I may be a tad bias for this post….ahem. But when most people think of food in Bristol there’s one company that stands out and for very good reasons. Pieminister!
Set up 10 years ago when the brother’s in law, Jon and Tristan were over in Australia (sunning themselves on the beach), came up with the idea to create the most delicious and wholesome pies the British public had ever tasted. At the time there wasn’t much faith in the food industry and pies were still seen as cheap food with not the best meat quality in them.
Jon and Tristan set up shop in Stokes Croft in Bristol, where they were making the pies at the back of the shop, as the pies gathered hardcore fans, the business grew and grew. Now celebrating their 10th year of making pies (not in the back of the shop anymore but still very much handmade and importantly in Bristol), they have renovated the original pie and mash shop in Stokes Croft and it’s damn sexy.
Now open for evening meals, not just your lunchtime pie fix, the new restaurant just oozes cool. The new space effortlessly transfers from casual lunchtime dining to a trendy restaurant in the evening that makes you want to gather all your friends around for the evening to enjoy traditional pie and mash with a glass or two of Bristol’s finest ale, beers and ciders (or all three in my case).
My friend and I tucked into the super comfy booth and poured over the newly designed menu, including homemade scotch eggs, cheese platters and, of course, lots of lovely pies!
We went for a Wild Beer Wild Beest, an Imperial Russian Stout with a twist, which was an espresso, chocolate and Vanilla Stout. Rich and dark, a hearty companion for our roasted mixed nuts. Wild Beer is brewed in Somerset using ancient and new techniques, to produce a really special drink. If stout isn’t your type of thing they have a nice range to work through. My friend went for another special Bristol producer, Bristol Beer Factory which Pieminister uses their No.7 Amber Ale for the Moo pie. She went for the Southville Hop, an IPA, that was delicious and again went perfectly with pies. Again a great local producer and lovely to see local food producers supporting each other.
BUT, most importantly the pies!! In my eyes, there’s only one way to have a Pieminister pie and that’s to Mothership!! Say What! Pick your pie, then it comes with creamy smooth mash, rich red wine and onion gravy, minty mushy peas, crispy fried shallots AND mature cheddar! Now doesn’t that sound special?! I love mixing the crispy shallots and cheese into the mash to take it to the next level. I and my friend couldn’t choose which of the huge range of flavours to go for so we did the good food friend trick and ordered different flavours and shared.
The staff was great and we were served our piping hot pies super quick, so we didn’t have to get food envy of the other tables. I went for the Matador, which had British tender beef, cooked in a rich tomato and sherry sauce, with chorizo, butter beans and olives. Yum! It was rich without being heavy, I loved who it wasn’t a traditional pie filling but worked beautifully with the buttery golden pastry. I didn’t really want to give away my other half to my friend but she went for the Chicken of Aragon so I had to try that too! Perfectly cooked chicken, with smoky bacon lardons, with celeriac (which I don’t think is used enough in dishes), buttery leeks in a creamy tarragon sauce. Oh, my! A great take on the boring chicken and white wine pies that you get everywhere. The fresh tarragon note worked so well.
We had a lovely evening and can’t wait to bring my other friends along to work through all the different pies. Another bonus point, they are now doing mash topped pies without pastry, great for those who are cutting down on wheat or on a gluten-free diet, so they don’t have to miss out on the joy of pie.
If I haven’t convinced you to visit, check out this awesome video of the restaurant in action –(Source: @joeyhaines1)
If you can’t make it to any of the Pieminister shops or not near one of the markets or shops they are in, why not buy the Pieminister cookery book to make your own? Send me pictures of your creations!
24 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3PR
Tel: 0117 942 3322
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