Saturday 21 June 2014

Hopping mad for a rabbit and cider pie from Bakerie Pie and Ale?

Bakerie Pie and Ale Rabbit And Cider Pie Review

It comes as no surprise that the savoury pie range on offer at most pubs and restaurants focuses on steak, chicken and pork pies. They are of course the staple of the British pie scene and make up the majority of our rated pies. But at Pierate we are always on the lookout for something a bit different. It doesn’t always have to be an exotic meat such as zebra or crocodile – we’d settle for rating the more unusual domestic meat flavours like rabbit or venison. But to our delight, Pie and Ale from Bakerie, situated in the centre of Manchester, combines them all. Be it traditional, unusual or exotic (on a rotated specials board) – Pie and Ale cover them all! They therefore clearly talk a good pie game, but the big question is how do they rate?
Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie Review
Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie

On a recent trip to Manchester, as part of a Manchester #PieTour, Pierateeer RAS decided to give Pie and Ale a rating. If possible, we like to rate more than one pie from a producer before submitting our review, to ensure consistency in the provision of pies, so having previously eaten a horse pie in Pie and Ale, you will see that review soon too. But first things first…

How did the rabbit and cider pie rate?

It’s worth noting that the presentation of this pie is very good, with a delightful rabbit figurine on top of the pie and mash to highlight the pie you’re eating (in case you can’t remember!) A delightful touch, although as we are pie raters rather than pie and mash raters (it’s pierate – not pieandmashrate!) we do feel the addition of mash potato on top – rather than at the side – of a pie does detract from the pie a bit. Similar to pouring additional gravy on top of the pie (a no-no in our opinion – as the pie should firstly not need additional gravy and secondly we are very capable of adding our own!), the mash on top of the pie does mean the lid of the pie is not as crisp as it might well have been and you don’t get full sight of the beauty that is the pie!

Fortunately, having scraped the mash off the top of the pie to analyse the lid of the pie too, I can confirm it is fully encased and the lid was reasonably golden. Not as golden as the crisp outer crimped pie edge, which was crisp but a tad dry as a result, however it was important to be fully encased in pastry. The base of the pie was a little soft, still holding its structure when a slice of the pie was picked up but rather too soft for my liking. Again this probably wasn’t helped by the ample gravy provided with the pie. In all, I felt there was a bit too much pastry with this pie, so the pie:filling ratio could be improved slightly.

Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie Review
Bakerie Pie & Ale Rabbit Pie

The pie contents itself was on the whole very nice and flavoursome. It was not clearly noticeable to me that it was a cider sauce, however the filling was moist and enjoyable. Needed when the pastry was a bit crisp in places and complimenting the lovely, tender meat and soft vegetable and fruit filling.

The black pudding was rather focused in one corner of the pie and therefore the consistency of this pie was not ideal, with some mouthfuls of meat and others just of black pudding, but in general the rest of the flavours worked. The apple and parsnips added some mix to the flavour without being over burdening. The bacon was clearly evident, without being a rival to the main meaty chunks of rabbit. I would have preferred a content of slightly more rabbit, but it was still a decent proportion of the pie content. The capacity was strong, though a little bit more rabbit would certainly improve it.

At £9.95 for rabbit pie, mash and gravy, served in a restaurant in the heart of Manchester, I feel this is a very reasonable price for a decent sized pie. It was certainly filling and the flavours were good. I would certainly happily eat pie at Pie and Ale again, and look forward to trying some more unusual pies again in the future. This pie achieves Pierate Recommended status for scoring over 5/7.

Bakerie Pie and Ale Rabbit And Cider Pie
Score: 5.68/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 5.75, Consistency 5.5, Condition 5.5, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 5.75, Total: 5.68/7]

Interestingly the Pie and Ale menu also includes a number of “Summer Gourmet Dishes” which are marketed as a “bottom crust dish for a lighter dining option”. While obviously we are biased to pies and would prefer just pies on the menu, we understand the business logic of a ‘lighter’ food option during the summer months. However we respect the fact that Pie and Ale haven’t gone for the sadly all too common approach of labelling a non-pie a pie on their menu. “Bottom crust dish” is a much more apt name for these pastry light options. Sadly many pubs fall foul of calling similar pastry-light dishes – in effect casseroles with a pastry lid – a pie. They are not a pie and there is currently an e-petition calling for criminal charges against such false labelling. Respect to Pie and Ale for not falling for this poor food labelling.

Thanks also to Pie and Ale for their free "Pi-fi" which allowed this review to be written and posted while still in the restaurant!

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.

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