British Pie Week is upon us once again (5-11 March 2018), 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
Arguably London's premier pie-maker, Holborn Dining Room's Head Chef Calum has always been one to create some unbeatable pies (as a quick look at his Instagram feed will show you). And now he's taking things even further with a whole Pie Room in the restaurant and a new pie menu too. That menu will change regularly but he's kicked things off with beef cheek suet pudding, chicken, girolle and tarragon pie, hot pork pie and curried mutton shoulder pie.
So yes, if you're serious about pies, this is the one place you must visit.
209-211 Holloway Rd, London N7 8DL
3 Caledonian Rd, Kings Cross, London N1 9DX
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 now they've got a second pie deli in King's Cross, with more seating and new pies. A must-visit if you're in the King's Cross area.
The Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5AH
A relatively new addition for pie-lovers, this saw the original and beloved Rochelle Canteen open a second - much more central - venue in the ICA and, more importantly, add an ever-changing pie to the menu. We loved the rabbit pie here so much that we pronounced it our favourite dish of 2017 and on the menu at the time of writing is a smoked eel pie.
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 chicken and muchroom 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 sauternes - yours for £19.50.
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 YouTube 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.
254 Hackney Rd, London E2 7SJ
Head to Hackney's The Marksman and the one thing that's guaranteed to be on the menu all year round is a pie. There's actually a choice of two pies - depending on whether you're there for lunch or dinner. Both are for two people and at the moment the lunchtime one is beef cheek and pickled walnut (part of the Friday and Saturday set lunch - 2 courses £22, 3 courses £26) while the evening dinner offers a chicken and wild leek pie (£36).
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 - paired with mash, it's 17.50.
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 and we can't walk by without buying as many as we can carry. If you're yet to try them, then head down there right away...
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 beef & red wine pie for £16.
Head to Corrigan's Mayfair where there's a pheasant and smoked sausage pie on the pre/post theatre menu, described by Marina O'Loughlin as "simply great; a beautiful indulgence - feel free to bury me the gorgeous thing."
And for National Pie Week 2018
National Pie Week runs from 5 - 11 March 2018. Here's some of what to expect...
At Bluebird, they're mixing pies with their traditional afternoon tea. So there will be a three-tiered tea stand with homemade pork, chicken & leek and cheddar & red onion pies for savoury, and apple turnover and lemon meringue pie for sweet. It's available from 9-11 March 2018.
In the City, The Jugged Hare is putting on three new pies for pie week. They are: Cumbrian veal tongue ‘n’ cheek pie, wild horseradish (£16), Devonshire kid goat shoulder, chervil root, whole grain mustard (£16) and Iron Age pork neck, wild garlic, parsley root, crispy ears a’top (£16).
We've mentioned it's good for pies all year round, but specifically for Pie Week, The Windmill has a new pie on every day of the week, ranging from Chicken, Dingley Dell Bacon & Leek to Steak & Stilton.
The Oystermen are putting their own spin on a pie for Pie Week with a beef and oyster “pie”. It's served inside the oyster half shell, with butter-poached oysters, covered with beef braised in The Oystermen x Canopy Beer Co’s limited edition “Everyday Oyster Stout”, topped with panko breadcrumbs (£8.00 for two).