The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed that I didn’t go for a roast dinner this Sunday.
To be frank, I’ve…did anyone else use to call the “Talk To Frank” phone number when off their head at 6am and ask where the nearest drug dealer was? Not just me? Good.
I had just reached a point where every week I was getting a bill for £40 including a couple of drinks, and the obligatory 12.5% charge for someone bothering to collect your plate – and as someone on the kind of salary that a Labour-voting benefits scrounger would be offended by, it is like I have been mildly stabbed up the anus with a fork every time the bill comes over.
I guess I’ve spent £1,500 going out for roast dinners this year. In other words, running this blog has cost me around £1,500. In other words, my mission to entertain and inspire you has cost me £1,500 this year. In other words, my mission to offend and bore you has cost me £1,500 this year.
By last Sunday I had reached a point where I had just had enough. December is an expensive month, I was ill – I was totally out of inspiration when writing my last post, and I was almost starting to tire of roast dinners.
Mostly I enjoy going out for a roast, and I always enjoy the writing (except last week) – but it was time for a short break to help massage my sanity.
Instead, I went for a pie after spending an hour going up and down very slow escalators at Debenhams for the last time ever. Fucking hell, that is one tired, dated store – even the genius that is Mike Ashley won’t be able to save that. Even Brexit won’t save Debenhams.
For a while I have wanted to start an “Anything With Gravy” section to the blog, so I could talk pies or visits to Dip N Flip – so there was still some content for when I couldn’t go for a roast dinner. I started this side-project back in April with a visit to a pie shop. I started writing the blog post – a couple of paragraphs here remain from the original post – but I never got around to finishing it.
Which perhaps worked out for the best, as a few weeks ago, #PieGate happened:
Like most northerners I only hold a grudge for around 50 years, which is why I still stick two fingers up at my television screen when I see Mark Lawrenson commenting on football, after he agreed with the referee’s decision to give Hednesford a penalty against Hull City back in 1997. Wanker.
And I still haven’t forgiven the general public for not getting this to number 1 in the music charts back in 1990.
Actually that was a really shit track, wasn’t it?
I’m not exactly sure why I have redacted the name of the pie shop with a sense of humour bypass, however I would just like to point out that I absolutely fucking hate Arsenal football club. I have an irrational hatred of Arsenal fans. It’s the whole “I support a massive club so we should be doing far better” attitude. Or delusion. Arsenal fans suffer from it badly – Newcastle, West Ham and Aston Villa also particularly suffer from this miscomprehension that they support the biggest football club in the world and therefore should be winning the Premier League every year.
Don’t even get me start on Leeds “Champions of Europe” United.
Not only did I received that rather starling and out-of-context tweet from the unnamed pie shop, I then got a confusingly kind yet stabby e-mail accusing me of being insulting, unprofessional, disrespectful and unnecessary in my communications for daring to suggest in a insulting, unprofessional, disrespectful and unnecessary manner (aka a “joke”) that Saint Jeremy might nationalise pie shops.
I am soooo being sent to the gulag if Corbyn becomes PM. Every day I thank my lucky stars that we have an exceptionally competent government keeping the socialists from power.
So I guess that I’ll never finish my review of the unnamed pie shop that do annoyingly great pies, and my writing about them would probably be as welcome as Sol Campbell at the Tottenham Official Supporters Club Christmas party. Incidentally, did you know that the government minister for cyber-security in Japan has never used a computer?
Thankfully, there is more than one pie distributing establishment across London and one particular one which didn’t take offence when in the same aforementioned tweetstorm I suggested Corbyn would nationalise the owner’s testicles (it made sense in the context of the Twitter thread).
MyPie is run by an ex-chef from Ben’s Canteen, home of one of the best roast dinners that I’ve had this year (note – was a freebie), so there is good pedigree when it comes to anything gravy-related. Normally operating from a converted ice cream van (or, I think, some silver bullet van thing) – you can find MyPie at differing locations across London, for example Broadgate Circle or Paddington Central.
But for a special few weeks, they have taken over the rooftop of John Lewis on Oxford Street. And you ain’t got long to get there – it closes on 6th January 2019.
It’s open until 11pm Thursday to Saturday, 9pm the other days – though last entry is hour prior to that. We hadn’t booked a table, I’m not sure you can, but we were there on a Friday evening straight after a small but necessary period of hell. We needed beer. And we most definitely needed a pie.
On the rooftop there is a small ice skating rink, a Sipsmith gin bar, a variety of outdoor seating with blankets, a couple of winter cabins and an enclosed, heated bar/restaurant. We headed straight for the action and were lucky with one table being free, though we wouldn’t have had too long to wait.
Pies on the menu didn’t reflect what was on the website, however until 24th December the following pies are available:
Steak, mushroom & Guinness
Chicken, leek & brie
Mushroom, spinach & truffle oil
Turkey, bacon, stuffing & cranberry gravy
Lamb shoulder Shepherd’s pie
4-bean chilli sweet potato pot pie
All priced at £11 or £12, which comes with a side…and GRAVY. No I have no idea why I put gravy in capital letters. The sides were:
Maris piper mash, cream and butter
Farmhouse mash, mustard and rosemary
Braised red cabbage, apple and cranberry
Plenty of tempting pies and I was going to go for the turkey, bacon and stuffing pie – until I clocked the cranberry gravy. This is something that is really getting my goat at the moment – why does every single fucking Christmas thing have to come with cranberry? I cannot find a Christmas sandwich anywhere without cranberry sauce. Even the pot of pigs in blankets at EAT has been polluted by a splodge of cranberry this year.
Fruit no more goes with savoury than peas go with life or Corbyn goes with strategy. Why the fuck you’d choose peas other than to throw over the side at shoppers is beyond me.
So I went for the steak, mushroom and Guinness pie with the mustard mash. It took around 15 minutes to arrive.
The pie was nicely structured with solid yet easily foldable walls, a peppering of pepper on top and a curated rim. Once slicing, the filling glided out in a manner that made me want to touch myself inappropriately.
Plenty of filling – maybe you’ve also been like me where you’ve had a pie and there was very little actual meat, or too much filler (I used to frequent one famous pie shop that started putting increasing amounts of carrots in its pies) – this was what I had paid for. A pie full of glorious steak – the mushroom seemed minimal but that was fine, the steak was finely shredded with a glorious flavour of Guinness really coming across.
By the way, the red tinge isn’t me discovering Instagram filters, but is from the heat lamp – which kinda discoloured the images…and made eating a pie, wearing a thick jumper right underneath a rather Central-line esque experience.
The mash was mostly very good, quite creamy, you could taste the mustard and rosemary – though there were some small unmashed chunks which gave it more texture than I expected. Compliment or criticism? I’m not sure.
And the gravy?
Well, someone needs to start giving lessons to most chefs across London. It had a proper consistency, a meat-stock flavouring and was the perfect accompaniment to the pie. This is what I expect when I order a roast dinner – this is the kind of gravy that I want, and I suspect many non-wankers want too.
Sure, it could be bettered. So could the pie, so could the mash. Nothing cannot really be bettered (except my sex life), and I’ve maybe had one or two even better gravies in London.
But it was very, very good. The whole pie shebang was very, very good. Maybe just arguably, my pie nemesis and future gulag-master’s pies were even more enjoyable…very hard to call. I did respond to him with an invite to accompany me for a roast dinner, you know, to chew the curd and smooth things over – I really like what they are doing and it pains me to fall out with someone that does great pies – he hasn’t accepted my offer but like Anna Soubry, I’m sure he’s got better things to do than associate with a Tory.
This wasn’t a roast dinner, so it doesn’t get an official score. But if I were to score it, then I’d be looking around an 8.10. Which I guess is a score, except it won’t be added to the league table as that is for roast dinners only.
So, if you like a pie, either get yourself to the MyPie restaurant on the John Lewis rooftop quick sharp – or look out for the MyPie vans.
Next weekend I’m away for Christmas. There might be a Christmas special post, but there might not.
All being well, I’ll be venturing somewhere on the last Sunday of the year. Have a very, merry Christmas. I hope someone sticks something more pleasant than a fork up your bum.