On a dreary day when the work day has been long and the referendum results aren’t what you wished they would be – there is pie; Golden crusted, well stuffed, delicious pie. In fact, pie is one of the few things which can fully satisfy your hunger in one serving, well mine anyway.
Over the years Pieminster has been owning the pie scene, growing substantially since it’s conception in 2003 when owners Jon and Tristan took over a little old paintworks in Stokes Croft. Pieminster now have six restaurants across the UK (two in Bristol) and sell their pies in seven cafes (including St. Nicks); You can even buy some of Pieminster’s most popular options in the supermarket.
Last Friday, my colleague Ollie and I wondered down to Stokes Croft for a pie feast at Pieminster. The interior was dark with industrial-stye themes and the phrase “Live and eat pie” was displayed both in paint and in red neon lighting on adjacent walls. Behind a mesh barrier, we could see a display cabinet full of pies and beyond that the chefs themselves were knocking up people’s orders. We bagged ourselves a table for two in the corner beside another couple and sifted through the extensive menu boasting pies (obviously), hot pots, salads and lots of sides.
Once we got to the bar to give our order, we were given the “pie mothership” option which included a pie, two toppings and two sides. The level of choice was overwhelming, I was just expecting a pie. Ollie being a manager in job title and in nature, decisively chose a Chilli Con Carnage with cheese and gravy and sides of mash and homemade slaw. I went for the gluten-free Heidi pie with mash and homemade superfood slaw and toppings of gravy and toasted seeds.
Fast forward ten minutes and we were brought two wooden boards laden with a total feast. Both pies were sat atop a mound of perfectly sculpted, buttery mash with a bowl of coleslaw and a gravy boat on the side. Ollie’s toppings of grated cheese and jalapeños came in metallic egg cups which added a nice touch to the presentation. I photographed the pies from every angle (for the blog you understand) and then, we dove straight in.
With a touch of heat to each bite, Ollie’s Chilli Con Carnage was filled with chunks of beautifully tender venison, BrewDog’s Pony club ale, smoked bacon, kidney bean and scotch bonnet chilli. When we opened up the pie, it was pleasing to see it full full to the brim with ingredients and the cool, refreshing coleslaw added a slight crunch. It was also great to see Pieminster were using ingredients from other Bristol-founded places to fill their pies, Brew Dog’s ale for example.
My gluten-free Heidi pie, a vegetarian alternative, was filled with Somerset goats’ cheese, sweet potato, spinach and red onion. Although this was a gluten-free version of my favourite Pieminster pie, I’m pleased to report the gluten-free alternative had no difference taste-wise to the original Heidi. The strong flavour of the goats cheese blended with the sweet potato was a delightful combo and the extra onion and red wine gravy gave the dish extra moisture. My only criticisms were that there wasn’t enough gravy and the superfood slaw had no real flavour to it, it was a little bland. I think I’d go for the standard slaw next time.
In all, Pieminster made for a great lunch stop. For £6.50 you can get any pie and a side during the lunch period and if you want to go the whole hog like us, you can get the mothership for £8.50.
The summer weather may not be on our side right now but the traditional British pie always will be. Pie, we love you.
Please note: Whilst our meals were complimentary, this is no way had an impact upon my opinions given.