It seems Pieminister is doing rather well. Starting out life in Bristol after owners Tristan Hogg and Jon Simon came up with the concept of a pie-centric restaurant, the chain is quickly opening up branches up and down the country.
But how will pie-loving Yorkshire take to the idea? Surely with so many places to get good ‘uns, it would take a lot to beat our homemade variety from across the county, at rustic pubs and farms shops especially?
Well, there are a couple of things to take into consideration here. One, is that this place is in the heart of trendy Leeds, right across from the Corn Exchange, rather than out in the sticks. Secondly, there’s not just the usual pork pie served up with mushy peas here. Oh no. There’s a whole world of pie flavours and varieties to choose from, making us pie-lovers more spoilt than anything else, especially when a hearty meal is needed to really hit the spot.
During British Pie Week, I took my husband and little boy along to indulge on Friday lunchtime. Treat day. See? I’m already making excuses for eating a pie. Us women don’t eat so many calories so easily, so when we do, it’d always better be worth it.
What’s great about Pieminister in Duncan Street is that it’s relaxed and friendly with a cool edge – all open pipes and bare brickwork. But alongside its edgy feel, you know you’re not about to pay on-trend city centre prices for the privilege. Depending on how hungry you are, you can break down your bill into bite-sized chunks of added extras, but the pies themselves come at a very reasonable £5 each.
To start we opted for the free range pork scratchings – a mega and indulgent take on the old school snack, served with apple sauce for dipping. Great for sharing with a group, but tough to get through if there’s just one or two of you. We also shared the Pieminister mega crisps, which were deliciously simple thick potato chips with tabasco sauce drizzled over. (Starters £3 each)
For mains we tucked into a Free Ranger (a free range British chicken and ham hock pie with leek and thyme) and a Matador (a British beef steak, dry cured bacon and Brewdog 5am Red Ale pie) both washed down with a shared bowl of chips.
Both pies were bursting with complementary flavours, succulent and plentiful pieces of meat and just-right pastry. No soggy bottoms here. And before you wonder… yes, you get plenty of gravy which specially accompanies whichever pie you’ve gone for.
While I couldn’t resist the prospect of a creamy chicken pie, I was assured by staff that the veggie pies are by no means second fiddle to the meat options. Could possibly be described as even better, I hear.
My son enjoyed a fantastic kiddie-sized portion of macaroni and cheese from the great-value children’s menu (a main, pudding and drink for £4.95), as well as the attention from the friendly, attentive and efficient staff.
If pies with pastry are not your thing, Pieminister offers menus choices of open top pies, hot pots and salads too. Special mention to the rather fine pudding of Glastonbury Mud, a rich chocolate and vanilla ice cream pie with chocolate sauce and toasted almonds. There’s also a good choice of local beer available.
Yorkshire folk typically like their pies and their prices with no frills – I am happy to say that Pieminister has vamped up the pies to be slightly frillier, which is for the better, while leaving the no frills prices exactly how they should be.
Pieminister Leeds is currently running its Meat Free Monday campaign, where you can get 50p off all veg pies and veg hot pots on Mondays.