With everything else going to hell in a handbasket, it feels like the right time to pick out some of the best pies to be had in our fine capital, from the downright decadent (why wouldn’t you use champagne in the filling?) to humble (but still delicious) pie & mash shop versions. 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.
Holborn - 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
Indisputably 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). He has a dedicated Pie Room in the restaurant (where you can grab takeaway pies, although that hasn't reopened yet) and a special pie section of menu too. One of the classics on the menu is the curried mutton pie with mango salsa. There's also an amazing veggie option - their potato, Comté & caramelised onion pie.
So yes, if you're serious about pies, this is the one place you must visit.
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.
44 Barnsbury St, London, N1 1ER
This much-loved gastropub in Islington always has a pie on. At the time of writing it was a chicken and tarragon pie. But, there's more. "Best thing about our suet crust pies?" they say.. "People eat them steadily every week whether it’s hot, cold, wet or dry... which is why we picked it as the always-on dish that triggers a 50p payment to Action Against Hunger." Nice one.
The Stafford London, 16-18 St James's Place, London SW1A 1NJ
In St James, this traditional hotel restaurant is all about classic British food done well, and the Steak and ale steamed suet pudding with triple-cooked chips is a must-have. They've just started doing an At Home service too. So if you live nearby you can order delivery from Supper.
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 landlord 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-OTT Bob Bob Ricard will never be out of vogue. Only they would take something as down-to-earth as a chicken and mushroom 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 Champagne and truffle humble pie made with Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms and celeriac in a truffle and Champagne veloute.
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. Now with a new landlord (The Guinea's Oisin Rogers) and a revamped upstairs dining room there's a choice of three pies on offer - all hand-raised suet - chicken and bacon, steak and kidney or mushroom and truffle.
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. Every pie is for two people and recent pies have included "braised lamb shoulder, wild fennel & green onion" and "chicken and girolles".
26-29 Dean Street, London, W1D 3LL
Now that it's autumn, every day is pie day at Quo Vadis where Jeremy Lee's beautifully drawn menus feature a pie of the day - paired with mash. The first one to look out for is Chicken leek and tarragon with much mustard.
88-94 Farringdon Rd, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 3EA
Having undertaken extensive tastings around town, there are some cracklingly good pork pies in London right now. However, we feel we can definitively state that one of the very best pork pies to be had in this city is being made at The Quality Chop House in Farringdon. Pick it up at their shop on Farringdon Road - whenever we visit we never come away with less than an armful of them.
Proving that meat-eaters don't get to eat all the pies, these vegan pie purveyors are going down a storm with their vegan steak and ale, chicken parmigiana and katsu curry pie. Their Camden Lock shop is no longer open, so they've moved the whole operation online, offering deliveries across mainland UK.
5 Regent St, London NW10 5LG
Inspired by The Dandy, Desperate Dan's famous cow pie with bone marrow is the dish you want to order at this Kensal Rise gastropub. It's huge, so you'll definitely want to share. There's also one 'without' for vegetarians.
And that's not all...
There are many more places for great pies including...
- Putney Pies has a huge pie menu, including "BBQ Smoked Pulled Pork Pie" and "Wild Rabbit & Apple Pie".
- Right now, there's an amazing Grouse and foie gras pie at 45 Jermyn St served with blackberry jam and malt gravy.
- Down by the river, newly opened Sam's Larder is stocking handy ready made pies for reheating at home.
- In St James, Wiltons has a Rhug Estate venison pie on at the moment.
- Look out for newly relaunched Milk Beach in Queen's Park where the menu features a Signature Seasonal Pie for Two and Carafe of Wine Special
- J Sheekey's fish pie may not be a traditional pie, but it's one of London's signature dishes.
- Fancy a pie to take home? Then a trip to any of the Ginger Pigs in London is a must.
- For classic pie and mash out east, head to Goddards of Greenwich which first started selling pies in 1890.
Subscribe to hear the latest from Hot Dinners