4, Content 4.5]

Radford's Pie Company Chicken Pie Review
Radford's Pie Company Chicken Pie Review

Chicken Pie
With this pie consisting of 41% chicken breast, the pie certainly wasn’t lacking in meat either and top of the range meat at that. It was a very enjoyable pie, with my only suggestion that the pieces of chicken were quite chunky and thus not quite as succulent as it could have been if perhaps in slightly more small pieces. However the cream sauce was good, adding a nice blend to the flavour, so I think would have blended perfectly with the chicken if it had been mixed in with smaller pieces of meat. Excellent capacity and good content means this one just pips the rest.

Score: 5.68/7
[Colour 5.75, Capacity 6, Consistency 5.25, Condition 5.75, Chewiness 5.25, Cheapness 5.75, Content 6]

All in all, some very good pies from Radford’s and it’s a luxury to find a fully family run business like this that uses ingredients from local producers in the area. Worth getting online and ordering a batch for sure, as they are Pierate Recommended!


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "TV's Radford Family expand pie business"

Monday, 19 October 2015

Fun of the Farmhouse

Farmhouse Deli - Pie Reviews

I have so far been struggling to find good pies in my local area in Gloucester. I was therefore quite pleased to realise that Farmhouse Deli in the city centre sell pies that they make themselves. Farmhouse is an upmarket butcher/deli shop, primarily focusing on meat. They have a shops in Gloucester and Cheltenham as well as outlet in Gloucester market. I quite liked the range of things on offer, they do gluten free sausages/burgers as well as tasty Single Gloucester cheese which is unique to the local area. The staff seemed friendly and interested when I explained about Pierate and my new mission to find the best pies in Gloucestershire.

There is a good selection of traditional pie flavours with both family sized and individual sizes available. Having been in a few times I have found that not all flavours of pie are available all the time. You just have to go with the flow of what they have. Whilst the flavours might seem a bit unoriginal compared to some of the top unusual flavours of pie we have tried, as we often say, our favourite flavour is still steak. So with that in mind, I started off by picking up an individual steak and ale for £2.40 (or you can get 3 for £6.75). Given that you have to cook the pie at home and hence wait for it to heat up I also go a Pork pie at £1.80 to eat while I was waiting! Again it was one of those frustrating occasions where the pie could have been available hot but wasn't. I will try not to hold this against them.

The Pork pie was up first and it looked really great in my opinion. It had a deep brown colour and a nice curvy crimp. Unfortunately looks can be deceiving as this pie wasn't quite as good as the hot meat pies, despite looking better! The pastry was generally pretty good, it was nice and crunchy which is my preference for a pork pie. The pie was well filled with porky goodness with only some small gaps around the edge. It was pretty big for an individual pie so the price of £1.80 compared favourably with upmarket supermarket pork pies. Sadly, the filling didn't quite do it for me. I found it overly salty and fatty which meant it became a bit sickly after a while. In fact I didn't fancy eating all of it in one go, I only had half which isn't a good sign. There were also some bits that were too chewy. In general I thought the filling could have had a better texture, it was in one solid, processed lump.

Pork Pie (Farmhouse Deli [GL1 2AG])
[Condition 5.5, Colour 5.5, Cheapness 4.0, Capacity 4.0, Chewiness 3.5, Content 3.0, Consistency 3.0]

Next up was the Steak & Ale, one I was anticipating to be good given the smell coming from the oven. It also looked good with a lovely, glossy glaze. Unfortunately I think perhaps I hadn't cooked it for long enough (it didn't come with instructions). The pastry tasted a bit like the ready made pastry that I often use for my pies at home. Whilst under-cooked in some places it was nicely crunchy at the edge. The filling was strong with a decent amount of steak. The pieces of steak were flavoursome as you might expect from a butchers but they could have been a bit more tender. It is a difficult balance to get right because it is quite satisfying to have something to get your teeth into. The flavour to the gravy was that of a fairly generic steak and ale but given the decent size and amount of meat, I thought this pie was great value.

Steak (Farmhouse Deli [GL1 2AG])
[Condition 5.0, Colour 5.0, Cheapness 5.0, Capacity 5.0, Chewiness 4.5, Content 5.6, Consistency 5.5]

Given that I suspected that I may not have cooked the steak & ale pie for long enough I popped in to Farmhouse to get another. This time the only small pies were Chicken, Ham and Leek so I grabbed one of these. Confusingly it had a Chicken & Mushroom sticker on it but cutting into it revealled it definitely was Ham & Leek. The amount of ham and leek was nearly perfect; there was just enough to add flavour whilst keeping the chicken the star of the show. I find too much ham can make a pie too salty. Having cooked the pie for longer the pastry was much better (and perhaps from a different batch). It was crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle although perhaps a little too crunchy on top. The quality of the chicken was top notch, not at all processed. It showed that this was a pie from a butchers shop. It was filled with a thick sauce and held together so well that it was easy to eat it by hand. Overall this was a very enjoyable pie, even if it didn't do anything quite special enough to challenge at the top of our pie rankings. It will certainly inspire me to try more of the Farmhouse pies as I think they are good value at this price.

Chicken, Ham & Leek (Farmhouse Deli [GL1 2AG])

[Condition 5.0, Colour 5.0, Cheapness 5.5, Capacity 5.0, Chewiness 5.8, Content 6.0, Consistency 6.5]

continue reading "Fun of the Farmhouse"

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Pierate advises BBC 5 Live on the Pies of Football

As the BBC Price of Football Survey launched again this year we gave our opinion on BBC Radio 5 Live, sharing our expertise on the many pies we've rated and our number one football pie - from Morecambe FC.

Sam and Rob being interviewed by BBC Sport's Azi Farni
Watch the video on the BBC Sport website
When you think football, you think half time pie. What better during those cold, winter evenings to warm the heart, as well as the hands, during the half time interval as you watch your local team? But is that actually what people do? Or has the price of football pies put off the regular football fan? Do the caterers even have enough pies to go round? And if fans do buy a pie, is it piefection or are football fans being held to ransom?

We were interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live as part of their discussion on the BBC Price of Football survey, particularly focusing on the quality of pies being provided at grounds and questioning why we are paying so much for often quite average pies, at a time when the top clubs in England are getting millions of pounds in additional TV revenue!

In particular was the surprise that pie prices in the Premier League have gone up 1.82% in the last year, as highlighted in the Price of Football stats article. While some of this increased is put down to the clubs selling more artisan and high quality pies - something we support - there are a number of grounds who sell the same pies as each other but at quite significant differences in price!

Listen in to Pierateer Rob talking football pies on BBC Radio 5 Live from minute 42 to 52 - discussing the quality and price of pies in football.

Also continue listening in to minute 66 of the programme to hear a pie-related poem on the Price of Football by Jeremy!

You may remember last year we joined BBC Sport's Azi Farni at Morecambe FC, who make some of the best pies rated on Pierate (let alone football grounds) to discuss what makes the perfect football pie! Watch us featuring in the BBC Price of Football video here.

We at will readily admit we are first and foremost a pie rating website, rather than specifically a football pie rating website, but we’re looking to delve further into the provision of football pies as we develop our Pieremiership of football’s best half time pies.

We've rated over 500 pies, including a growing number of football pies

But while we realise we haven’t eaten anywhere near enough pies in different football grounds yet – despite having over 500 pies rated in our Pie Rankings from many of the regular football pie manufacturers like Pukka Pies, Holland’s Pies and Peter’s Pies – we have always been a fan of eating a golden pastry product in the football stadiums we’ve visited. And in our minds what’s more important than simply the price of the pie is how the pie rates. Is it a soggy disappointment, overly dry or lacking in content or does it meet the 7 criteria we Pierateers look for in a pie?

In our view, it’s all about a great tasting pie – filling and pastry - which is value for money. You can find out more about what makes a great rated football pie by reading our article on the Pies of Football from last year.

Once again the #PriceOfFootball survey highlights that Kidderminster is the most expensive half time pie at £4.50. While some Kidderminister fans have already taken to Twitter to criticise the BBC for not pointing out it is more of a meal than just a pie, what they fail to point out is a far more important issue - they are selling a Potato bake and not a fully encased in pastry pie!

As mentioned on air, one football ground has seemingly found the perfect reci-pie for the half time pastry snack, producing some of the highest rated pies on Pierate, let alone best football pies! Head chef Graham Aimson at Morecambe FC has won several titles at the British Pie Awards for the quality of his pies, including being British Pie Awards Supreme Champion 2014. Check out the following short video for behind the scenes of our visit with the BBC to Morecambe FC:


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
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continue reading "Pierate advises BBC 5 Live on the Pies of Football"

Monday, 12 October 2015

Square Pie try something different with Rugby World Cup!

Square Pie's Rugby Pie World Cup in Grand Central Shopping Centre, Birmingham

Square Pie Rugby Pie World Cup Review
Square Pie Rugby Pie World Cup Review

Here at Pierate HQ we’re always big fans of a pie-motion, like the tie in of the Rugby World Cup happening in England with the “Rugby Pie World Cup” happening down at Square Pie right now!

The idea is pretty simple – there’s a new pie to represent each of the 20 competing nations in the Rugby World Cup 2015, which are trying to be crowned the Pie World Cup Champion! Just like the competing rugby nations, the pies are being put through their paces and pitted against each other in a group phase and eventual knock out com-pie-tition, based on pie sales. Intriguing flavours include Chicken Teriyaki for Japan, Springbok Sausage for South Africa and Moose for Canada! It’s also great to see money being raised for the Dallaglio Foundation as part of the contest. More info can be found on the Square Pie website.

Square Pie Rugby Pie World Cup Review
Eyes on the pies!
As you may have read from my live blogging recently, a new Square Pie outlet has opened up in Birmingham’s newest shopping centre – Grand Central. Based above the main New Street train station in the heart of Birmingham, it’s great to have an established and Pierate Recommended pie brand such as Square Pie in the centre of the city. I got invited along to try three of the Pie World Cup hopefuls recently to see how they pie rated and these are my thoughts:

Overall The pastry on all three of these pies held together well, all passing the hand-held test (even if the Steak and Ale was a bit less firm than the others due to the more liquid filling making the base pastry a bit softer). I was impressed that none of these had soggy bottoms though, particularly with the gravy in the steak and ale. The pastry lid was particularly flaky and crisp on all three. There was a bit of a pastry overhang on the lids of these pies and by the time you got to the corners of the pies there was a bit too much pastry to filling – but there’s not really a way of avoiding this in a square product and this doesn’t detract much from the overall enjoyment.

All these special Rugby World Cup pies are the same price as their standard pie range, which I think is quite commendable seeing as, being quite unique flavours, they would be made in smaller, less frequent batches. However at £4.50 for just a pie or £6.50 for a classic meal (pie and 2 regular sides or pie and one large side) prices them as a bit expensive for just a hot pie or meal takeaway, but a reasonably priced option for a restaurant pie. It has to also be remembered that you are in the heart of Birmingham, minutes away from the central train station. There is very much a takeaway vibe to the Grand Central Square Pie shop, with food served in a box to go or eat in their array of seating – both useful options for those using the pie shop to ‘grab and go’ before getting a train. I know I will be!

Square Pie Wales Rugby Pie Review
Wales - Rugby Pie World Cup Review
Wales: Cheese, Leek and Potato (Vegetarian)

There were big potato chunks in the pie, which were quite well cooked, soft and tasty without being mushy. The cheese was noticeable and added flavour alongside the leek, but could have been a bit stronger. There wasn’t really anything to get your teeth into with this pie though, as a result of the potato being quite soft alongside the cheese and leek. This and the runny sauce contrasted quite strongly with the crisp pastry. Slightly smaller chunks of potato and a bit more cheese would have improved this pie a bit. A decent vegetarian pie but quite a standard flavour.

Square Pie Cheese, Leek and Potato Pie
Score: 4.68/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 5, Consistency 4.5, Condition 5, Chewiness 4.25, Cheapness 4, Content 4.5, Total: 4.68/7]

Square Pie Fiji Rugby Pie Review
Square Pie Fiji Goat Curry Rugby Pie Review
Fiji: Fijian Goat Curry

One of the more unique flavours in the Rugby Pie World Cup, the Goat Curry pie was an interesting one to get my hands on! I’d only had a goat pie once before but that was in a gravy based pie, so the goat curry pie was a lot more dry in comparison to that. The ingredients in the pie apart from the meat were quite moist but there was no real sauce, which meant that the dryness of the meat was quite evident. This isn’t that surprising given my prior experience with goat, which is quite fatty but chewy and quite a dry meat, but this perhaps could have been factored into the pie filling. The meat was also in quite large chunks, which would have been better served spread out in more, smaller chunks in my opinion.

The curry flavour was quite mild but added some flavour. I recognise goat is not the easiest meat to prepare well and overall didn’t mind this pie flavour, but a bit more flavour and leaner, tender meat would improve the pie rating.

Square Pie Fijian Goat Curry Pie
Score: 4.29/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 4.5, Consistency 3.5, Condition 5, Chewiness 3.5, Cheapness 4, Content 4, Total: 4.29/7]

Square Pie England Rugby Pie Review
Square Pie England Steak and Ale Rugby Pie Review
England: Dallaglio Foundation Steak and Ale

The steak and ale pie is a classic English flavour, so it’s no sur-pies to see the English pie filled with it. There’s no denying it is a flavour we love here on the Pierate Ship, but that does mean with so many good steak pies eaten the bar is very high. However it was a good hearty effort, with a significant ale flavoured gravy. The gravy was very runny though, which did seem to make the pastry less crisp and sag slightly under the moisture. It was still able to be picked up by hand though, with a fair bit of steak and other filler such as onion to bulk it out. A bit more steak, which was slightly less chewy, and a lower viscosity gravy would raise this even higher up the rankings but still Pierate Recommended.

Square Pie Steak and Ale Pie
Score: 5.07/7
[Colour 5.25, Capacity 5.5, Consistency 5.25, Condition 5, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 4, Content 5.5, Total: 5.07/7]

Overall, we’re delighted there is a great new pie shop in the centre of Birmingham and the Rugby Pie World Cup is an ingenious idea to boost the range of pies on sale at Square Pie. With the board on the wall in the Birmingham shop celebrating the 127 flavours of pies made since 2001 – though now needing a massive overhaul following the 20 new types of pie during this Rugby Pie World Cup alone! – it seems clear pies are in good hands at Square Pie!

Grand Central Birmingham Pie Shop
Grand Central in Birmingham City Centre, home to Square Pie shop

Thank you to Square Pie for hosting us for this Rugby World Cup Pie-Off in Birmingham. We'd already bought and rated Square Pie as Pierate Recommended as we celebrated eating our 100th rated pie there down in London back in 2012, and in 2013 we rated their Chicken, Leak and Wiltshire Ham pie at 5.58/7, which was another Pierate Recommended effort.


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Square Pie try something different with Rugby World Cup!"

Thursday, 8 October 2015

A Sad Case of Base-Overbake

Eat Beef and Ale pie review

Did you know? The Eat chain of restaurants sells fully-encased pies! Joyous, joyous news!

I headed down to the Eat store in Camden Town, London, to see what delights were on offer.

And here it is: a beef and ale pie. It set me back around £4.50 (I can't remember the exact price, I'm afraid...) - which for one take-away pie with no side orders is rather expensive.

But at least this is a fully-encased pie, so that's a plus.

The pie is of reasonable size and looks quite pretty in the box. It has a nice golden colour to the lid, with a perfectly even colour across the whole of the top of the pie. There is no boil-out and the pie looks like it is in good condition.

On opening up the pie, there is some airgap but overall this pie looks well filled. There's certainly a decent amount of meat in there - can't complain about that. The filling looks adequately moist with no need for any additional gravy.

But it's when I try and cut all the way through the pie that I realise there's a problem. Why am I having such difficulty cutting through the base??

I flip the pie over and find the MAJOR issue with this pie. The base is so overbaked it is practically a solid, unbreakable, inedible block of pastry!! I tried to tear a bit of this base off so I could try and eat it - but there was no way I was going to be able to eat the whole of this base! This pie, for me, was a DNF (Did Not Finish)!

In fairness to Eat, their customer service representative on Twitter seemed just as appalled as I was with the base of this pie. They have offered me a free replacement pie, which hopefully I'll cash in on soon (and report back on whether there's been any improvement on how they bake their pies in store). I'm sure this can't be a store-wide problem - otherwise Eat are doing this pie business all wrong. Let us know whether you've had any similar experiences with pies at Eat.

The rest of the pie was actually quite pleasant, if you ignored the base. The filling was pretty flavourful, and the meat was tasty and not chewy. I can certainly see why this pie obtained a silver award at the British Pie Awards. However, for nearly £5 for the pie, I think there are better hot takeaway pie options out there.

Because of the issue with the base - and the resulting DNF - this pie is going to score rather lowly. You might think this seems a bit unfair (since this could be a one-off problem), but I have to rate the pie that's in front of me. In my opinion, I should never have been served this pie.

Eat Beef and Ale Pie
Score: 3.2/7
continue reading "A Sad Case of Base-Overbake"