Monday 22 September 2014

Pie Up Pompey! What's Up With The Pompey Pie?

Portsmouth Football Club/Phat Pasty Co Pie Review

As a Wycombe fan it is great to see that Gareth Ainsworth's changes have created a team which is performing much better so far this season (after only avoiding relegation on goal difference). I hadn't been to a match yet this season so decided to take myself down to the Portsmouth-Wycombe game to see if the team were playing as well as results suggested. It was a ground that I hadn't been too before. I was keen to see the old stadium and sample the famously loud atmosphere at Fratton Park. Also, I found out that the pies were supplied by the Phat Pasty Co., a relatively new company who haven't yet been added to our Football Pie League which is dubbed the 'PIEremiership'. How could I resist?

Firstly, the match. It was great to see Wycombe playing some attractive football even though they were away. There were too many hopeful, long balls last time out. The defence has completely changed and felt much more solid. It was also great to see Wycombe pressing the Pompey players all over the pitch. Going forward Wycombe seemed to create chances easily in the opening half and dominated the game. They attacked with pace and really should have taken the lead but it was only early on in the second half that Sam Wood scored after good work from Paul Hayes. After that Wycombe seemed to sit back a bit too much, or perhaps tired after an energetic performance. Portmouth began to dominate and eventually scored what felt like a bit of a soft goal from a corner (but watching it on TV it was a great finish). By full time I was happy to take a point as it ended 1-1. I left happy that Wycombe at least looked like they shouldn't struggle this season.

The famously loud Portsmouth fans were really quite quiet for most of the game (despite the amazing attendance of 16,171). They only came alive after they scored with an intimidating chant of 'Who Are Ya?' direct at the Wycombe fans. It seemed like most of the Pompey fans participated in this with thousands of pointing fingers directed at us in the away end. There was also one loud rendition of the Pompey Chimes. Strangely there seemed to be a 'children's stand'; part of the stand which contained the Wycombe fans also contained a mass of children. Their solo rendition of 'Who Are Ya?' directed at the Wycombe fans was met with much amusement and jovial comments of 'Come back when you're older' from some in the away end. They were only separated from us by a thin cordon so they must have been confident the Wycombe fans would be well behaved (or perhaps the children were seen as 'expendable'). Another incident of note saw one Wycombe fan was escorted out after winding up a steward by not giving the ball back. There was also a bit of abuse between the fans as the Wycombe fans queued to get out. This was a shame to see and I don't know who started it. I think it was only because the fans knew they were physically separated from each other by some wire mesh so could throw abuse without fear of a fight.

Now what about the pie? Well, perhaps there is a reason I have focused on the entertaining match, the pie was really disappointing. I went for the Chicken Balti, there was only this or the steak and potato as the other options were pasties, not too surprising given the company's name. Anyway, two options of pie is not too bad at a football ground. The main reason it was disappointing is that it seemed like it hadn't been cooked properly, the pastry was really dry but at the same time tasted a bit undercooked. It was quiet soft and doughy. The filling wasn't too bad in some ways but the pastry did ruin it. I did eat the whole pie but didn't really enjoy it. I will have to try one of these pies somewhere else to see if Portsmouth's caterers had not done it justice. See the score breakdown below.

Condition – 2.8 out of 7 – A bit cracked around the top, a bit mis-shapen, looked like it had been squashed slightly. Nothing special otherwise about the appearance other than some writing printed into the pastry.

Colour – 3.2 out of 7 – Some golden brown in places but I thought it was a bit too pale generally.

Cheapness – 3.1 out of 7 – At £3 this was slightly above average for League Two, but not unusual.

Capacity – 4.5 out of 7 – Quite a large capacity because this was a tall pie. A small airgap considering the size, overall a well filled pie although quite a bit of it was sauce. It is also worth noting it was fairly big, around 250g.

Chewiness – 1.5 out of 7 – Disasterous texture to this pie, as I have said, it seemed like it hadn't been cooked properly but instead left on a low heat for a long time which had dried it out. The pastry tasted a bit like bread and at times I felt like I was eating raw flour. The pastry was also much too thick in places as shown in the pictures above. On the plus side, the filling wasn't chewy at all, the small pieces of chicken had a decent texture but not enough to help the score significantly.

Content – 3.0 out of 7 – The content was okay, there was a bit of chicken, but not much. I liked that there was a bit of variety to the filling which included onion and some other stuff (I can't be entirely sure what it was). The flavour was also okay, it wasn't hot at all but mildly spiced and it tasted slightly sweet. There wasn't much chicken but what there was seemed decent.

Consistency – 2.1 out of 7 – An awful consistency, in addition to the soft dry pastry, the sauce was too thick in my opinion, as you can see from the picture it didn't ooze out all. It is good in some ways for a football pie to have thick sauce to avoid a mess but in this case it meant the whole thing was really stodgy. I made myself finish the pie but afterwards it sat really heavy and I wished I hadn't eaten it all. I am sorry to say that it didn't really work as a package.

Chicken Balti (Portsmouth FC/Phat Pasty Co)


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