Friday, 21 November 2014

Let's All Have A Party! - Friday 21st November - Pieday Friday



It's Friday! It's Pieday!
Please remember to vote for us in the blog awards - only a few days left to vote!


Big Pie Party for the Pierateers!

Last year's Pie Contest 2013
We're celebrating the big '5' with a big '6-0'! Yes that's right - this Saturday 22nd November we'll be celebrating our 5th Birthday by eating pies along with over 60 of our pie pals! We'll all be enjoying a traditional pie and mash dinner from The London Pie and Mash Company and seeing what our guests bring for dessert.

And to top it all off, we've been sent a box full of Paul's Pies for pie-rizes to a number of our comPIEtitions on the evening! This is going to go down in history as a ridiculous not-to-be-missed pie-fueled event! You can almost certainly follow live tweets on our Twitter, although remembering how hectic last year's pie party/contest was, there wasn't much time for tweeting...



Please vote vote vote!


We've been nominated for 2 BLOG AWARDS! And now we really need your votes, for the love of pies!! So please please click both here and here and give us a vote! It won't take 5 seconds!



Pie Tweets of the Week
Chris is going for gold! Ins-pie-rational! I do hope we'll be tasting a 7/7 from you soon Chris, can't wait!
 Thanks for the international pie advice Steve! As you know, we're trying to find the best pie in the world, not just in the UK. So when we head abroad, such as on Greek Pie Tour in this case, it's very helpful to receive suggestions.


'Lidl has the best mince pies'

In a blind tasting, Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers rated Lidl's Snowy Lodge mince pies as her favourite on the high street. And guess what, the web's premier pie rating website has also rated Lidl's Snowy Lodge offering as the highest scoring supermarket-branded mince pie on the high street (so far)! If you visit our interactive pie rankings table and click on 'Mince', you'll see that Lidl comes third after Robinson's Bakery and, of course, Mr Kipling.

Look out for some mince pie rating on Pierate soon!


If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at pierateship@yahoo.co.uk or contact us on Twitter @pierateers 
continue reading "Let's All Have A Party! - Friday 21st November - Pieday Friday"

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Are Harrods Larders filled with top Essex pies?

Essex Larders Chicken and Herb Pie Review, bought at Harrods


In what's become a yearly tradition (okay, so I've now done it twice...) I headed in to what is probably one of the most - if not the most - famous stores in the world, let alone in London. Getting off the tube at Knightsbridge and quickly darting in from the downpour outside, I plotted my route to the Harrods Food Hall. I was in for a bit of a sur-pies!

Harrods Essex Larder Chicken Pie Review
The Harrods Pie in wrapper
For where I had picked up a pie during my visit a year ago, I saw in front of me probably the world's most expensive shepherd's potato bake (that's a shepherd's "pie", if you're not familiar with the term...) at a jaw dropping £47.60!!!

But don't worry pie fans! You're not going to see the first ever potato bake reviewed on Pierate! Oh no! A bit further round the hall I found my golden treasure, fully encased in pastry. Interestingly they had expanded their range a bit and started selling a 'hot pie and mash' option, in addition to now selling Pieminister pies (which you've no doubt seen sold in local supermarkets and some pubs). You won't be surprised to know we've got quite a number of Pieminister pie reviews on Pierate.

Read about the Harrods Luxurious Mince Pies we rated last year, which featured in our '12 Pies of Christmas’ music video!



But the pie I picked up was from a company I hadn't heard of before - Essex Larders. The pie was a chicken and herb pie, sold cold in pork pie style with jelly and a large filling. It was quite a substantial price at £2.50 per 100g or £9.80 for the piece photographed, but then again expectations (and prices) are high at Harrods. I bought enough to have 4 reasonable slithers - with my housemate Jeremy and friends Laura and Amy.

Harrods Essex Larder Chicken Pie Review
Harrods Essex Larder Chicken Pie Review

Biting into it, the pastry was crisp but not too thick. The filling made up the vast majority of this pie, with a reasonable slither of jelly and quite a thick central herb layer. The chicken was tender and the herbs blended well with it. Altogether a very nice pie, though the jelly was a bit overpowering in my view and there could have been a few less herbs v chicken.

The condition was good and I'd happily eat it again, though the price tag may well put me off purchasing it. But then this is Harrods!

Essex Larders Chicken and Herb Pie Review, bought at Harrods
Score: 5.21/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 6, Consistency 4.5, Condition 5.5, Chewiness 6, Cheapness 3, Content 6, Total: 5.21/7]
RAS


See where this pie ended up in the Pierate Pie Rankings or find other pies of a similar flavour.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "Are Harrods Larders filled with top Essex pies?"

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Mistake and kidney; and the apple of my pie

It was #InternationalPierateDay, so it was only right that I had a double-pie for dinner!


First up is a pie that my esteemed colleague Pierateer RAS has already reviewed - a Bird's Eye steak and kidney pie. However, while RAS seemed to have quite a satisfactory experience with this pie, my experience was not quite the same.



The pie just collapsed and fell apart as I cut into it. However, I'm willing to accept that perhaps my friend's oven wasn't up to the task of cooking this pie. Although I put it in the oven for the allocated time, this was my friend's oven so perhaps I'm not used to how it cooks. Also, the lack of golden colour on the pie would suggest it might be underbaked. However, regardless of that, I did find the filling lacking in any decent chunks of meat - it was mostly gravy, and didn't taste particularly nice in my opinion. I won't rock the boat by re-scoring this pie (as the venerable RAS has already fulfilled this duty) - but let's just say, I personally wouldn't buy this pie again.



Before we head on to the dessert course, please vote for us by clicking here! >>>>>>>
Thanks!


 Freshpack Apple Pie Review

Now onto dessert - and a pie we haven't rated! A £1.49 large apple pie from Freshpack. This is a decent price for a large pie.



Upon removing the pie from the oven, you can see there is a very uneven bake. Again, this is most likely my friend's oven at fault here. However, some of the pastry on the lid is a little soggy and the pie doesn't look in the best of conditions. The lid is very plain and a bit boring. The pie is also quite shallow. (Note that the picture on the box is just a serving suggestion - if you want the lid to look like that, you have to add additional sugar and milk)



On cutting into the pie, I can see just how shallow this pie is. In my opinion, the filling isn't the best of quality - it seems rather sickly sweet, and it's small jammy chunks of apple are quite distant from a quality hand-made affair. The pastry is a bit bland, a tad chewy, and doesn't have that nice flaky texture. Still, I shared this pie with two friends and we all quite enjoyed it (and it got eaten pretty quickly, so that's a good sign). In short, this pie is cheap and friendly, but its shortcomings are fairly obvious.

Freshpack Apple Pie
[Colour: 3 Condition: 3 Content: 2 Capacity: 3.5 Chewiness: 4 Consistency: 3 Cheapness: 5]
Score: 3.36/7
TJP
continue reading "Mistake and kidney; and the apple of my pie"

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Help take Pierate to the next level in just 5 seconds

For the first time ever, we've actually entered an awards thingy, and now we need your votes! Go on, give us a cheeky vote, for the love of pies! It will only take 5 seconds.

Just follow the links below (there are two categories, and you can vote once in each)

Most innovative:


Food and drink:
 

Thanks so much!!

Pierate HQ
continue reading "Help take Pierate to the next level in just 5 seconds"

Friday, 14 November 2014

Pierate Birthday Celebrations - Pieday Friday - 14th November 2014


It's Friday! It's Pieday!


Month of Birthday SurPIEses - 5 years of Pierate Pie Reviews

As you'll no doubt have noticed here on Pierate we really do enjoy rating pies - so much so that we have over 425 in our Pie Rankings at present and many more to add to it in the next few weeks!

But did you know we've been rating pies for 5 years now?! Yes, from that first post back on 12th November 2009 to the present day, we've been rating pies on the 7 Cs of pie rating and we did precisely that on Wednesday 12th November 2014! For we have designated this day "International Pierate Day" and you can read about the day and see our commissioned art work by @michlan in our International Pierate Day 2014 article!



In addition to encouraging you all to eat and rate pies on 12th November, Pierateer RAS also decided to try and solve the question of why shops sell mince pies before December?! To help him ponder this, he ate a mince pie for every meal that day and you can read the results here!

You can also catch up with all the latest birthday pie news by following our twitter hashtag of #InternationalPierateDay


Greek Pie Tour

You may not realise this but we're not just sailing the 7 Cs of pie rating to find the best pie in England or even the UK! We're looking for the best pie in the World!!!

As such, when we visit a new country we are always looking out for a pie-tential golden pastry treasure just waiting to be unearthed! And with Pierateer RAS heading out to Athens for the week, he'll be in search of any Greek Pies on offer!

Early indications look good, with a mention of "cheese pies" in the guide book he has about Greece, though having ordered a "spinach pie" on the first evening of his holiday, what was presented to him certainly didn't meet the criteria of a true pie! (It was more of a slice.)

Full reviews will be coming soon, but in the meantime check out his reasonably successful "When in Rome..." Pie Tour from this time last year!


Pie Tweet of the Week
Yep... so this week we had a tweet from Jamie Oliver. THE Jamie Oliver! And while we were disappointed to see him promoting a top crust recipe on his twitter account, we did aPIEreciate him admitting that a proper pie has to be fully encased in pastry when he was picked up on it by our pie friend Chris! Chris had just teased Jamie that he needed help, as a true pie needs pastry all the way round! Couldn't agree more Chris - see our definition of a true pie here!


Paul's Pies set for BBC Two feature tonight

You don't need to hear us banging on again about how we were on TV on the Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice.

But excitingly Paul Sykes, the founder of Paul's Pies and maker of our current number 1 and number 3 pies out of over 425 in our pie rankings is going to be appearing on BBC Two tonight (14th November). He shall be featuring with chef Tom Kerridge on his current TV show "Tom Kerridge's Best Ever Dishes". We look forward to seeing him on there! And if you want to know a bit more about Paul and his pies, see our interview with him when we awarded Paul "Honoury Pierateer" status last year.


If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at pierateship@yahoo.co.uk or contact us on Twitter @pierateers 
continue reading "Pierate Birthday Celebrations - Pieday Friday - 14th November 2014"

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

International Pierate Day 2014 - Mince Pie with every meal

Of course you won't need us to tell you we were going to be eating and rating pies on International Pierate Day 2014! That's a given. But it's not like us to do some sort of silly pie-blicity stunt just to get your attention... wait, okay... so maybe we occasionally do! But Python Pie, Crocodile Pie and eating 21 pie meals in 7 days (and losing weight while doing so!) aside, we hardly make a fuss about the 425+ pies we've rated so far. So for our birthday, we thought we'd try and solve a mystery:


Just why do shops sell mince pies before December?

Pierate Pierateer Print Michlan
Our birthday print by @michlan
In order to answer this question, and quite frankly a great excuse to do Piethagoras' Theorem on International Pierate Day 2014, Pierateer RAS has decided to try "Mince Pie with every meal" - an attempt to solve why mince pies are sold before December!

Breakfast


I'm not going to lie - a mince pie for breakfast is at times almost a common feature of my diet, rather than an abnormality or chore of any kind. Especially last November/December time, when I ended up eating tens of mince pies in order to create our "12 Pies of Christmas" music video! The mince pie of choice for the day is Booths Mince Pies - sold in the Northern supermarket chain and purchased on a recent trip up to Morecambe to film with the BBC.

Booths Mince Pie Review
Supplementing my usual breakfast banana, the pie slipped down well, providing a bit of a sugary, pastry boost to the morning. Well needed when I woke up tired after staying up late to write our Birthday post last night!

The pastry wasn't overly crisp and the wonky lids didn't create the nicest condition possible, but the pie filling was quite nice and fruity. I'd certainly prefer a less shallow pie than this, as the pastry rather dominated the flavour of the pie. But the pie was good and I'm just limbering up for my lunchtime mince pie...

Lunch


Booths Mince Pie Review
Lunch involved a trip to the work canteen and the main meal for the day was Lamb Tagine. I have to admit, seeing the stew like option there on display the first thing that went through my head was “Why don’t they wrap that in pastry – with clearly defined base, sides and lid naturally – and sell it as a pie?!”

Anyway, the meal was nice, but the main thing was the mince pie I had with it, which again I couldn’t help think was a little too shallow and the fruit mix in it wasn’t quite as nice. There were a few crunchy bits in the mince mix within this pie which I didn’t particularly enjoy. However all in all, the pie was again a reasonable standard.

Dinner


Booths Mince Pie Review
Having got home from work and with packing to do for my holiday the next day, I needed something quick and easy to cook. Admittedly I could have easily used this as an excuse to go to the local takeaway and get a Pukka Pie and chips (believe me, I don’t normally need an excuse for a pie!) but having a mince pie ready and waiting for dessert, I decided to stick with my original plan of chicken kiev.

As I’d already had two of these mince pies “au naturel” I decided to have this third one of the day with a bit of ice cream, which did mix it up a bit. However by this point I had definitely decided that this wasn’t my favourite mince pie to eat. The pastry wasn’t overly crisp and there could have been more filling to balance the pastry:filing ratio better but overall it was a nice, if not spectacular mince pie. At £1.19 for 4 pies, so 30p each, this was a fair bit more expensive than the Lidl/Tesco/Mr Kipling comparisons of last year but not too badly priced.

Pierate Birthday Card
Pies, our birthday card and birthday print by @michlan
Booths Mince Pies
Score: 4/7

[Colour 3.5, Capacity 4, Consistency 3.5, Condition 4, Chewiness 4.5, Cheapness 4.5, Content 4, Total: 4/7]

And as for why mince pies get sold before December? Well, I think there are a few reasons. Firstly, why would you ever only want to eat pies in December?! Surely more places should follow the lead of Robinsons Bakery and sell mince pies all year round! Secondly, with so many to choose from, you need to start early in order to sample a good range of mince pies in order to choose your favourite for Christmas Day!

But finally - and arguably most importantly – you wouldn’t be able to eat and rate mince pies on International Pierate Day if they weren’t sold until December. And we certainly wouldn’t want that to happen!!!

RAS

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 2014 - Mince Pie with every meal"

International Pierate Day 2014

Today the Pierateers of pie review website www.pierate.co.uk celebrate their 5th Birthday! So naturally we thought what better way to celebrate than to eat a pie and rate it?! It follows in the footsteps of the very first International Pierate Day 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 fifth birthday – we would love you to join us in eating and rating pies with us!

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

And to celebrate the occasion of our 5th birthday, we commissioned designer @Michlan to create us this lovely, personalised print (which is proudly being displayed in Pierate HQ right now!)

Pierate Pierateer Print
Our Birthday Pierateer print by @michlan

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!

In addition to all the exciting plans we have for #InternationalPierateDay and our 'Month of birthday surPIEses', we are also delighted to announce that The London Pie and Mash Company Limited are coming to Birmingham to provide traditional London pie, mash and liquor for our 5th Birthday Pie-rty on 22nd November! We can't wait!!!





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?

Pierate Pie Reviews Seven Cs Infographic
The Seven Cs of pie rating infographic

This International Pierate Day we're looking to solve a pie mystery that has bamboozled shoppers for years... Just why do shops sell mince pies before December?

Find out our thoughts on the matter and our pie rating of Booths Mince Pies by checking out our article
"International Pierate Day 2014 - Mince Pie with every meal"


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 - of over 425 pies we've rated and reviewed over the past 5 years - or perhaps you'd like to narrow it down to our 'Best Pies in London Restaurants'?

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 2014"

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Frozen microwaveable pie and mash...what could go wrong?

Kershaws 'Cooks' Pie and Mash

It is time for another pie review! Now, I was perusing the freezer aisle of a medium-sized independent supermarket, knowing this was the ideal place to pick up some unreviewed pies (I think we've reviewed most commercially available supermarket pies now). I came across this little package - a 'Cooks' pie and mash! 

pie and mash

Ooh, Cooks, that's not a brand that we've tried before, this could be quite good! 'Family butchers'! An 'East End Speciality'! Only £1.89 for pie, mash AND herb liquor!

But then I flipped the pack over and my heart sank a little. It was a Kershaws. Readers of the blog will know that I've tried a couple of Kershaws pies in the past and found them rather...disappointing. Their segmented microwaveable packages never seem to live up to the appetising picture on the box, and while they're cheap they are not very filling. The condition of the pie is pretty dismal, presented like a limp rectangle in an oversized plastic packet.

pie and mash

After some time in the microwave, the pie and mash is ready for serving. Blimey, this is quite a stingy portion! It barely takes up half of my regular-sized plate! It doesn't look too bad though, considering it's a microwave job. The pie at least has a reasonable golden colour, and it is actually fully encased in pastry.

pie and mash

On slicing the pie open, I note that pie is (perhaps surprisingly) rather well filled. I mean, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at that considering how small the pie is (there wouldn't be any room for an airgap without the pie being virtually empty), but it's still pleasing to the eye.

pie and mash

Since I microwaved this pie, it's a given that the pastry is going to be chewy and not at all crispy. What I am pleasantly surprised at is how nice the liquor is. It does seem to be genuinely herby. The pie, however, has little going for it. The meat filling isn't any special, and the whole thing is just so small and miserly. 

In summary, this pie is edible, and I do believe it is the first time I've ever seen a traditional pie and mash in a supermarket so thumbs up for originality. The best part, in my view, was the liquor, but this pie is tiny tiny so even at the low cost of £1.89 this pie isn't a steal.

Kershaws 'Cooks' Pie and Mash
Colour: 3.2 Condition: 3 Content: 2.5 Capacity: 1 Chewiness: 3 Consistency: 3 Cheapness: 3.5
Total: 2.74/7
TJP
continue reading "Frozen microwaveable pie and mash...what could go wrong?"

Monday, 10 November 2014

Pre-pie-ration for Pierate's 5th Birthday!

International Pierate Day 2014 - Pie review website www.pierate.co.uk are getting ready to celebrate their 5th Birthday!


We are now just a couple of days away from when the leading pie review website - yep, that's us at www.pierate.co.uk - is five years old! So we naturally thought what better way to celebrate than to eat a pie and rate it?!

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 on Wednesday – marking our fifth birthday – we would love you to join us in eating and rating pies with us!

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



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!

In addition to all the exciting plans we have for #InternationalPierateDay and our 'Month of birthday surPIEses', we are also delighted to announce that The London Pie and Mash Company Limited are coming to Birmingham to provide traditional London pie, mash and liquor for our 5th Birthday Pie-rty on 22nd November! We can't wait!!!





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?

Pierate Pie Reviews Seven Cs Infographic
The Seven Cs of pie rating infographic

So what do you need to do now?


Well, get your eyes on the pies and have a pie ready for Wednesday! (Or if you're anything like us, get a number of pies ready, so that when you "accidentally" eat one or two today, and tomorrow, you still have some left on Wednesday!)

For insPIEration, you might find our Pie Rankings - of over 425 pies we've rated and reviewed over the past 5 years - or perhaps you'd like to narrow it down to our 'Best Pies in London Restaurants'?

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 this week! 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 "Pre-pie-ration for Pierate's 5th Birthday!"

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Do I have to be strong for these Bistro pies?

Ah, ASDA Bistro. Once ranking so highly in the Pierate pie rankings, the ASDA Bistro Ultimate Steak pie set a new precedent when it became the first and only pie ever to actually get demoted on our list. What a shocker! In fact, the Ultimate Steak wasn't the only pie in ASDA's Bistro range to disappoint us with it's oversized air gap - the Ultimate Steak and Ale pie was equally empty, and some of ASDA's other pie offerings have also failed to step up to the mark in terms of capacity (steak and stilton, blackcurrant, and rhubarb). So it was with some trepidation that I reached up to the top pie shelf and picked out two as-yet-untested ASDA Bistro pies to see whether they could restore my faith in the Bistro pie range.

Bring on the Chicken Filo Pastry Pie and the Pork, Bramley Apple and Cider Pie. They're £2.88 each, or 2 for £4.

First up it's the chicken filo. Filo pies have scored well previously on Pierate, but let's hope this isn't just a top crust offering.


Oh no, it's just a top crust offering.


Quite how this is ASDA's idea of a pie is beyond me. I'm left defeated, staring at this pointy filo crown floating atop a pooling stew of filling. I'm confused: how was I supposed to serve this pie? Leave it in the foil casing? There's no structural integrity to this pie whatsoever, and it just spreads across my plate. On tasting, though, the filling is actually rather nice. There's not a lot of it though, and I felt there was a bit too much sauce at the expense of too little chicken. However, the consistency of the sauce is pleasant and it does taste nice. Given that you could easily lift the filo "lid" of this pie away from the filling, the whole dish felt very disconnected. I actively had to spoon the filling onto the pastry lid in order to eat them together, otherwise this pie was essentially two disparate sections that didn't blend together harmoniously like a good pie should. The filo pastry was quite brittle and sharp, and not pleasant to bite into.

Next up is the pork, bramley apple and cider pie. This is thankfully a fully encased pie.



You can see in the photograph above that the pie is a nice golden colour with an attractive lid, but there is a small crack down the side, losing points for condition.


Upon opening this pie for the cross-section, you can see that ASDA have done it again with the huge airgap! What a let down. The pie isn't as badly unfilled as some pies we've seen, but I'm sure you'll agree with me that this amount of filling is rather disappointing for such a large pastry shell. It's certainly not packed to the rafters! The filling is quite nice and appley - I found it rather sweet to eat in any large quantity though. Having such a tall pastry case is a bit bizarre for 

Importantly, this foray into ASDA Bistro pies has taught me that ASDA still need to pick up their game in terms of filling their pies to capacity! 

ASDA Bistro Chicken Filo Pastry Pie
Score: 2.4/7
TJP

ASDA Bistro Pork, Bramley Apple and Cider Pie.
Score: 3.5/7
TJP
continue reading "Do I have to be strong for these Bistro pies?"

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Pinch punch, last pie of the month...

Punch Tavern Chicken and Rabbit Pie Reviews


It was Halloween, and Pierateer RAS and TJP headed to the Punch Tavern on London’s Fleet Street to see if this Grade II listed pub can deliver some knock out pies. Nestled within the bright lights and throbbing streets of central London, this well-regarded gastropub promises to serve up freshly-prepared traditional British fare. We had pre-ordered the rabbit and chicken pies before arrival to avoid disappointment, and settled in with a gin and tonic amongst the original 1897 Punch and Judy d├ęcor to enjoy our evening.

Punch Tavern Pie Great Taste Award
Great to see them pie-moting their top pies!
Now, I would mention how delicious the sweet potato wedges were for the starter, but this is Pierate not Wedgerate so we’ll skip on over to the main course. The first pie – chicken, tarragon, white wine and wild mushroom – won 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards 2014, so we knew this was a pie we simply had to try for ourselves. The second pie – rabbit, black pudding, wholegrain mustard, pear and cider - was an unusual filling and therefore again a pie we had to try. 

The little beauties arrived, and boy they looked delicious, alongside a generous portion of mash, cabbage, green beans and gravy. As rectangular pies, they were an intriguing departure from the standard circular shape. However, the condition of the pie is an important section on the Seven Cs, and we did note that both pastry casings had lost some of their structural integrity and had broken open a bit. The base and sides in places had succumbed to a mild case of gravy saturation (perhaps this was also a symptom of them resting on moist cabbage) and had thus become a bit floppy, but the lid certainly remained crisp and delicious. We must say the pastry was excellent, especially the lid which was a perfect golden brown colour.

Punch Tavern Chicken Pie Review
Punch Tavern Chicken Pie
Punch Tavern Chicken Pie Review
Punch Tavern Chicken Pie - cross-sectional view

Punch Tavern Rabbit Pie Review
Punch Tavern Rabbit Pie
Punch Tavern Rabbit Pie Review
Punch Tavern Rabbit Pie - cross-sectional view

Both pies were packed to the rafters with mouth-watering content, with only a minimal air gap at the top. You might think from the outside that these pies are not that large, but inside they are a meaty tardis. The chicken pie especially seemed to be bursting with meat, the rabbit pie slightly less so. We noted that the rabbit pie had a larger proportion of what we call “filler” in between the meat chunks (we like our pies super-meaty). TJP also noted a small bone in the rabbit meat – not really a big issue at all (as it just shows this is the unprocessed real deal!), but it does mean we have to shave off a few points as some people might find this off-putting. In the chicken pie we loved the bold taste of the tarragon; I could have eaten that filling all day, especially those wild mushrooms and the crisp flavoursome pastry lid. The meat seemed high quality and scored well for chewiness.

How does it rate on cheapness? At £12.50, these aren’t the cheapest pub pies out there, but by no means the most expensive. When you consider a) the location and b) the generous portions of mash and veg, we would rate the pie pretty well for cheapness. The Punch Tavern has every right to be proud of their handmade pies. There’s none of this centralised pie factory nonsense - we’re delighted to hear they craft each and every one of them themselves.

Sublime pastry, tasty filling, and a freshly-prepared delight, we would definitely recommend you try both of these pies – especially the chicken pie, which comes Pierate Highly Recommended. It’s the sign of a great pie when both Pierateers are totally full and already dreaming of their next visit! These Punch Tavern pies will take some beating and they rate very highly in our 'Best Pies in London Restaurants' article!
 
Punch Tavern chicken, tarragon, white wine and wild mushroom pie
Colour - 6.1 Condition - 5.5 Content - 6.5 Capacity - 5.8 Chewiness - 6.3 Consistency - 6.2 Cheapness - 5.75 
Score: 6.02/7
TJP and RAS


Punch Tavern rabbit, black pudding, wholegrain mustard, pear and cider
Colour - 6.1 Condition - 5.5 Content - 6.0 Capacity - 5.8 Chewiness - 6.3 Consistency - 6.0 Cheapness - 5.75
Score: 5.92/7
TJP and RAS
continue reading "Pinch punch, last pie of the month..."

Friday, 7 November 2014

Countdown to Pierate Day - Pieday Friday - 7th November 2014


It's Friday! It's Pieday!

Hi pie people! Can you believe we are literally days away from our 5th Birthday?! That of course means it is International Pierate Day a.k.a. a great excuse for you all to be Pierateers for the day and rate some pie! More information on this and our Birthday Pie-rty will be unveiled on Monday, but for now here's the week in pie!

Month of Birthday SurPIEses

As you'll no doubt have noticed here on Pierate we really do enjoy rating pies - so much so that we have over 425 in our Pie Rankings at present and many more to add to it in the next few weeks!

But did you know we've been rating pies for almost 5 years now?! Yes, from that first post back on 12th November 2009 to the present day, we've been rating pies on the 7 Cs of pie rating and we would love you to join us by doing exactly that on Wednesday 12th November 2014! For we have designated this day "International Pierate Day" and you can see a sneak pie-review of all the things we have planned - including our birthday pie-rty - in our preview article.

Included in this is mention of our "Month of birthday surPIEses" - because there's no way we can fit all the things we want to do and pies we want to rate into one single day!!! So last week was our first visit to see if the Punch Tavern in central London offer a knock out pie! They certainly didn't disappoint! And added to that, we've commissioned @michlan to create us a special Birthday print which we are excited to say has now landed on the doormat of Pierate HQ (and for which you can see a sneak pie-review below).


In the meantime, catch up with all the latest pie news on Pierate and by following our twitter hashtag of #InternationalPierateDay


Manchester City challenge for the top of the PIEremiership

After a great evening of pie and chat with Dan Schofield (Head of Operations) we've rated two pies from Fabulous Fan Fayre and they were too great scoring pies! Both really hit the back of the net - so much so that they earn "Pierate Highly Recommended" status. They slot in at number 2 in our PIEremiership table.

I'm sure you don't need reminding that we were pie advisers to the BBC a couple of weeks ago, featuring in a BBC video on football pies, but if you didn't know then do check out the video!


Andrew Webb's Pie Manual rated!

Imagine if you had a manual made specifically to tell you about how to make the perfect pie. Wouldn't that make the ideal Christmas present for you and the pie fans you love?!

Well you won't be surPIEsed to hear that as soon as we knew one existed - having just recently been released by Andrew Webb - we had to get our hands on the Haynes Men’s Pie Manual. Being Pierate, we felt it was only right to give an honest review using the Seven Cs of pie rating - which did cause one or two issues (specifically chewiness) but you can see how it rated here!

Of course, we were flattered to get an acknowledgement in the book for our efforts in rating pies!


Pie Tweet of the Week!

A tweet from the Pie Manual man himself - Andrew Webb!



Bowen Pies rated in the life of pies

You'll recall from last week's Pieday Friday that fellow pie-fanatic Martin has loves eating pies so much he's written a whole book about it. The Life of Pies book launch happened on October 24th and you won't be surPIEsed to find out Pierateer RAS booked his ticket to Wigan to be there! Of course no pie book launch would be completed without free pies and the Bowen pies available on the night received some very good scores on the 7 Cs of pie rating!

Not only did he pick up a signed copy of the book (which no doubt already has gravy stains all over it!) but Martin very kindly gave Rob a brief tour of Wigan and neighbouring St Helens the following day in order to point out some of the pies in the area! You'll find them springing up all over Pierate in the coming week or so!


If you have a story you think would be good to feature in next week's Pieday Friday, send us an email at pierateship@yahoo.co.uk or contact us on Twitter @pierateers 
continue reading "Countdown to Pierate Day - Pieday Friday - 7th November 2014"