Sunday 1 June 2014

Farmers Boy Inn Pie Paradise

The Farmers Boy Inn - Steak & Stout Pie Review

An undoubted highlight of my pie for every meal challenge during British Pie Week was the trip to The Farmers Boy Inn in Longhope, Gloucestershire. For a Farmer's Boy like me (I grew up on a dairy farm) I was in pie paradise at the pub which is also where the Mad About Pies retail pie range originated. The proprietor, Phil Kiernan, was kind enough to give us an interview. Watch the video below from Day Six of my British Pie Week to see the interview. We are pleased that he shares our view in what makes a proper pie! We have tried some of the Mad About Pies before from the Phil Vickery and Martin Blunos ranges. These pies were excellent so I had high hope for the pie from The Farmers Boy Inn. They are made to the same recipes but they are made fresh at the pub.

The first thing that hit me was the huge array of pies that were available. So much so that The Farmers Boy Inn had a separate pie menu. I decided to play it safe and go for the 'Emerald Pie' which was Steak & Stout. What impressed me was that you could chose your pie in any of three sizes from 240g to 454g. You could also, if you are that way inclined, choose from two sizes of 'pie in a dish' top crust version, although if you are a follower of Pierate you would know we would never recommend that! I chose the 280g 'Bistro' option as a balance between calories and pie fulfillment. Watch the video from 7:55 to see the review. I will cut right to the chase and say that this was an excellent pie. I have in my mind an idea of what a quintessential British pie should look like, how the pastry should be and the consistency of the filling. The at pie at The Farmers Boy Inn came very close to fulfilling this stereotype for me. There really wasn't much that could have been improved about it, see below for a breakdown of the score.

Condition - 7.0 out of 7 - This pie really looked the part. It had a good structure and the fact that it arrived wrapped in paper was a nice touch. It looked so good that I forgot to start filming until part way through. Slightly plain compared to some pies we have had but it was simple and effective.
Colour - 6.0 out of 7 - A great graduation of colours on the lid, from sunset yellow in the middle to crispy, golden brown at the edge. The sides were a bit pale.
Cheapness - 4.5 out of 7 - The 'Bistro' option cost £10.95 for a 280g pie, more expensive than some pub pies which can come in under £10 but this kind of price is pretty average for a nice countryside setting like this. Plus the pies are made on the premises, with local Aberdeen Angus or Hereford meat which will cost more. Overall, not bad for a gourmet pie, but it wasn't the biggest.
Capacity - 6.1 out of 7 - This pie had a good height and the capacity was packed with content. The pastry to filling ratio was nigh on perfect.
Chewiness - 6.2 out of 7 - The slow cooked meat was melt in the mouth, mastication was barely required. The pastry had a perfect contrast in texture from crunchy on the outside to gooey in the middle, exactly what I look for. Probably the only criticism about this pie is that some of the pastry was too thick at the base, a bit too much to chew through.
Content - 6.9 out of 7 - Wow, what a flavour, the meaty taste was supplemented by a sour kick from the stout, there was plenty of flavour going on inside this pie. There was no attempt to do anything unusual with the taste, they just did the steak and stout flavour very, very well. The meat came in nice big chunks which were satisfying to eat and let's not forget it was local British beef!
Consistency - 6.8 out of 7 - The ample amount of thick gravy really delighted me. The pie was consistently good from beginning to end and worked really well as a package.

Overall, I was really glad that I paid a visit to The Farmers Boy Inn and have found another 'Pierate Highly Recommended' pie. All too often pubs serve casseroles with a pastry lid and call it a pie. When I have spoken to proprietors they say that it is 'too hard' to cook a proper pie from scratch. The Farmers Boy Inn show it can be done whilst still having a pie packed with content with a rich and thick sauce. If you add the large variety of pies on offer I know I will be visiting again and I would recommend it to anyone else who is fanatical about pies.

Steak & Stout (The Farmers Boy Inn [GL17 0LP])


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