Thursday 10 July 2014

The Quay to Winning the Gloucester Pie Game

The Barge – Game Pie Review

I moved to Gloucester in October last year but have yet to review a pie from the city itself. This is partly because of the wealth of good pies to eat elsewhere and a massive backlog of pies to review. The trip to Scotland to get my teeth into the best Scotch pies didn’t help. But the sad truth is that I have eaten some pies in the city, but they just haven’t made the cut when it comes to being review worthy. All of us Pierateers eat a lot of pies and unfortunately there just isn’t time to give them all a review. Sure enough, a really good or bad pie will get a review but often I won’t even add some of the middle or the road pies to my list of pies to review. They just aren’t interesting enough. Why have the pies in Gloucester failed to inspire me? Well to put it simply, they AREN’T PROPER PIES!

Sorry, I seemed to get a bit worked up there…. I would apologise, but I can’t help myself, I get so worked and disappointed when I order a pie only to find out it is a casserole with a pastry lid and Gloucester seems to be full of these ‘top-crust’ pies masquerading as the real deal.

Upon a trip to Gloucester Quays I was delighted to find a proper Game pie on the menu of The Barge restaurant. This is a nice settling amongst the historic Gloucester docks. Although I am not particularly interested in the designer outlets I am really pleased that the historic warehouses have been saved by being converted. There are still some areas where the old warehouses are falling down and I hope the money will eventually be found to convert these too. You start to get an idea of why Gloucester was once such an important city. The canal made the Quays the most inland docks in the country, quite an advantage in those days. I would worry that The Barge is slightly hidden away, a little distance from the main shopping and restaurant area and that they might struggle for custom. Perhaps this suits them. It was quite a charmingly small restaurant, with only a few tables. I found it a nice place to eat, the proprietor didn’t mind that we stayed for a long time, tired from wandering around Gloucester and the Folk Museum.

The pie was pretty decent, both the pastry and filling were different to your standard pie, which is good as it made it stand out, but there was room for improvement. I was very impressed by the fact that it contained 4 different meats, Venison, Beef, Pheasant and Pigeon. The fact that it was a slice of a bigger pie, rather than a whole, smaller pie is not my preferred choice but I did enjoy it. See the scores below.

Badminton Game Pie, venison, beef, pheasant & pigeon breast

Condition – 4.2 out of 7 – Well presented which can be difficult when cutting a slice of pie. I would have prefered to pour my own gravy.

Colour – 4.0 out of 7 – I couldn’t really distinguish between the colours of the meat, it looked slightly homogeneous but the pastry had some pleasing golden brown.

Cheapness – 5.5 out of 7 – I thought for £9.50 this was a great value meal in a nice location and setting. The amount of food was immense, especially for more expensive game meat, it was a huge slab of pie.

Capacity – 4.5 out of 7 – This piece of pie had a great capacity because it was so big plus it was well filled. However, I think there was a bit of a lack of pastry if anything, because it was a slice of pie it seemed to miss out the optimum ratio.

Chewiness – 3.5 out of 7 – There were some unusual textures going on in this pie, not always in a good way. The pastry was a little bit like bread which I didn’t like and the crust was a bit dry . The worst part was that the base had absorbed the filling and turned into a bit of a soggy mush. On the plus side, most of the meat was soft, except the pieces which I think might have been the pheasant which were a bit dry.

Content – 5.5 out of 7 – The pie was a real meat feast, I couldn’t tell the difference between the pieces of meat by looking at them but I could taste it. It is unusual to find so many types of meat in one pie and I certainly appreciated it. It was all very flavoursome in a rich meaty sauce. Despite being so big I didn’t get bored of eating the meaty chunks. There was a bit of a taste of biscuit from the crust which was a little weird.

Consistency – 4.0 out of 7 – A bit of a mixed bag which almost, but didn’t quite, work. It is something I would recommend if you like your pies meaty but I wouldn’t plan to try it again unless the pastry was improved.

Badminton Game Pie - Venison, Beef, Pheasant & Pigeon (The Barge [GL1 2DN])


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