Tuesday 23 October 2018

Billy's Bakehouse Got Bigger

If you are a regular reader of Pierate, you may remember our review of the pies produced by Billy's Bakehouse. They particularly stick in the mind because these are classic Australian pies but they are produced in the Netherlands. They are also unusual because, despite being frozen and at a low market price point, these pies are genuinely tasty. The mastermind behind these pies is Darren Handley, a Aussie ex-pat who missed the pies he used to be able to get back home so decided to make them himself.

During my honeymoon in the Netherlands this Summer I happened to visit Leiden, the home city of Billy's Bakehouse. Pierateer ALE and myself met up with Darren at one of the many canal side bars and got an update with how he is getting on.

Pierateer SJL and Darren Handley
We discussed how Darren has built a new production bakery which they have moved into this year. This has increased their pie making capacity. They recently took 12,000 pies to the Lowlands Festival. Now that is a lot of pies! Darren enjoys doing the festivals and the fact the pies are frozen is perfect because they can meet whatever demand there is without wastage. With the extra capacity they are now looking to supply more supermarkets, restaurants and sporting events. With the pie being frozen it is very flexible for meeting demand. Darren says the UK market is still one that he would like to break into which, once established, would ideally see Billy's Bakehouse set up in some form in the UK. This is something we would love to see happen, despite there being a lot of pies on the market, Billy's Bakehouse could certainly fill a gap. As we said in our review, because these pies cook quickly from frozen, they are perfect for organisations which will see strong peaks in demand, such as during half time at a football match. We are often disappointed by the pies on offer at football matches. This would be much improved if Billy's Bakehouse pies were adopted by some football clubs in the UK.

We also discussed the article about Billy's Bakehouse which featured in the Discover Benelux in-flight magazine (see page 56). The article in entitled 'Taking on the big boys of pie production'.  Darren kindly include a mention of Pierate saying that we 'wrote the review Billy's Bakehouse had been waiting for, leading the way to export to the UK'! We certainly do hope that our favourable review helps Darren in this mission.

Fortunately, all the hard work hasn't put Darren off, he still enjoys his pies, with the Meat Pie in particular what he will eat away at festivals. There are a couple of new flavours in development including a Mexican-style flavour. We will be keeping an eye on progress and hope to try some more Billy's Bakehouse pies in the future.


continue reading "Billy's Bakehouse Got Bigger"

Thursday 18 October 2018

MyPie in the sky - as London’s finest pies hit John Lewis!

They say nothing comes easy in this life – and you get your reward from hard graft and what you put into it. That epitomises the hard work that chef Chris Brumby has put into his pie making business “MyPie” – which has taken the London street food markets and the Pierate Pie Rankings by storm! And we were delighted to attend the media opening of his new pop up restaurant last night on the roof terrace of John Lewis, Oxford Street (one of the most famous roads in the world!)

MyPie John Lewis Restaurant
The MyPie Restaurant on the rooftop of John Lewis, Oxford Street
MyPie John Lewis Restaurant
to the MyPie Restaurant!
We first met Chris in March 2014, when Pierateer Tim met him for a chat and of course a pie down in South London. Chris had recently just won the Red Lion Barnes Great Sausage Roll Off a few months earlier, but we were glad his passion lied more in pies than just sausage rolls. And despite a little boil out, we could tell that Chris was on a winning trail when he let us pie rate his Beef and Red wine pie, which was Pierate Highly Recommended at 6/7 on the seven Cs of pie rating. Not bad for a first effort!!

It didn’t take Chris long to get a pie near the top of our pie rankings, with his Chicken, Smoked Ham and Tarragon pie rating in at a whopping 6.39/7 in July 2015, swiftly followed by several other MyPie offerings making the top 10 of the rankings. But the most im-pie-ressive of them all was the Steak and Ale pie, which rated at a phenomenal 6.61/7.

There's even a skating rink!
While at the time this score ranked at number 3 on the pie rankings list, the sad demise of a fellow pie maker meant that in October 2016 the pie rankings were updated and the Steak and Ale pie became our number 1 rated pie on Pierate, a position it has held on to for over two years now!

Since then, the Steak and Ale pie has been joined in the top ten by MyPie’s Venison, Chilli and Cheese (6.57/7 in 2nd place) and Mince, Bacon and Cheese (6.46/7 in 7th place). MyPie really do set the bar high for pie making in London and the rest of the country! And we’re delighted to see the company providing the food at the skyline rooftop terrace for John Lewis’ winter wonderland!

One of the lovely hideaways you can book up to eat your pie in!
During our visit last night we were treated to a number of starters from the MyPie range, including scotch eggs and sausage rolls, but what we were there for was of course the pies! Being a launch event we were served some smaller pies than will be available when the restaurant opens on Saturday but believe me, these were still delicious and up to the usual MyPie standard! And being smaller, it meant we felt less guilty trying a couple each!!

The Hampshire Steak, Mushroom and Truffle Oil pie
Click here to view all the MyPie pies we have reviewed.
Pierateer Tim went for the Sweet Potato, Green Chilli and Feta pie (which interestingly was flavoured really well with the chilli but not spicy – something that again highlights Chris’ chef background!) and the Free Range Chicken, Ownton’s Butchers bacon and sweetcorn pie. Pierateer Rob went for the Hampshire Steak, Mushroom and Truffle Oil pie, followed by the Venison, Chestnut Mushrooms and Juniper pie (which is in collaboration with Sipsmith Gin London, who are running the bar on the roof terrace).

Pierate and Chris MyPie
Pierateer Tim, MyPie owner Chris and Pierateer Rob
Unsurprisingly all the pies were well filled, flavoursome and left us wanting more! We can see this being a great success for the three month residency MyPie have on the rooftop terrace and hope that customers to John Lewis from near and far will very much enjoy the best pies in London as they have pie in the sky!

To book your seat at the rooftop terrace restaurant just click here: https://www.resdiary.com/restaurant/mypie


Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

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Monday 1 October 2018

The Best Sunday meal you could ask for?!

Pieminister “Moodog” British Beef Steak, Dry Cured Bacon and Brewdog Ale Pie Review

Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
You could be forgiven for thinking that top pie maker Pieminister – from whom we have rated nineteen pies previously, the majority of whom have been Pierate Recommended or Pierate Highly Recommended – must be running out of new inventions for the humble pie! After all, it wasn’t that long ago that they dug deep into the reci-pie book to create a Cricket, Chipotle Chilli and Black Bean pie (yes, that’s crickets the insect!) to spice up British Pie Week 2017! But even though we have eaten through the majority of the menu, we still keep going back for more, especially now they have opened a pie shop in Birmingham City Centre that is not far from Pierateer Rob’s humble abode!

We did however still manage to find a new pie flavour we hadn’t rated before in the form of the Moodog pie, a British Beef Steak, Dry Cured Bacon and Brewdog Ale pie.

However, that wasn’t exactly the reason we were there this time round! For while our pie blog naturally focuses on the pie itself, it can’t be ignored that the sides you get with your pie contribute significantly to the enjoyment of said pie. Serve it with cold mash, overcooked chips or a thin, water-like gravy and you’re certainly not going to please pie connoisseurs like us! Which is why we couldn’t turn down an invite to try the new “Sunday Best” option from Pieminister, which hit their pie shops recently, for a new meal ex-pie-rience!

Pieminister Pie Review
Pieminister Pie Menu

Compare all our Pieminister Pie Reviews - and we've reviewed a fair few in our Pie Rating careers - on our Pieminister Pie Reviews Page!

Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
The idea is simple – take all that is good about the trimmings of a classic Sunday Roast, add them on top of or around a top rated Pieminister pie, and *poof* you have a magical Sunday lunchtime treat for the whole family to enjoy! It’s a wonder no-one thought of this before!!! As you can see from the graphic, the “Sunday Best” option is any of Pieminister's award winning pies on a pile of delicious mash, topped with a Yorkshire Pudding filled with swede mash, roast garlic & rosemary potatoes and finished with free range British Pork crackling and a pig-in-blanket. All served-up with a brimming boat of gravy on the side. And all this for less than 10 of your English Pounds at £9.95!

The crackling was crisp and delicious, the swede mash, potato mash and roast garlic and rosemary potatoes (though sounding perhaps a little carb heavy) complimented the pie and other sides well and there was even a pig in blanket for a little more meatilicious content! All sat in a Yorkshire Pudding, the bedrock of a classic Sunday Roast!

And for the main course, there was the pie, naturally! The beauty of this meal option was that you could have any of their Pieminister pies on sale in the middle of this Sunday trimmings sandwich! So whether you preferred a pie with vegetables, meat or without the wheat, Pieminister could provide you a Sunday dinner experience for all taste buds. You could even go Vegan with “Kevin”, their new vegan pie, if you so desired! As mentioned, I went for the Moodog pie, which was one of the few meat pies on the menu yet to be rated on the Pierate Ship!

Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review
Pieminister Sunday Best Pie Review

As you can see from the pictures, the pie came stacked with all the “Sunday Best” trimmings, but this didn’t detract from the quality of the pie itself. It was lovely and golden on top, though certainly a lot more pale and gravy-stained on the sides. However the sides and base were quite crisp too, alongside the golden top. The lovely Pieminister pastry one again surrounded a well filled content, with a definite focus on meaty steak chunks with a few tasters of bacon to vary the flavour. The balance between crisp pastry and a moist, meaty filling was delightful and I’ll definitely look to have another one soon!

Looking at the pie alone, Pieminister have once again produced a Pierate Highly Recommended pie. And I for one am delighted they’ve decided to sell it as part of a delicious roast trimming dinner in my local Pieminister pie shop! It’s a great idea to offer the additional trimmings while keeping the pie choice flexible, and I will certainly bear it in mind when I next want the best pie meal possible on a Sunday afternoon!

Pieminister “Moodog” British Beef Steak, Dry Cured Bacon and Brewdog Ale Pie
Score: 6.07/7
[Colour 6, Capacity 6.25, Consistency 6, Condition 6, Chewiness 6.25, Cheapness 5.5, Content 6.5]

Pierate is a pie review website charting a course to find the ultimate pie. For all the pies we have reviewed have a look at our Pie Rankings or find pies of a particular flavour under Pies: Categorised.

Make sure you 
and let us know your thoughts!
continue reading "The Best Sunday meal you could ask for?!"