Saturday 2 May 2015

Corn on the Cobblers

Northampton Town FC/The Pie Factory - Steak & Ale Pie Review

Given that our team, Wycombe, had a chance (albeit slim) to get promoted from League Two  Piearateers RAS and SJL headed over to Northampton Town for the final match of the season. Sixfields is a bit of a hole, quite literally, or at least it is in a bit of a hole. It is a new stadium which has for some reason been built in a dip, with banked grass verges all around. It is on the edge of town in a charming retail-park-cum-empty-wasteland area.

Northampton Town Football Pie
SJL went for the 'double pie', in front is the Chicken Balti

This was also a good opportunity to review a new football pie to add to our ever increasing (but still quite small) football pie league (The Pieremiership). Pierate takes us all over the place and there have been many unexpected things happen as a result of our love of pies. For instance Pierateer RAS was recently on the BBC talking about football pies. However, we hadn’t expected that we would have to pretend to be Northampton Town supporters for the day. Sixfields is having a stand rebuilt so there is a lack of space at the moment. Hence the away end was sold out but we picked up two tickets for the home end. Having heard that away fans would be ejected, we kept a low profile. What we hadn’t expected was that we would be sat next to a lovely, chatty Northampton Town fan. Once we had started pretending to be Northampton fans it was soon too late to come clean. It was surprisingly easy to blag it and I think we managed be fairly convincing Northampton supporters. This post is named after one of the best chants we heard on the day 'Corn on the Cobblers', it was from a 10 year old.
Northampton Town Football Pie
The Pie Factory Chicken Balti

The pies in question were apparently made by ‘The Pie Factory’ which was a company we hadn’t come across before. Pierateer RAS opted for the Steak & Ale and Pierateer SJL went for the ‘double pie’ combo of Steak & Ale and a Chicken Balti (he said it was because they didn't have chips but perhaps he is just greedy?). They looked good but were ultimately disappointing and certainly won't be challenging at the top of the Pieremiership. See below for the score breakdown for the Steak & Ale. The Chicken Balti looked identical to the Wright's Chicken Balti pie which was reviewed at Cambridge. They were certainly branded differently so this is strange, we are currently investigating the situation but no review will be given for now. In case you're wondering, SJL went for the Steak & Ale first, then the Chicken Balti which seemed like the most sensible approach.

Condition – 4.25 out of 7 - Looked pretty appealing, nice and tall. Looked crispy.
Colour – 4.25 out of 7 – Quite golden on top but sides pale, a bit matt rather than glossy.
Cheapness – 3.50 out of 7 – £3.10 is slightly above average for League Two and for a pie without a lot of filling this didn’t feel like good value.  
Northampton Town Football Pie
The Pie Factory Steak & Ale
Capacity – 3.25 out of 7 – Quite tall and big capacity but sadly there was a large airgap at the top. Whilst it looked like it would be satisfying, overall there was an air of disappointment. I would prefer a smaller pie without the airgap.
Chewiness – 3.75 out of 7 – Pastry texture was a bit weird, soft and a bit ‘bready’. Not much chewiness to the meat, but there wasn’t a lot of it.
Content – 3.50 out of 7 – It was nice that the ale was noticeable but was a little too sour. The meat that was there was nice enough but severely lacking. This was more of a gravy pie!
Consistency – 3.00 out of 7 – With the soft pastry and liquid filling this pie just didn’t quite work. Sadly a stodgy affair, which, whilst it didn’t taste bad would only be worth eating again in a situation where no other pies are available.

Wycombe got the win they needed with a winner in injury time, however, it wasn’t enough given that Bury won at Tranmere to clinch the last automatic promotion place. Here’s hoping we make Wembley via the play-offs.

Steak & Ale (Northampton Town FC/The Pie Factory) 


Update: The Pie Factory seems to be a brand owned by Centerplate catering company (formally Lindley Catering). They are said to be supplied by 'an artisan baker'. Having compared pictures of their pies and Wrights pies, it seems likely that Wrights are the supplier. We have contacted Centerplate to ask for this confirmation.

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