A savoury pie can be a thing of great beauty.
Not one of those faux pies – the kind that are actually a casserole with a poncey puff pastry lid plonked on top.
We’re talking about a proper pie – one fully encased in pastry and packed with a meaty filling.
Thus this week’s opening of a Birmingham outlet of the small and funky chain Pieminister should be a cause of celebration.
But is it?
Not exactly. But it’s likeable enough.
The Moo & Blue pie that I ordered was a handsome bugger – tall in stature, tanned in complexion (though there was a charred hint of over-cooking around the edges).
The pastry was crisp and buttery.
Inside it was bursting with rich tender beef that I thought had been braised just a little too long so that it was slightly dry.
A good whack of blue stilton added a savoury depth to the filling.
It sat atop mash that had a oddly waxy texture and wasn’t buttery or creamy enough to satisfy my indulgent, heart-wrecking tastes.
The gravy alongside in a jug was pleasant without being good enough to cause me to lick the blue-rimmed white tin plate on which the pie was served.
Mushy peas were more like crushed peas and has been minted – which, as any person of good taste will tell you, is a sin against mushy peas.
This was a satisfying, no-nonsense flavoursome plate of grub, but rather underwhelming.
The chain’s specially-brewed pale ale arrived in a mug – taking me back to the beer-swilling days of my Pype Hayes youth.
Thankfully it tasted a lot better than the stuff I necked back at the Norton Arms way back then.
The decor and service
Service was utterly charming and, despite the recent opening of the restaurant, efficient.
Orders were taken swiftly and dishes and drinks arrived swiftly.
The decor is unfussy – lots of exposed brickwork, plain tables, exposed metalwork… that sort of thing.
It’s alongside the excellent Adam’s, by the way.
Need to know
Pie meal deals range in price from £7.50 to £11.
Snacks, sides and desserts are available.
Glutten-free and vegetarian pies are available.
Pieminister sources its ingredients ethically.
There’s a good range of beers and soft drinks and a limited wine and cocktail list.
16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham B2 5UG.