Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Who Ate All the Pies?

By now, if you are a Dunedin market goer on Saturday mornings, you know about the Pie Guys. Purveyors of fine pies and keepers of the shop, aptly named, "Who Ate All the Pies" in St. Kilda, Dunedin.

Now I am sure some of you (although I'll bet no one from North America, save the random British ex-pat) responded to that with "You fat bastard, you fat bastard, YOU ate all the pies!" Oops. Retroactive warning and disclaimer.. this post contains lyrics from rowdy football chants. More sensitive readers proceed with caution.

And maybe some of you said oh, I don't know.. Paul Gascoigne? Or maybe Mick Quinn or even Fatty Foulkes. Hey, who's the smart arse that said Shane Warne? Shh.

The origin comes from footballers who, likely through their love of pies, among other foods, um, gained a little weight. Foulkes apparently doubled his body weight in 8 years while playing for Sheffield back in the early 1900s. Pies indeed. I also read that it had little effect on his game. Myth or true legend, I'm not sure. And fans, who scoffed down meat pies in uncountable numbers, delighted in heckling the players (or any comfortably built person within earshot) with this lovely tune. Especially popular when the pie sellers would run out.

And these pie guys do run out.. every Saturday. These are becoming pretty popular pies around town. SO. I had to go and have a look (Ok, maybe a taste too) for myself.

Simon Niak and Marten Drijfhout, chefs, having been running the business since September 2003. They are young blokes but are a serious pie-loving lot and, from the look of the South Dunedin shop (very clean and tidy), they take all this business very sharply. The menu includes a range of regular pies and some more gourmet items. Beef, red wine and mushroom remains popular while chicken, white wine and tarragon also sells well. For the pie epicure there is a venison and an ostrich pie too. Herbivores need not worry, the selection includes something for everyone: a savoury salmon pie and a substantial vegetarian choice of feta, spinach, and red capsicum.

It is absolute pie heaven. The pastry is purchased now that they are so busy but they haven't scrimped on quality. Very dense flaky and meltingly savoury, the base crust is substantial but well browned. No undercooked pies here. The fillings are hearty with no overabundance of sauce (let alone that gelatinous mass that oozes from most commercial pies). All fillings are home-made with real ingredients from local sources if possible. At $3.50 - 4.50 for the single serves and $12.50-14.00 for the family size, they are a bargain.

I have tried most of the menu offerings now but still return to the my favourite: venison, redwine and rosemary. For the sake of a couple kilos, recruit some friends to assist with a little research and enjoy some of the best gourmet pies New Zealand has to offer.
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Also available at the Carey's Bay hotel after 3pm.

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