I love all things pastry, battered, deep fried or carbed (hence why my weight is a familiar foe…), yet for me one meal has always stood as top dog in British food. I thank the Romans for bringing it to our shores, and from the Victorians to the present, this meal has been an icon in our culinary history.
Good old pie and mash, which I have loved since childhood, has whet my appetite and filled my gut for years with meaty, saucy, doughy and mashy goodness. Whether branded or homemade it matters not, for it always tastes good down the pie hole.
And yet despite my utmost respect for this dish, I have never paid tribute by visiting a proper pie shop. So I did just that. I journeyed in to North London, met with food chum Miss Windsor and entered the realms of Highbury – I mean Piebury Corner!
Only 30 seconds from Kings Cross’ famed nightclub Scala, Piebury Corner sits nicely on Caledonian Road with its own street sign guiding you in. You know you’ve entered pie heaven when the first thing you see is stacked shelves of handmade golden crust labelled with intriguing flavours. Once you’ve finished glaring and drooling, take time to admire the retro surroundings of neon signs, old movie posters and diner décor before sitting in a booth or table of your choice.
While waiting for our order, we had a good old chinwag as the vibes of the underground rumbled softly beneath our feet and the sound of reggae and ska tunes jammed in the background (apparently the owner is a fan!).
Now let’s talk food, and I’ll confess that I’ve never had a scotch egg before, so we ordered the black pudding flavour for starters. In terms of pie, I thought ‘The Ox’ (ox cheek and venison) would be interesting, while Miss Windsor went for Ian Wright (wahey!) aka the steak and stilton – these did come with mash for an extra £3 – we are going gourmet in this award winning venue after all.
When the food arrived it was pleasing to the eye being well presented on the plate, the gourmet scotch egg laid elegantly on its vivid bed of salad. The runniness and richness of the egg centre was lush along with its pork and battered casing, the black pudding very subtle in all the savour. Then our main meals arrive, and the earlier eye candy of golden pies now boast oven freshness as they steam before us. When eating ‘The Ox’, the crust sent the signals I love in a good pastry to my tonsils, a crumbly texture of buttery dough moistened with that savoury punch of the inner gravy – somewhat overpowering the red meat’s flavour. Regarding the mash, at first we suspected store bought smash before the gourmet quality kicked in, while my vegetable gravy topped off the meal with its delicious 5 a day taste making up for my non-existent veggies. Ian Wright was also pretty tasty with the red wine gravy.
Overall it was a pleasant and trendy little meal for pie lovers. Including a cheeky apple and blackberry pie with custard at the end (which was delicious by the way), the total cost of the meal came to around £36…which is pretty steep for pie and mash but quite worth it for the local fans looking for something a bit more deluxe.