Sunday 17 July 2011

Eel-ly good pie

L. Manze - London Pie & Mash Shop Review

Eel and Pie Houses have been providing traditional London pies since the 19th century and although less of the historic shops can be found today the Pierateers certainly weren't about to let this noble tradition pass them by. The L. Manze shop on Walthamstow High Street came highly regarded as one of the oldest having been established in 1928. The Manze family are a famous name within the Eel and Pie world having 3 different members of the family still with shops bearing their names today.

See our article on traditional Pie & Mash Shops to understand more about the history of these quaint old establishments

It is so unexpected to see such a lovely old fashioned eatery stuck inbetween the pound shops of Walthamstow. Upon entering it is like stepping back in time. There is a lovely marble and tile interior with narrow wooden booths. It is good to see a healthy stack of empty pie dishes on the counter and also a sign saying they had sold out of eels that day, clearly business is good. Although saddened that I couldn't grab myself some jellied eel that is a story for another day as of course I had my eyes on the pies.
I grab myself a mince pie and settle down in a booth. I'm not sure I have ever sat in such an uncomfortable seat, they were so very narrow it seems hard to imagine they were designed for real people. Fortunately for Manze's 'comfortable' is not one of the 7 Cs and this will not affect their rating.

But the real question is, do these pies provide anything special? While the offer of jellied eel is special, are their pies any different from the local chippy? The answer is most emphatically yes. The pies are served with mash potato and a thick parsley sauce which they call 'liquor' and is allegedly made using eel stock. I loved the liquor and appreciated the uniqueness of the marine flavouring. The pastry itself had a crunchiness around the edges and a crispness in the middle which turned gooey and flaky in the centre. They must use pastry and cooking techniques that I haven't come across before because it really was different. However this worked in it's favour because it isn't often that a Pierateer finds something unique and I loved it. The meat seemed to be consistently good quality with plenty of gravy. Overall I think every pie lover should take the opportunity to try one of these pies if they visit London. If not you can also order online from M. Manze, a separate shop originating from the same Manze family who sell similar pies.

On the way out of this historic establishment I noticed they had put saw dust on the floor. This doesn't happen in my local McDonald's or any other eatery I frequent so I questioned the motivation behind it. They said it was done as tradition and it soaked up spills. This really summed up the experience for me, unashamedly traditional. Please find a pie and mash shop near you and keep this original 'fast food' alive.

Traditional Minced Beef (L. Manze)

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Friday 15 July 2011

What's the matter[dor]? Pieminister Review Matador Pie

Pieminister Pie Review - Matador

pieminister matador pie review

I find myself yet again reviewing a Pieminister delight. They have a fascinating range of interesting pies - each one is so different that you just have to review them all. Today's review is on the Matador pie - which contains the distinctive combination of beef and chorizo amongst other ingredients. After baking in the oven for the appropriate amount of time, the classic pieminister pastry is crunchy and browned. Opening the pie up, you can really appreciate the pie's density and premium content. This isn't a light pie for a summer's day - this is a manly solid pie for the British weather. On eating, I note the delicious exotic taste of the chorizo and savour the moment as the smooth gravy oozes inbetween the soft melting fibres of the steak.

pieminister matador pie reviewpieminister matador pie review

This pie is original and taste excellent. A little on the expensive side, but you get what you pay for.

Pieminister Matador Pie - Steak, Chorizo, Olives, Butter Beans and Sherry Pie
Score: 6.03/7

and let us know your thoughts!

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Pie excitement on the Apprentice

You may well have watched the latest episode of The Apprentice. Here at Pierate we were thrilled to see that two of the contestants, Tom and Helen, decided to set up at British-themed (Christopher Columbus??) pie shop as part of the Fast Food Challenge. Naturally, they won...

Available on BBC iPlayer for UK viewers.
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Wednesday 6 July 2011

A bonza pie on my Walkabout Birmingham

Walkabout Pie Review

So I was casually walking about Birmingham with a friend, looking for a good place to stop and have a pie (and ideally watch the football on TV too), when we stumbled upon an Aussie eatery which is taking the UK High Street by storm. The warm, Aussie welcome you get entering Walkabout Pubs is great to see, and noticing kangaroo burgers and springbok on the menu adds a spice of originality to the establishment... but the real question we need to ask is: Do they serve up a bonza pie? (that’s an excellent, attractive, pleasing pie to us British folk)

As you can see from the photos, this food screams out “pie!” as it is clearly a pastry base with a separate pastry lid stuck on top. No denying that! Onto the taste, and the pie pastry was golden and crispy, the steak (as sadly they didn’t have a kangaroo pie) was very nice too. The gravy seemed to have an Aussie twang to it and the mushy peas side order was quite unique, but all in all this was a very nice pie that I would happily have again. Shows that you can still get top quality pies, even from the other side of the world!*

Score: 4.6/7

*Okay, so admittedly this pie is unlikely to have been flown over having been made on Aussie shores, but the recipe was probably created by Sheila or someone (you know, Sheila – Sheila from Australia...)
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