Sunday, 13 September 2015
It’s Goodison, But Not Good Enough
Everton Football Club - Goodison Steak Pie Review
Yesterday I watched Everton outclass Chelsea to win 3-1 at Goodison Park in one of the most enjoyable matches I have seen in a while. I went with my Grandad to celebrate his 80th birthday. I wanted to take him to a Premier League match and this just happened to be one that I could get tickets to. It took me so long to organise it, it was almost his 81st birthday before we managed to go! If you are a regular follower of the exploits in the PIEremiership, the Pierate Football Pie League, then you will know that we are primarily Wycombe Wanderers supporters. However, since I was young I have followed Chelsea as my ‘premier league team’. The days of an underachieving team with the likes of Gianfranco Zola were ones where I was very keen on following Chelsea. It is perhaps strange that now the team are much more successful in the Abramovich era that I don’t care so much. I enjoy watching a good Chelsea team but I am not so bothered whether they win or not. What I did not expect though was that in this game I found myself actually wanting Everton to win! They seemed to play with a lot more passion than Chelsea and I got swept up in the atmosphere of a packed Goodison Park which was revelling in how well their team were playing. The abuse aimed at Mourinho was particularly entertaining such as "Money can't buy you Stones" (to the tune of "Money Can't Buy You Love") and "You're getting sacked in the morning".
We sat amongst the Everton fans in the Top Balcony which gave a great view of the pitch (albeit with a pillar in the way of some of it!) as well as across Stanley Park to where Anfield was visible on the other side. The old wooden seats are steeply tiered so it is unlikely a tall bloke in front will block your view. I strongly recommend a trip to Goodison Park, the stadium has plenty of character compared to many of the newer stadiums around and the atmosphere is great as nearly every seat seemed to be taken (mainly by season ticket holders).
There wasn't much choice of food but this wasn't really important because I was only ever going to get a pie. The Everton pies are made by local company Clayton Park Bakery who have a contract to supply Everton until the 2016/17 season. They have a wonderful website domain - www.pietastic.com - which indicates they are passionate about pies and supply a number of football clubs. After looking at their website I had high hopes that the pies might be good, at least they weren't just from one of the mass market producers such as Pukka.
There is a choice of 3 pies with the Goodison Steak, Chicken & Gravy and Scouse Pie all making the line up at £3.20 each. I opted for the Goodison Steak pie in the hope that it would give the best chance of scoring well.
Sinking my teeth into the pie it was good to see that there wasn’t really any empty space however it was almost entirely filled with gravy! I couldn’t find a single piece of nice steak, not even one! Looking at the ingredients confirmed that the filling of this pie was only 15% beef. Given that the filling was only about 50% of the pie, this gives it around 7.5% beef overall, which is bad even for a cheap supermarket pie. Absolutely shocking given that this pie cost £3.20, (even if this is a pretty standard price for a football ground pie). There were a few small lumps of something in the pie, but they didn’t really have the texture of beef, more like greasy potato. I suspected these were just lumps of fat. This is a shame as otherwise, the pie didn’t taste bad but for a steak pie such you need to have some pieces of steak!
Condition – 4.0 out of 7 – This pie arrived wrapped in plastic, which always worries me. How can they heat the pie up properly whilst it is wrapped in plastic? Other than that the appearance was fine, if unexciting. It had an unusually large vent in the top and I am not sure if this was intentional or the filling had just escaped!
Colour – 3.0 out of 7 – I thought that the colour of this pie was a bit pale and it looked a bit like soggy and greasy rather than nice and crisp.
Cheapness – 3.5 out of 7 – Average for a pie from an English football ground but you don’t get a lot for your money with this one because of the lack of filling.
Capacity – 4.5 out of 7 – This was one area where the pie scored fairly strongly. The shape gave it plenty of space for filling and there wasn’t any empty space at all. This is perhaps why some filling had escaped. There was a good pastry to filling ratio.
Chewiness – 3.7 out of 7 – There weren’t any chewy bits to this pie but it really did lack anything to get your teeth given that it was pretty much gravy. Even the pastry was a bit crumbly and stodgy and didn't have a great texture.
Content – 4.0 out of 7 – The filling tasted fine, it was a nice steak and ale taste. There was a good amount of ale flavour and it wasn't overly salty. It may have been marketed as ‘Goodison Steak’ but there was nothing unique to Everton about the flavour, the packet simply identified it as Steak & Cumberland Ale. I suspect the same pie is sold in many other places by Clayton Park Bakery. The pastry was a bit doughy and seemed like it hadn’t been cooked properly (a bit like the Phat Pasty pies we have had at Portsmouth and Wycombe). This is often a problem with football pies where a large number need to be cooked at once.
Consistency – 3.5 out of 7 – Whilst it didn’t taste bad, I would certainly try the other pies on offer rather than having this one again. It had a much too liquid and stodgy consistency. Sadly, it will come in not far above the relegation zone of the PIEremiership after an inconsistent performance.
Goodison Steak (Everton FC/Clayton Park Bakery)