Sunday, 3 April 2016

No Weigh! A 2 Inn 1 Pie?!

Weighbridge Inn, Near Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

I am currently working on an article charting where the best pies in Gloucestershire can be found. Given that this has been my adopted home since 2014 it is perhaps surprising that I only recently found out about quite a famous local pub called The Weighbridge Inn. It is surprising because this country pub situationed near Nailsworth specialises in pies. And not just any pies, what the Weighbridge Inn is famous for is their 2 in 1 pies. So much so that their twitter handle is @2in1pie. I can only assume that people travel from miles around to try these pies as it is actually quite tricky to get a table on a Friday or Saturday, booking in advanced in advised.

2 in 1 pie weighbridge inn
Steak & Kidney with Cauliflower Cheese 2 in 1 pie
But what is a 2 in 1 pie I hear you cry?! The basic premise is that instead of having your meat pie with vegetables on the side, the veg actually arrives inside the pie with the content being divided in half rather than mixed together. What a great idea, I have long since advocated that anything can be encased in pastry and that actually non-pie food is unnecessary.

The Weighbridge Inn is lovely inside, a classic country pub with some interesting retro decor. They have opted against plastering the walls in kitsch pie related paraphernalia like many other pie pubs. Upon opening the menu there is a choice of quite a few protein pie fillings and and a few different vegetable fillings. I go decided to go for their most popular combination; Steak & Kidney with Cauliflower Cheese. Given that you could mix and match your veg choice with your protein choice, there were a huge number of theoretical possibilities which made me feel I would have to come back even before I had tried the pie! There was also the option to have a 1 in 1 pie if you wished. They did a Gluten Free pastry which was great as it allowed Pierateer ALE to have a pie as well and is quite unusual. She chose the Chicken and Root Vegetable options. In addition you could choose a 'standard' or 'giant' size at £12.20 and £14.80 respectively. Given that I would only be eating pie I thought it would take a large one to fill me up whereas ALE went for the standard. I also felt that given the quite big size difference the large was better value!

half and half pie
View inside the Steak & Kidney side of the 2 in 1 pie
When the pie arrived there was an elephant in the room to address and I am not talking about the colossal size of the pie (which really was giant). Not only was this pie in a dish rather than fully encased in pastry, the half with cauliflower cheese didn't even have a pastry lid! That right, this was only half a top crust pie! This meant that the actually pastry content was oddly low considering this was a pie. Of course, being advocates of a pie being fully encased in pastry I wouldn't really call this a pie. In fact I am at a loss what to call it. But putting that aside for a moment I will let you know my thoughts on this gigantic meal.

The dish was served on a slab of wood and was already overflowing before I attempted to negotiate my way into it with cutlery. It really did look volcanic and an eruption was inevitable. The juices oozed out and made quite a mess although I barely worried about this as all my attention was turned to stuffing my face with food. The large chunks of meat were just what I enjoy in a pie. They were not too chewy but not too soft. There was plenty to get your teeth into which appealed to my carnivorous side. There was a good mix of steak and kidney chunks with neither dominating too much. The meat gravy was tasty although not overly thick, it might have struggle to work had the pie not been in a dish. It was odd because the meat gravy began to mingle with the cauliflower cheese, there was nothing separating the two types of content, unlike when our Ship's Cook went for a multi-stage pie where she went for pastry dividers. The mixing of the fillings wasn't necessarily a bad thing, as we have often found, steak and cheese can work well together in a pie. The cauliflower itself passed me by. It was done well with a good balance of cheese flavour but I always find cauliflower cheese a bit mushy and that was the case here. Next time I would go for one of the other vegetable options but I am sure if you are a fan of cauliflower cheese this would be a good one.

gluten free pub pie
Gluten Free 

The pastry itself was quite thick which helped offset the lack of it to some extent. The taste was fine, although a bit floury. There was a slightly spongy texture, perhaps on account of the thickness, but the pastry went well when mixed with the filling

Overall I did enjoy this meal, it was extremely satisfying in more ways than one. I would come back as I enjoyed the ambiance of the pub and I would be interested to try some of the other combinations. The 2 in 1 pie novelty didn't really quite work for me personally. It did look quite spectacular but given that there was so little pastry I don't see how it would be much different if it were to be served on a plate. It would be good to see a fully encased 2 in 1 pie option for those of us who are purists regarding their pie definition and it really needed more pastry. In terms of local competition, we gave a good review to the Farmers Boy Inn who offer both the 'top-crust' dish pie option and fully encased option. The Farmers Boy Inn also have a 2 in 1 dish pie but we haven't tried that. For me the Farmers Boy Inn currently have the edge over The Weighbridge Inn. We also enjoyed similar 2 in 1 dish pies at Mad O' Rouckes in the West Midlands so perhaps this novelty is not as rare as you might think. I haven't given the Weighbridge Inn an official Pierate score as I don't think it is a pie (and doesn't meet our pie definition). But it is worth a visit, I certainly plan to go again so they must be doing something right.

SJL



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