A different take on a ‘pie’ …

I popped to mum and dad’s on Tuesday for 24 hours, to collect our mail, as I’d ‘lost’ my purse during our visit to Ireland last week (I’d dropped it at the accommodation and it turned up some hours later), and had ordered replacement bank and credit cards.

That’s one of the limitations of living aboard a narrowboat – it’s rather challenging to get snail-mail delivered to a moving vessel!

Before I caught the train from Tipton, we thought we’d pay a visit to Mad O’Rourke’s Pie Factory. I remembered enjoying a lunch there with my father many years ago, when he used to be a sales rep for car insurance to second hand car dealers in The Black Country.

It’s a very famous pub and obviously their pies are apparently legendary.

So we were really looking forward to an exceptionally tasty pie for lunch.

It was only a short walk from our mooring, and the colourful signage, handsome building and fascinating interior promised so much …

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The notice outside the door

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Getting better and better, we’re almost salivating by this point …

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They even go to the trouble to putting fresh sawdust on the floor each day – very quaint, we’re loving it so far …

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And a fine sense of humour to boot …

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You don’t get many good old British pubs like this anymore

The menu looked extensive in its pie offerings, albeit rather pricey. We weren’t brave enough to go for the ‘Desperate Dan’, despite it being the same price as the smaller pies. It was a challenging choice …

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Barry chose the curry pie, and asked for it to be ‘hot’ please. While I went for the Queen Victoria – at least that one had a few veggies in it.

Service was quick, only waiting about five minutes for our food.

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Our pies

We were a little disappointed to be honest. We’d read that Barry’s would be topped with a naan bread, and mine with mashed potato, but we still expected that a pie would have pastry underneath the meat. After all, here’s the Wikepedia definition of a ‘pie’:

“A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients.

Pies are defined by their crusts. A filled pie (also single-crust or bottom-crust), has pastry lining the baking dish, and the filling is placed on top of the pastry but left open. A top-crust pie, which may also be called a cobbler, has the filling in the bottom of the dish and is covered with a pastry or other covering before baking. A two-crust pie has the filling completely enclosed in the pastry shell. Flaky pastry is a typical kind of pastry used for pie crusts, but many things can be used, including baking powder biscuits, mashed potatoes, and crumbs.”

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Lots of bags of flour at the entrance

The chips were delicious – the Black Country delicacy of ‘battered chips’. And don’t get me wrong, the contents of the pie dishes were very tasty.

But we did question how can either of those be a ‘pie’ in the true sense of the word? Frankly, although mine could be termed a ‘cottage pie’, Barry’s was a no more than a chicken Balti, naan bread and chips.

Maybe we’re just used to the pastry encased pies of New Zealand, from places such as Wairoa an hour and a half’s car journey from Barry’s hometown, where they bake ‘award winning’ pies. In fact, it’s reported the pie is one of New Zealand’s national dishes.

Our expectations were clearly unrealistic.

Ah well, it was a very pleasant lunch, with good company and in a delightful surroundings. You can’t have it all I guess …

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6 Comments on “A different take on a ‘pie’ …

  1. Barry Adams (who removed your range) and another NBT man managed to eat a Desperate Dan Cow Pie each and received the appropriate certificates. Personally, my appetite is not up to their standards. Beer prices there are almost the same as in London.
    Did you try The Fountain at Tipton (the home of the Tipton Slasher), where prices are far lower?

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    • Hi Ray. If we ever go there again we’d have the Desperate Dan pie, whether we eat it or not at least it has some pastry – and it’s exactly the same price as the ones we chose which seems extremely odd!

      Sadly we didn’t try the Fountain – we’ll bear it in mind for next time 😉

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  2. One of my pet hates when it comes to pies (and many pubs do it) is to cook the filling, and then stick a separately cooked top on it just before serving. To me, that’s cheating! But as long as the top is in place before cooking, then that’s a pie to me. If you want one with pastry on the bottom too, this wouldn’t come in a dish — and you’d normally get a slice, so the filling is visible.

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    • Not sure they cooked the naan brad on top of the curry Adam, unlikely I suspect!

      I guess we weren’t even expecting the ‘pies’ in a dish, we were just expecting pies with some pastry, despite knowing the topping wouldn’t consist of that 😉

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    • Hi Adam
      I can see where you get that from, and can concur for the steak ‘pie’ (though I still don’t feel that’s a real pie, just a ‘cottage pie’), but we really don’t see how a chicken balti topped with a naan bread can constitute being a pie.

      So basically, anything baked in a dish with something on top, is a pie in this country?

      Maybe it doesn’t really matter – but now we know, we’ll be better prepared and not have such high expectations if we ever went back 😉

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