Monday, 20 August 2012

Reading About Pies

Sweeney and Todd - Vicar's Pie Review


In the pie reviewing business you always have to be on the look out for where the best pies can be found. There are just too many pies out there to review them all, no matter how hard we try. This can involve reading about pies, attending gourmet pie shows but most important of all, following up recommendations (see 'Suggest A Pie').

Pie Review Sweeney and Todd - Counter
Sweeney and Todd Pie Counter

This leads me on to a place in Reading which I have had recommended to me by a few people. The fact that it has such a formidable reputation gave me high hopes for something special. The place in question is called Sweeney and Todd and what a brave name that is to give a pie establishment. It is take away or eat in with some roasts and casseroles available but the main focus is always on pies. My first impression was... where is it? The outside of the establishment was fairly nondescript. In fact it looks pretty run down and quite unappealing. Despite this there was a queue out the door, which hinted there must be something pretty good inside. Too many of the modern pie shops which have sprung up recently look fantastic but do nothing special with their pies. Sweeney and Todd certainly do something special to their pies (but hopefully not that...). Once I got into the shop and surveyed the magnificent selection I could tell they had a special cooking method. These seem to be pies cooked inside a pie mould, which stops the pies drying out and gives the pastry a fantastically gooey texture.

I opted for a Vicar's Pie. Vicars is the name of the butcher's in Reading which provides the meat for the pies. I deduced that the pie contained lamb, pork, carrot, potato, leek, mint and potentially some other ingredients as well. The combination was a bit unusual and the gravy had a delicious thickness to it, almost like jelly. The only slight criticism I might have is that there was a lot of mint, verging on too much. This certainly didn't stop this being one of my favourite ever pies. The meat was great quality and at £3 this pie was cheaper than many other pie establishments. I would note that one of my pie eating companions had a pork and apple pie which had far too much apple in it. It was like eating a sweet apple pie with pork in. So Sweeney and Todd are not perfect but for a pie lover it would be barbarous not to murder one of their demon pies.

Pie Review Sweeney and Todd
Sweeney and Todd Vicar's Pie

Vicar's Pie (Sweeney and Todd)
Score: 6.30/7
SJL


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