Sunday 8 May 2011

Gurt Lush!

Sometimes I think that people think SOLE is all about organic fair-trade lentils. Or macrobiotic tempeh burgers, served on biodegradable, sustainable carbon-neutral plates, made by micro-bank funded land-mine widows from Burkina Faso.

And it can be.

But it can also be about the ordinary. The humble.

The meat pie.

I'm here in Bristol, and of course, on the top of my list, even higher up than seeing Mild Mild West was to check out Pieminster.

One of my gorgeous online sistahs, Princess Laura the Brave, has been extolling their virtues for ages, and so they featured high on my list of things to eat here in the UK.

First to Bristol. Pieminster's HQ is situated in Stokes Croft, scene of last month's Tesco Riots. It's dingy, it's funky, it's in yer face ballsy-British.

I love it. It's Melbourne's St Kilda of the 80's.

Tricky Wiki says:

The name Stokes Croft has come to refer to an area around the road as an informal district encompassing Jamaica Street, the junction of Picton Street and Ashley Road, and the southern part of Cheltenham Road. The area is a centre of art, music and independent shops in Bristol, with clubs such as the Croft, Lakota and Blue Mountain; the nearby music college BIMM Bristol on King Square; and numerous pieces of graffiti art. The area’s character has given rise to a group of activists and artists calling themselves The Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft (PRSC), who are seeking to revitalise the area through community action and public art.

 And Pieminster embodies all of the above, in a pastry case!!! What's not to love.

From their web site:

We make great pies using fresh, local ingredients from farmers we trust. But that's not the whole story. As a growing business we have a responsibility to be....

good to our suppliers

Tristan has spent a long time working with local farmers and other suppliers to make sure we source the best meat and veg possible for our pies. We deal with farmers who care for their livestock and are as local to our Bristol base as possible. This has not only helped us win awards for the quality of our pies but also caught the attention of the good people at Compassion in World Farming.

good to our workers

Happy people tend to be more productive than sad ones. pieminister strive to make the workplace as enjoyable as possible by taking the time to listen to what people want. This is how a massive cow came to be painted on the main office wall and an allotment was built in the garden last year for everyone to enjoy. Jon and Tristan also have a open door policy, where anyone can come and speak to them without having to make an appointment first.

Tristan Hogg makes it his business to know where all food that ends up in our kitchens comes from. He takes provenance very seriously so that you can be sure that when you eat a pieminister pie, you can do it guilt-free.

Here's just a little bit about the ingredients we use:

Fruit & Veg

We use the freshest fruit, vegetables (apart from our British frozen peas) and herbs we can get our hands on. This means that we shop locally for them. The quicker they get from the farm to the plate the better.


We breed great lambs here in the UK so we can’t see the point of using lambs from the other side of the planet. That is why you will only find British lamb in our pies. This not only helps British farmers it also helps save the planet.


All our chickens are free range and British. They taste better because they are allowed to move around outside as chickens are supposed to. We also only use free range eggs (in case you were wondering). That’s why our pastry tastes so good.

The leading world organisation campaigning for better standards of welfare for farmed animals has recognised our commitment to using happy chickens and happy eggs in our cooking. Take a look at the work they doawards we’ve won here.


All our beef is farm assured and British. The same applies to our milk and butter. We use West Country Cheddar and Stilton from a licensed Blue Stilton Dairy. Our award winning Goats' cheese is from Lubborn Creamery in Somerset.


Apart from our authentic Spanish chorizo all the pork and bacon we use is from Sandridge Farm in Wiltshire where the pigs have access to the outdoors.


All our pies are made by hand by chefs who really know what they’re doing. The mixing and baking has taken years to perfect and has been recognised by The Incorporation of Bakers of Glasgow. In bakery terms, that’s about as good as you can get!

 We bought a Chicken of Arragon for dinner ( free range british chicken, smoky bacon, roast garlic, vermouth and fresh tarragon) and had it with roast tatties and mushy peas. 

It was quite simply the best pie I've ever eaten. And I'm Australian. I know my pies! I suspect the base was a short water pastry, blind baked before filling, and the crown was a luscious buttery puff that held up well when cut. Filling was generous and chunky. And the tarragon really was fresh.

And their motto?: