Where: The Pie Shop, 75 Nicholson Street Brunswick East
What: An experience akin to a country bakery, except the coffee is by St Ali and there are vegetarian pies available
Who: Monemoiselle, Mushy, The Doc and Rosé Doré
Bloat score: 4 – If I were lying prostrate on my tummy, it would have looked as though I was levitating
Recommended listening: Phil Collins’ ‘Against All Odds’
The sublime photos in this post that don’t look like they were captured by an iPhone were taken by Monemoiselle.
One of my favourite things to eat that I can’t eat are pies, be they Four’N Twenty meat pies or apple pies of the McDonalds variety, hence why I jumped at the chance to try The Pie Shop, an offshoot of Matt Wilkinson’s Pope Joan.
In a most unwise move, my four dining companions and I decided to visit The Pie Shop – which only has an outdoor courtyard for those who desire to eat “in” – on the most blustery day in July, so much so my eyes were watering by the time I’d fought the wind to land on The Pie Shop’s front step.
A quick Google search revealed that Matt Wilkinson himself was serving us pies that morning, although he could barely hide his astonishment that we were there in the first place – it was that cold. Or he doesn’t think his pies are that good. Whatever it was, we were at The Pie Shop against all odds.
The Pie Shop has a combination of savoury pies and sweet pies, although we only tried the savoury pies on this occasion. Traditionalists have the option of The Allen (filled with chunky beef and vegetables), which is what I ordered, while vegetarians have the option of The Shazza (a caramelised onion, cauliflower and cheese pie) and The Kevin (a tomato, artichoke, green beans and feta pie). If you’re one of those people who like tandoori pizza, you’re in luck – when we visited, The Pie Shop had the Daryl, a curried turkey, sweet potato and spinach pie, although this has since been replaced by The Norma (a butter chicken and rice pie). Non-conformists will similarly like The Bruce, a spag bol pie. And if you have a young’un who enjoys a serve of food with their babycino (or if you, like us, just want to try more pies but have not the stomach space for it), there’s also the Little Bruce, a mini spag bol pie.
My memory has forsaken me, because this did happen in July, but I know that between them, Monemoiselle, Mushy, The Doc and Rosé Doré ordered two of The Shazza, two of The Daryl and one Little Bruce.
The Allen was the perfect antidote to the cold, wintery morning – buttery, flaky, warm shortcrust pastry gave way to sizeable pieces of beef that melted in your mouth and chunky bits of carrot, celery and onion enveloped in a reduced gravy. Half numb in the cold, I thanked my lucky stars that at least the bloat-filled ramifications of this meal would be worth it.
From memory, The Shazza was a touch dense, though it was tasty; I couldn’t help but avail myself of a bite.
The Daryl was one of the favourites – I don’t really eat turkey unless it’s Christmas, but the result was a light and flavourful pie.
The crowd favourite, however, was Little Bruce, though it was so miniscule I didn’t have a chance to try it. Little Bruce featured traditional pork-based spaghetti bolognese within pastry with baked cheddar and mozzarella on top in place of a crust. Next time, Little Bruce.
The Pie Shop also serves bags of hot chips and in Matt Wilkinson’s words, “frozen shit dim sims”, and though I am partial to both, I decided to let my pie determine my bloat score all by itself.
Not many people can say they’ve tried The Pie Shop without having first tried the Brunswick stalwart Pope Joan, but I am one of those people. We rectified this by escaping to the warm confines of Pope Joan after and crowning our pies with a round of breakfast cocktails – the best way to end brunch, although my stomach certainly didn’t agree as I found myself searching desperately for the nearest bathroom. I struggled with a distended stomach for the rest of the day as I told myself, not for the last time, that I would never eat a pie again.
The Pie Shop is a cutesy little eatery with a rotating menu of different pies suitable for those who can digest buttery pastry without incident, but it may be a few months before I work myself up to trying it again. Though I did last visit in July, so maybe it’s about time I visited again.
The Pie Shop is open from 11am to 3pm Monday to Saturday.