Tuesday 2 June 2015

Shabby at The Abbey

The Abbey, Gloucester - Steak & Bombardier Ale Pie Review

Having moved to Gloucester less than two years ago I feel I am still getting to grips with the local pie scene. So when Pierateer RAS paid me a visit it seemed pretty much mandatory that we should find a new pie to review in Gloucester. Pierateer ALE said to me ‘but you could get something different to pie…’.
Yes, we COULD get something that isn’t pie, but why would we want to?!

stonegate pub menu

Having a wander around the centre of Gloucester I was already ruling out some of the nicer pubs based on the fact that I have already tried their pies and sadly most of them are top crusts. Other nicer pubs either had run out of pies or just didn’t do them (shocking I know…). There were a couple of ‘Wetherspoon type’ chain pubs serving cheap grub and these seemed to be our only options. I find it hard to resist a bargain. I will often do my weekly shop based on what is in the reduced section or on special offer. Upon discovering that the steak & bombardier ale pie at The Abbey (part of the Stonegate Pub chain) was in the ‘Two meals for £7.95’ section it was tempting to give it a try. But given that not many people will pay the full £7.50 price for one meal on it’s own, this is effectively a pie meal for £4. At such a low price how could the pie be any good? At Pierate, the foremost pie review website, it is our duty to review all pies, expensive and cheap. We never know where we might find excellent value pies which keeps us coming back for more...

How did it score? Sadly this pie was left looking a bit shabby next to it's more upmarket rivals. See the average scores below from myself and Pierateer RAS. We were both very much in agreement that this was not a good pie. It was certainly edible, unlike some we have had, which is perhaps the best that could be hoped for at the price. We realised afterwards that Pierateer RAS has previously reviewed pies from the Stonegate Pub chain at the Sack of Potatoes in Birmingham. There seem to be a number of Stonegate Pubs around and they also own some other pub brands. We have also reviewed some of these such as Yates's and Slug & Lettuce.
Steak & Ale pie

Condition – 4.00 out of 7 - It claims to be handmade, but given that this is a slice cut from a larger pie, this detracts from the appearance a little.
Steak & Ale pieColour – 4.25 out of 7 – Decent enough but a bit on the dull side, in general it looked better than it tasted.
Cheapness – 4.50 out of 7 – We slightly disagreed on the value here, I felt for what is effectively a £4 meal (with chips and peas) this was something I could potentially eat again if I was short on cash but RAS said that it just wasn’t good enough to bother with, no matter how cheap.
Capacity – 4.00 out of 7 – Decent amount of filling, it is difficult to discern the size of the airgap with a slice of pie. However, it definitely had too much pastry to filling because some of the pastry was too thick and there was an excessive crimp on top.
Chewiness – 3.00 out of 7 – We both agreed that there was something odd about the texture of this pie, the meat was soft but in more of a soggy way, rather than being nice and tender. A bit like tinned beef. The pastry was spongy and bread-like in places. It was too hard at the top but yet soggy on the bottom, disaster!
Content – 4.25 out of 7 – The content was a bit stronger, for the price there was a good amount of meat. There was a nice, but generic gravy taste with onion and ale both noticeable. However, there just wasn’t enough seasoning and it was too bland. What was somewhat surprising was that Pierateer RAS had a stray bit of carrot in his pie. This does make you worry a little about the cooking process. What kind of mad factory are these pies made in where pieces of carrot are flying about left, right and centre?!
Consistency – 3.25 out of 7 – Some slightly stronger areas but a bad consistency to the pastry really let this pie down.

Steak & Bombardier Ale (The Abbey [GL1 2AJ] – Stonegate pub chain) 


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