08/06/2011

The New Life of Pies by John Newman

Fine dining, exotic cuisine and gourmet meals are all well and good but sometimes you just want a pie don’t you? This used to be something of a risk because pies did not have a good reputation, in fact the feeling was that chomping a pie was dull at best and dangerous at worst. Pies were stodgy and lurked untouched for days in the corners of cafes and pubs. They were either full of gristle or actually contained very little except huge volumes of pastry. Filling – yes but tasty- no. Over the past decade though there has been a pie revolution and now people are proudly pies eating again.


Two companies in particular have been at the vanguard of this pie revolution. Square Pie first opened in 2001 when they opened a small shop at Spitalfields Market in London. On their first day they sold 7 pies! Soon though, their reputation spread and they started selling their produce to local pubs and at public events, notably the Glastonbury Festival.

Nowadays they sell their pies in all sorts of place including several London shopping malls as well as Lords Cricket Ground and Twickenham Rugby ground amongst others. Since they opened they’ve made 116 different types of pie some of them very specialist, many the ones most people would know and love. As the name suggests their pies are square and served with mash (and it is a lovely light mash too), peas and gravy or in some case other accompaniments more suited to the pie. Amongst their selection are. Steak & Guinness, Steak & Cheese, Steak & Kidney, Steak & Mushroom, Chicken and Mushroom, Chicken, Leek & Ham, Mushroom & Asparagus, Spinach & Feta, Lamb & Rosemary and many more.

Pieminister was set up in 2003 starting off in Bristol before branching out across the country selling in various delis, shopping centres, pubs and farmer’s markets. They also have the Pmobile – pies on the move- at summer music festivals. So the chances are you can find their pies near you.
What we might call NuPies have in common – and there are lots of other firms producing them too- is they are light and filled with good meat. There are even vegetarian ones if you don’t eat meat. The range is wider than ever but the quality is so much better than the old days.  So when you’re feeling tired of exotic cuisine or unusual looking yellow food, you could always go back to pies.

A Pieminister pie, yesterday.


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