When we arrived at Pie & Ale it was completely dead and that intimidates the hell out of me. The only other people in there were the staff and a group of men who were looked like undercover staff to me. Either that or they were friends of the staff who were helping out with paperwork.
Being the only people in a restaurant kind of scares me, it forces me to interact with people and that freaks me right out. Want to see me awkward and accidentally rude? Easy, just try to talk to me when I’m not fully prepared for solo human contact. Luckily the staff were lovely and did most of the talking for me. “There”, “yes” and “thanks” were the only words I need to say before the place filled up at about 6pm.
Pie & Ale is the latest extension to the Bakerie Tasting Store (Northern Quater), but I’m I’m not going to give out any prizes for guessing what this bit sells. There’s pies and ales, well for us veggies there was only ales and a pie. The set up is really casual since they don’t bother with formalities like menus, but they don’t really need to. They have the pies, ales and sides written on a big ass blackboard next to the bar. Although saying that, while I’ve been writing this Pie & Ale (@PieandaleMcr) have tweeted a picture of a menu. So now they have one, maybe they hadn’t got around to printing them when I went, the place is really new.
The selection of real ales is very broad, and unusually for such a lovely non sticky pub the prices are incredibly cheap. Most pints are £2.50 but since I’m barely out of my student nappy I opted for the silky smooth £2 Yipee Pie Ale.
Chris had some other ale that I took a picture of but can’t remember it’s name. Have a look at it and if you’re made of magic and can guess what it is, stick you’re answers in the comment box at the bottom. Or if you’re not, go try all the ales until you find one that looks like the mystery pint. It was really light with a citrus orange taste to it. I know this because I nicked a bit. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to call me out on the tasting notes after you’ve drank half the bar trying to find it.
If you’re a veggie or a sympathiser you’ll have noticed I said there was only one vegetarian option. That was kinda of a bummer because if you don’t like the filling then you’ll have to make your excuses and leave, or try to mask the thing in mash. So both us had the Curried Parsnip, Coconut and Chickpea Pie which if I’m honest, neither of us were too keen on the sound of. When I think pies I think traditional stodge and this sounded a bit too exotic for what I was expecting. Not that it really matters, wrap anything in pastry and I’ll have a chew. The filling turned out to be rich and fresh thanks to the coconut curry combo, but the chickpeas were a little heavy going after a while. Oh but that pastry! It held it’s own in taste and structure, they get my strong pie approval.
I haven’t eaten mushy peas in years so I have no idea what compelled me to choose them over mash. They were just as I remembered from back in the day, except these were well seasoned and didn’t stick to the roof of my mouth. The veggie gravy wasn’t too thick and wasn’t too thin, but you do get red wine with the meat gravy. So you know, hint hint guys spread the alcohol a little over here please!
The whole thing cost us less than £10 each so it’s brilliant value and after seeing their latest menu include a veggie and a vegan option I’d be more than happy to go back. Damn pies are good!