Friday, 8 May 2015

Pieminister - Leeds City Centre

For an update and more recent review of Pieminister see here. 

Love or loath the latest election results and the appointment of the new/old prime minister, I can guarantee that you will love Leeds' new  PIEMINISTER.

Okay, yeah I admit that was a bad joke.

Seriously though, Pieminister had already won my heart and vote before their doors had opened. Pie, chips and gravy. What more could a Yorkshirain want?

Peas. Yes, they do peas too.

Pork scratchings. You're just spoiling us now.

Wait, they brew their own beer too?

What took them so long to migrate north?!

Pieminister's origins start in Bristol, there is a cute fairy tale story on their website, baby pictures included. They expanded, opening another joint in Bristol, dipped their toe in the London scene and then came to their senses and realised the true pie and gravy lovers live in the North. In my mind there's no where better for the food scene 'oop-North' right now than Leeds. You know... the one true King of the North. (Don't go to Manchester, the weather's much nicer here).

Enough of the introduction. Pieminister invited me to give them a test drive during their soft opening and I gratefully obliged.

Starting off with a couple of pints of their home brew, not too strong, not too hoppy but a nice pleasant ale, we pondered the menu. If beer isn't your thing fear not they also have a cocktail bar upstairs, I'm told the cocktails are something pretty special.

Finding it hard to make our minds up we ordered some nibbles to help us along the way. As aforementioned Pieminister serve pork scratchings, looking around they
seemed like the popular option. Intrigued by the 'motherchips' I grabbed the waitress to tell me more. Essentially they are crisps with hot sauce.

Another one for @wewantplates
The pork scratchings come in plentiful supply, one portion between two, it's even possible that one between four is enough to give you heart palpitations. Crunchy, greasy, dirty. Just want you want from a pork scratching. It's served with apple sauce that has sour, but pleasant, cider taste.

The crisps, sorry motherchips, were crunchy and great to nibble on. I lightly dabbled the number 11 condiment on them, got a taste and then pretty much drenched them in it.

It took what seemed like a decade to decide on which pie to choose. I had already made my mind up what pie I wanted before I got there but then swerved at the last minute. I originally wanted the steak and blue cheese pie, the 'moo & blue', the one I ended up with was the 'matador', a beef, chorizo, olive and butter bean pie. To be controversial, and to test out Pieminister's skills I opted for the sweet potato fries as an accompaniment.

The sweet potato fries were pretty good, some of the better ones I've tasted. Not too soft, not burnt to a crisp... and surprisingly they go pretty well with gravy.

D originally agreed to share the pies between us so we could get the best of two worlds due to our indecisiveness. Then he tasted his pie and I was only honoured with one mouthful. D had the 'moodog' a steak, smoked bacon, and brew dog 5am saint pie. Served with mash, a classic pie accompaniment.

D's pie was a lot better than my own, it had a lot more flavour to it. I struggled to pick out the flavour of the chorizo in my pie, and the olive was completely lost. I should have stuck with my original choice of the steak and blue cheese or swerve-balled for D's choice.

The pastry on these pies are pretty magnificent, I'd go as far to say perfect. Surely they should be if it's their speciality? The pie top was crispy and a fantastic noise when you first dipped your fork in. The base is sturdy and holds its place until the bitter end.

One of my top highlights is that you get your own gravy boat (£1 for an extra boat for the gravy overdosers) so you can pour your own. Oh my what thick luscious gravy it was too. 'Proper' gravy.

Plate scrapes echoed around the restaurant as its guests polished them clean, if I was at home I'd be tempted to mop up the rest with a piece of bread*

The decor is on trend, enamel falcon wear, cast iron pans used to serve not to cook, filament lights and cagey neon signs. I don't have a problem with any of these things, it's just an observation.

Cagey neons 

Filament bulbs 

Granted this was a bit odd 

Service was good, there were a few slips and trips with some of the (I think inexperienced) staff, but I'm sure this will be ironed out with time. I nearly had pie in my lap and I heard a couple of waitresses being redirected to the correct tables. Other than that everyone was very attentive; I felt welcomed and charmed.

I can't wait to go back and try out that steak and blue cheese pie... although that lamb and mint pie looks good too... or what about the venison, bacon and red wine pie... Sod it. I'll just have to go back a few times,

Using Leeds as guinea pigs** they've decided to trial out a new menu item... ICE CREAM PIE. Yes, that's right, ice cream in a pie. Unfortunately I was too full to manage one on this trip, I'll happily take on an all day fast to fit it in next time.

If you fancy sampling some of Pieminister they're currently offering a deal on living social where you can get two pies, sides and beers for two for £14. It's valid until September too. I've already bought mine. What are you waiting for?

Pieminister - opens 11 May 2015
Duncan Street
Leeds City Centre

Who ate all the pie?***

*my face
** I'm pretty sure guinea pigs don't eat pie or ice cream
*** D

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