Not familiar with the location of ‘Pie and Ale’ the El Food Brothers meet up elsewhere to find the place together. We remember a rough direction and spot the ‘Bakerie’ logo soon enough. As the various logos for Pie and Ale state ‘from Bakerie’ we make a leap of logic that this is the place we should be.
We tell our waitress that we have booked in through Twitter, she’s a bit confused but carries on seating us. Its when I mention ‘the Pie offer’ that we are then literally shown the door. This must happen a lot, as there is a back door stating that it leads to Pie and Ale. The El Food Brothers head through the back door into the Narnia of Pie and Ale. It does feel as though we’ve travelled through a dimension or two, we now can not see any recognisable landmarks or roads as we head towards Pie and Ale. We are not sure if we will ever see our friends and family again.
“At least we didn’t sit down at Bakerie”
“That would have been embarrassing”
Still, 6 quid for a pie and pint, sod the real world. We tell our second waitress of the day about booking in through Twitter, and mention Pie straight away. “You’re the El Food Brothers?” This is going well, we are now instantly recognisable blogging superstars. “You’re on table 7” Today is our lucky day it seems.
We have 3 options for our pie, Steak, Three Cheese and I forgot the third, something about Kale. Kale is bullshit. The cheese features a blue, and you know our feelings on that. Two steaks it is.
Our surroundings are comfortable enough as we wait for the pies. Seated in small row of booths, theres no plastic in sight, it feels like a classier place that some of the other Northern Quarter joints. You’ve also got a nice row of spirits situated nearby. Make sure to play the ‘guess the spirt by the back of the bottle’ game. El Food Two managed to spot nearly every one of the various gins and rums. He may well have a problem.
Pies arrive in good time, not as quick as Pie Minister, but I think this at least gives you the impression that things are fresher than their main pie competitors. The other thing that separates Pie and Ale from the ‘minister is that “All pies are served with mash and gravy”. This is how things should be, and Pie and Ale obviously know this.
You spot two things when you first get your chosen pie. One, the mash is sitting a-top the pie. This is literally flipping the traditional pie and mash paradigm on its head, and it works. It also means you get a little pastry cow on top of your pie, nestled in the mash. If you were in any doubt on the species of animal you had chosen to eat today. I’m not sure what you get for your Kale pie, and I will never find out.
Pies are soon cracked into, and various pictures taken. The pictures don’t do the pies justice, I’ll blame the lighting rather than my poor camera skills. If theres one thing I could fault ‘Pie and Ale’ on, is that the area we sat in could do with a window or two.
The pies are tasty, plenty of filling, we spend a bit of time guessing what all the veg is in the pie, but don’t have any complaints on that front, as it all has taken on a general meaty pie taste. The mash is excellent, and the whole thing is swimming in gravy. The ale is forgettable, if it didn’t have the pun-tastic name of ‘Yippee Pie Ale’. They have missed a trick by not calling the pie ‘Pie Hard’ though.
Earlier on whilst waiting for the pies, we’d spotted a couple of beer bottles, with some sort of sand in them, we assumed just to weigh down these odd ornamental decorations. However, when our pies arrived, we were told these were actually salt and pepper shakers. First time I’ve seen this, and can’t believe any other NQ esstablisment hasn’t nicked the idea. I know I’m going to tell everyone it was our idea and Pie and Ale nicked it and did it back to us.
We soon finish the pies and get the receipt. Now our waitress explains its had to be put through a bit different for the offer. Officially the El Food Brothers had Hot Wings and Crisps for lunch, no drinks. Which is more a breakfast for us rather than a lunch. We can’t fault anything with the service though, and we are even asked about the blog by our waitress. Although she didn’t seem too impressed when we told her we’d been doing it for only 2 weeks.
We wonder as we leave Pie and Ale whether we need to return back through the ‘wardrobe’ that is Bakerie, but actually manage to find an alternative route back to the real world. I’m still not sure if I’ll ever be able to find the place again though.
I think a return visit will be called for, but we would likely be looking out for future offers. Without the offer, the pies are priced around the tenner mark, and then the usual 4 quid odd for a pint, takes us way off our Holy Grail. But they seem like a friendly bunch, so maybe Pie and Ale will re-create the magic and transport us back to Narnia soon. We do fancy giving the dirty mash a go, as we consider ourselves quite the dirty mash experts.