Saturday 29 January 2011

Newman Arms Pie Room Review: Got any room left for a pie?

Update 2015 - Sadly the Newman Arms is under new management after having been in the same family for 20 years. They are no longer specialising in pies, the current menu doesn't seem to feature them at all, they are instead focusing on promoting food from the county of Cornwall. Obviously this is a shame given the fact that the pies were so popular.

The Newman Arms - London Pie Review

One problem I have as a professional pie eater is that there is a limit to how much I can partake in my craft at any one time. Unfortunately there are only three meals in a day and once I've had my seven between meal pie snacks I find I just don't have room for more pies. Which is a shame because as you might have gathered if you have ever looked at this blog before my colleagues and I REALLY like pies. Imagine a professional artist, if he wishes he can paint and paint and paint and never stop, there are no barriers between himself and his passion. Some would say this is a completely unfair situation. But never fear, this imbalance in life has been address by the pub The Newman Arms in Fitzrovia, London. They have a whole PIE ROOM upstairs meaning there is always room for more pies.

The pub is a hugely quaint old establishment with a narrow alley running alongside. It was built in 1730 and has been frequented by the likes of George Orwell and Dylan Thomas. The pie room is upstairs and despite my earlier comments there is infact very little room at all. There are only about 5 tables and if you haven't booked you don't stand much chance of getting a table. Much about the room is typical of an old pub but the menu is truly special. Every meal involves pastry (there are suet puddings available but we'll let them off for being a close relative of pies). There are some interesting pies available including a roasted vegetable option and the one I went for Chicken and Broccoli in a pepper sauce.

Of course the most important thing is are the pies any good??? For just under ten British pounds you get a very hearty meal. The pie is a decent size and you get potatoes and three portions of veg included so for London this scores highly on the cheapness front. It is much more fulfilling that The Fitzrovia around the corner. The puff pastry is light, flaky and inflated into a massive dome on top of the pie, it takes a while to cut through it to find the filling. It is almost as if the pastry has swelled under its own pride at being part of such a delicious pie. The pastry has some of the most lovely golden shades of colour I have ever seen on a pie. If the pie room had been around in Dylan Thomas' day I'm sure he would have waxed lyrical about how it reminded him of a Welsh sunrise.... or something or other.

The content was top notch, I wouldn't have thought pepper sauce instead of traditional gravy would work but it really did. The capacity was bigger than your average pub pie and it was presumably filled with some of the finest bits of chicken as it was not at all chewy. The only downside, if you're being a purest, is that these were "top-crust" pies and lack pastry around the sides. It is surprising to see such an establishment not sticking to the strictest definition of what makes a pie a pie. However with the excitement of being in a pie room I barely noticed and this by no means reduced my enjoyment. So in summary this is unique, there are just not enough dedicated pie restaurants and it is no surprise to see it score highly. If you're ever visiting London you might be busy but please make some pie room in your schedule for a visit to The Newman Arms.

Newman Arms Chicken and Broccoli in a pepper sauce Pie
Score: 6.0/7

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 "Newman Arms Pie Room Review: Got any room left for a pie?"

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Screaming 4 the Pies!

After a hard morning at work, what better way to unwind than with a cheeky lunchtime pie?! For as it says on the menu – “Pie not?” Heading into the local Scream pub, the “Pies! Pies! Pies! Pies!” slogan on the bar gave me a welcome boost on my lunch break from work (yes, sadly even the top Pierateers have to work hard for their dollar dollar to fund their enormous pie consumption). And there was certainly no lack of pies on the pub menu – 4 to be precise including an intriguing Chicken and Limerick Ham Pie which I went for. (There was also a Butternut Squash Pie on the menu which wouldn’t really float my boat but certainly provides a random alternative for the veggie pie lovers out there!) And with curly fries on the side, I certainly wasn’t gonna hold back!

So to the pie! The pie came served with a layer of beef gravy on top of the pie and the accompanying curly fries and peas...which I have to say has become a staple of recent Chicken Pie purchases for me. While it certainly re-raised the debate of ‘does beef gravy really go best with a white wine pie sauce?’ personally it didn’t ruin the pie for me. I do think if there’s a nice white wine sauce in the pie then it doesn’t need the dinner to be caked in beef gravy too (and the lads who know me well will know that I love a little bit of dinner with my gravy!) Anyhow... the pie was made with short crust pastry and the lid of the pie was particularly crisp and tasty, even if the base was slightly less tasty and probably on the ‘too thick’ side. But certainly the content was very good – particularly the chicken pieces but the ham was good too (even if you did need a microscope to see the pieces of ham!). Not sure what the ‘Limerick’ part of the ham was all about though! And the leek in there was a little OTT for my liking but complemented the meal in proportion. One thing’s for certain – you wouldn’t be screaming like a baby after downing a pie from your local Scream Pub! Here’s hoping the pies continue to be a staple of their menu, so we’ve got something to continue screaming about here at Pierate!

So in summary – while the “Scream Burger” has become a bit of an institution of the Scream chain of pubs, here’s hoping that the “Scream Pies” become a bit of a fans favourite as well!

Score: 4.2/7
continue reading "Screaming 4 the Pies!"

Saturday 1 January 2011

Make the most of 2011

The end of the year brings time for reflection. It seems that 2010 was a good year for pies, it is well documented that pie sales have been increasing and we here at have eaten a fair few ourselves. But that isn't going to stop me making a new year's resolution to eat more pies. Some might question whether this is sheer lunacy, I must have eaten hundreds this year will there be a risk of a pie overdose? I would say to those people not to worry, this is perfectly safe, I am a trained professional in pie eating. I will have a healthcare expert on standby and I have been preparing myself mentally for the challenge. There is a plate of salad in the fridge in case of emergency but I doubt I will be needing it.

I am properly equipped for the challenge thanks to my trusty GOURMET PIE MAKER which I received as a Christmas present from someone who I can only assume was able to read my mind. This is similar in style to a toasted sandwich maker but instead of bread you use pastry. Utilising the leftovers from Christmas I was able to fashion a couple of batches of Turkey, Bacon and Sweetcorn pies.

I can recommend Knorr Stock Pots which seemed to add a good flavour to the gravy. The pie maker did make the pastry go lovely and gooey which isn't so easy to do when just cooking a pie in the oven. I did however manage to create quite a considerable mess making these pies and burn myself. However no animals were harmed in the making of these pies. Apart from the ones that were eaten in the pies that is. Overall I was hugely happy with the way these turned out and hopefully it will help me meet my new year's resolution. Happy 2011 everyone!
continue reading "Make the most of 2011"