Monday 8 December 2014

Re-stocking up on the Old Joint Stock pie

Fuller's Ale and Pie House Steak Pie Review from The Old Joint Stock Pub in Birmingham City Centre

You may remember that the Pierateers did a joint pie review of the Fuller’s Ale and Pie House chain back in March 2013, with all three Pierateers enjoying the various pies that they ate at a very reasonable price of £9.75. Well fast forward 14 months to May 2014* and we decided to once again stock up on a pie from the Old Joint Stock to see how their pies were fairing on the 7 Cs.

Old Joint Stock Ale and Pie House - Steak Pie Review
Old Joint Stock Ale and Pie House - Steak Pie
*Please note that this is a rating of the Old Joint Stock pie eaten on 6th May 2014 and reviewed shortly afterwards, which has only recently been found to not have been posted on the blog yet! Oops! Therefore – as with any of the pies we review – the pie may well have improved since the pie was rated (back in May).

Old Joint Stock Pie Menu Review
Old Joint Stock Pie Menu
This was once again a group outing to the Old Joint Stock, though this time it wasn’t fellow Pierateers but good friends of the blog @CarolineS_Art and @justinmgardner, who also delved into the pie menu. The pie Pierateer RAS went for was the Steak and ESB pie, compared to the Chicken pie he had thoroughly enjoyed on his last visit. It was immediately noticed that the intervening year had seen a quite significant price increase of £3 on the cost of a pie to a quite substantial sum of £12.75, but seeing as pie is what this pub chain is all about RAS had high hopes for a strongly scoring pie.

As the pie was brought to the table, it was clear a lot had changed since his last visit on the pie front too. Not just the price, but the shape and the pastry lid toping too! Much smaller and thinner, but also taller, than the previous pie, they had also changed from a shortcrust base and sides but big puff pastry lid effort to a shortcrust all the way round style. The summary of this was that Pierateer RAS felt the overall consistency in quality of pastry was stronger in this new version, as it had been noted the pastry varied in quality quite considerably in the last visit, but the lack of a puff pastry lid was a slight disappointment.

However how would the capacity fair? Certainly I hadn’t rated many pies with such height before, but alas when cutting through the pie the disappointment was evident. The capacity was about two-thirds at best, and certainly not the well filled pie he had hoped for, considering it was quite a small circumference to the pie.

Old Joint Stock Ale and Pie House - Steak Pie Review
Old Joint Stock Ale and Pie House - Steak Pie Review
The content was interestingly arranged, with a bottom layer consisting of one large field mushroom, topped with a decent layer of steak and then – in my view – a slightly excessive layer of caramelised shallots. The gravy seeped through it all, with a decent moisture to the pie contents, however there was a definite need for the additional gravy boat provided. We at Pierate have nothing against providing a gravy boat with a pie meal, indeed being very partial at times to a good gravy, but when we are assessing a pie we do expect the pie alone to be moist enough. The filling certainly was, but as the content only filled about two thirds of the capacity, there was a lot of relatively dry pastry which certainly needed the addition of extra gravy.

While the meat was very nice and tender, and the gravy added a nice flavour to the pie, the lack of content in what is quite a costly pie meal does hold it back from getting the high scores of our previous visit. I would eat it again but would certainly peruse the rest of the menu first.

Fuller’s Ale and Pie House [Old Joint Stock] Steak and ESB Ale Pie
Score: 4.61/7
[Colour 5.5, Capacity 4, Consistency 4.5, Condition 5.5, Chewiness 5, Cheapness 3.25, Content 4.5, Total: 4.61/7]

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