Wednesday 19 March 2014

Cheltenham Town Relegation Material

Cheltenham Town FC - Steak Pie Review

Last night I went to Whaddon Road to see Cheltenham Town take on Wycombe Wanderers. I had heard that the pies sold at the back of the stand behind the goal advertised themselves as 'homemade' so I thought I had better check them out. My source had questioned whether they were indeed homemade but still thought they weren't too shabby.

The pies are sold from what looks like a portable burger van type affair which is just placed on the concrete behind the stand. However, it did look fairly appealing. The menu was painted onto the side of the unit and it did quite clearly say that the pies were homemade. In fact it advertised that they were not just homemade but read 'GOURMET HOMEMADE PIES - £3'. Needless to say, to a Pierateer this was pretty exciting. Upon receiving the information that the available options were Chicken & Mushroom or Steak I decided that I had best give them the best chance of topping our Football Pie League by opting for the steak because it is my favoured pie choice.

Once I gave my £3 I was baffled to be given 50p change. They said the pies were cheaper today.... I soon found out why. The pie I received was clearly not homemade. It had a classic mass produced oval shape. There were perfectly crimped edges and a pattern of lines on the top only found with pies from a factory. The pie was also very shallow with a small Capacity. I was very disappointed with the appearance.

I tried to reserve judgement until I had tasted what was sure to be a flavoursome pastry package. The first bite was one of the most strangest first bites I have ever had with a pie. This clearly had been made with some flaky puff pastry, however it had puffed up and dried out so much that it just fell apart into almost nothing. To me it tasted as if I was eating a fried Ryvita (and not in a good way). I think this was partly due to the pie having dried out in the hot counter, despite the fact that I had opted to get my pie in before the match. There was also far too much pastry, the first bite was just flakes of pastry and air. This was contributed to by the lack of filling in this pie. There were a couple of small pieces of meat, although these didn't particular look like beef, with the one shown in the picture striking me as particularly pink. Strangely, for a cheap pie, they didn't even bother to pack it with gravy to make up for the lack of meat. There was a bit, but not enough to moisten the dry pastry. It did taste of steak in a generic way and at least it didn't taste bad.

So, with being completely dis-satisfied by the pie I decided to go back to the food outlet and enquire who made them! The first thing I was told was that the pie was 100% horse meat. This was said as if it was a joke but it was a bit worrying after the meat in the pie did look so strange. The guy in charge said that these were a substitute pie, their normal option being unavailable for tonight. This seemed to explain it, so who made the gourmet homemade pies that they normally sell? The guy proudly informed me that they normally sell delicious Pukka Pies. Right... I don't have anything against a Pukka (and it would have been A LOT better) but they aren't exactly homemade!

Once the guy in charge found out I was writing a review he asked me not to write it because they weren't the normal pies they sell. I told him that the pie on sale today was probably the worst football pie I had ever eaten. Apparently this was 'ok' because they were 50p cheaper! At £2.50 this wasn't even particularly cheap for a pie at a League Two ground.

When I enquired who had made the pie he 'couldn't remember' because he doesn't buy the pies. This was quite convenient because to me this pie looked very similar to a supermarket pie such as these ones sold by ASDA. I couldn't confirm whether such an alegation might be true, in fact I would suggest that it probably isn't because I am sure Cheltenham have higher standards. But they do look remarkably similar....

After that I went on to enjoy a fairly decent game. Both teams were battling for possesion and sometimes it lacked fluidity but at least there were some goals. Wycombe had a couple of great chances but ultimately Cheltenham went ahead after a header in from a cross. Wycombe equalised from the penalty spot so the game finished 1-1. The point will be valuable for Wycombe to ease their relegation worries. However, Cheltenham have relegation worries of their own as their substitute pie falls well short of the standards expected. This leaves them bottom of our Football Pie League.

It may have been a substitute pie, but I can only review what I am served. There was no mention of it being an alternative before I brought it. However do bear in mind that you will probably be served a Pukka pie at Cheltenham, but the poor level of service will be the same. There is always a chance you may be served one of these abysmal pies, perhaps check before you buy, you have been warned!

Steak (Cheltenham Town FC)


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