British Pie Week is upon us once again (6-12 March 2017), giving us a timely excuse to pick out some of the best examples to be had in our fine capital today, from the downright decadent (why wouldn’t you use champagne in the filling?) to humble-pie-and-mash-shop mince-beef. While some foodies are pedantic about pies, for us whether it was encased in pastry or topped with mash, if we cleared our plates, then it made the cut.
252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
Anyone following the Instagram feed of the Holborn Dining Room's Head Chef Calum will know that this is fast becoming the London restaurant to enjoy amazing looking (and tasting) pies. At Christmas Calum wowed us all with his pate en croute and he's promising to roll out a range of distinctly British pies this spring.
209-211 Holloway Rd, London N7 8DL
Following the London trend of street-stall to bricks and mortar, Piebury Corner was billed as the UK’s “first ever Pie Deli” when it opened. The story (husband and wife team Nicky and Paul Campbell selling pies, pastries and scotch eggs from their front garden to passing Arsenal fans) is a good one, and their Holloway Road outpost is even better.
Old favourites such as Steak and Ale, sit alongside newcomers like the brilliant Ray Parlour with pork stuffing and apple. All served with roast tatties or mash and topped with an unbelievable red wine gravy, it's no wonder they are bombarded by loyal fans on match days. And look out for their King's Cross Deli too.
87 Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 4TW
The original Manze’s pie and mash shop was founded here on Tower Bridge Road in 1903 and is still doing a roaring trade today. All pies are made from scratch on site, starting with the beef which is minced using only prime cuts. As for the liquor, apparently it includes a ‘special secret ingredient’ which they’re not about to divulge now. We love the Manze website, which bigs up the fact that Jim Davidson is a regular and boldly states that, ‘It is also said that David Beckham eats here when he is in England.’ Well you can’t blame a joint for trying.
30 Bruton Pl, Mayfair, London W1J 6NL
There's been a pub on this spot since the 15th century and happily the Guinea still looks fabulously unreconstructed. Pub manager Oisin Rogers tells us: "the pie recipe has been the same since 1985. This recipe won the national steak and kidney pie competition three times. It's kept in the pub safe and we quality check the ingredients, process and recipe weekly. It's always been a bone of contention that it only has a lid, not a base, but it's always been like that at The Guinea, the suet lid is baked onto the pie filling and we've always served them with the ruff."
1 Upper James St, Soho, London W1F 9DF
Despite the hordes of Soho restaurants to come after it, the deliciously-over-the-top Bob Bob Ricard will never be out of vogue. Only they would take something as down-to-earth as a pie and elevate it to decadent heights by cooking the filling in champagne, topping it with a pretty patterned crust, then serving it with truffle gravy. Even better (if you're a vegetarian), they also do a Sauternes and truffle humble pie made with mushrooms, pecorino, lee, black truffle, pearl barley and champagne - yours for £18.50. And this - this is their fish pie.
6-8 Mill St, Mayfair, London W1S 2AZ
Ask a selection of pastry- loving Londoners where to get a decent pie and chances are The Windmill will come up more than once. With a pie club, a pie-dedicated You Tube channel and two ‘pie rooms’, there’s little doubt that they take this stuff very seriously. The classic steak has won the National Pie Award three times. Enough said. We think a visit to this grand Mayfair boozer should be for life, not just for Pie Week.
26-29 Dean Street, London, W1D 3LL
Every day is pie day at Quo Vadis where Jeremy Lee's beautifully drawn menus feature a pie of the day. A week ago it was beef. It's usually £19.50 but head down there on a Monday where both the Pie of the Day and Oysters are half price. You'll also find a matched wine or ale to the pie on offer, which is also discounted.
The pork pies sold in the shop at Quality Chop House in Farringdon are some of the best we've had in London. The secret is in their amazing jellied stock.
There's usually a pie on the menu downstairs at The Hour Glass pub in South Kensington - right now it's the Chicken & mushroom pie served with mash and French beans for £18.50.
Another place you can guarantee a pie is North London gastropub The Drapers Arms - and 50p from every pie sold is donated to Action Against Hunger. Right now it's Suet crust guineafowl & bacon pie for £13.50.
And for National Pie Week 2017
National Pie Week runs from 6 - 12 March 2017. Here's some of what to expect...
A controversial take for pie week, Aqua Shard's Executive chef Dale Osborne has an open beef and oyster pie on the menu (pictured above), featuring tender beef cheek braised in oyster ale, West Mersea rock oysters, seaweed mash, puff pastry shards and oyster leaves. On till Sunday 12th March
The Thomas Cubitt is having a Pie Banquet on 7 March Pie Banquet with all manner of fabulous pies on offer for £70 per person for food, drink and service.
Scout out for the MyPie truck at Broadgate where for the whole of Pie Week they'll be serving up their marvellous pies with mash for a fiver.
Look out for a Macmillan coffee morning with a difference up at Zelman Drinks in Finsbury Park on 25 March where they'll be serving pies instead of cupcakes.
Mark Hix will have special pies on the menu at all Hix restaurants, including Pharmacy 2 where there's Launceston Lamb and Artichoke pie .