Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The White Lion, Soberton, 22nd January 2011

Simon had a good meal at The White Lion but was slightly disappointed by the Steak & Wine pie because it had a puff pastry topping (Simon would have preferrred a full shortcrust pastry casing) and it had a Steak & Wine filling, which clashed with the beer. Admittedly, this would not have been a problem if he had been drinking wine. Otherwise the meal was very good, although Simon felt unable to have any of the (usually very excellent) puddings because he was anticipating a cream tea in the afternoon, and a curry in the evening. The Upham Nectar was particularly good - so much better than Upham Ale in Simon's opinion.

Please note that Simon visited the pub without any other members of the Club, so opinions expressed above are purely personal and not representative of the Club.

Incidently, Andy the landlord disclosed that the pub is now up for sale, as he is finding it very difficult to make enough money from it. He is now working full-time as general manager at the Upham Brewery to try and make ends meet. Apparently there is talk in Soberton of locals getting together to buy the pub. Let's hope that happens. We wish Andy well.

Monday, 24 January 2011

The Brickmakers Arms, Swanmore, 20th January 2011

The inaugural meeting of the Pie Club got off to a good start at The Brickmakers Arms,where the 3 founder members met to agree a constitution and sample their first pie. It being a quiet Tuesday in January there was only a limited menu available, with a choice of Pork & Cider Pie, or a Ploughman's Lunch with cold Pork Pie. We all chose the Pork & Cider Pie.

The short-crust pastry was perfectly cooked, not too thick, and tasted excellent. The filling was packed with diced pork meat, with a thin cider gravy, and traces of mushrooms and shredded carrots. It also tasted excellent. The fresh vegetables (new potatoes, carrots, sugar-snap peas) were nicely cooked, and (importantly) served in a separate dish so as to not contaminate the pie.

Nick drank Ringwood FortyNiner; Trevor & Simon had Bowman Ales Wallop Wood. Both are fine beers, served well at the correct temperature, and went well with the pie.
It was difficult to judge the ambience of the pub, as we were very nearly the only customers there, but the service was good, and the pub was clean and nicely furnished. We all felt that it was much improved, compared with how it was a few years ago, and we have learned that the clientele has improved.
We felt that overall the portion size was about right, the quality was excellent, but at £10.95 the pie was a little expensive. The total bill, including drinks and service came to £25 each, which is par for the course.
Scores (max. 5 in each category, 25 overall):

  • Pastry 4
  • Filling 3.5
  • Beer 3.2
  • Ambience 2.7
  • Value 3
  • Overall 16.4

Rules of the Club

The inaugural meeting of the Gentlemen's Pie Club of Bishops Waltham (hereinafter referred to as "the Club") was held on Thursday 20th January 2011, at the Brickmakers, Swanmore. The 3 founder members (Nick Crossley, Trevor Croucher, Simon Dorey) were present, and agreed the following rules:-
  1. The Club is committed to the tasting and enjoyment of savoury hot pies, puddings and pasties.
  2. Membership will be by invitation by the above named founder members.
  3. The 3 founder members to agree a name for the Club.
  4. The Club will meet monthly at an agreed venue with the choice of venue alternating between members. There will also be special ‘ad hoc’ events.
  5. Venues should be within 1 hour walking distance/travel by other means from Bishops Waltham unless otherwise agreed by the members.
  6. There may be occasional ‘one-off’ meetings in conjunction with the Bunch of Grapes Public House where member(s) will provide pie(s) for tasting by other members and invited guests.
  7. The dictionary definition of pie is "a baked dish of ingredients encased in or topped with pastry". All dishes complying with this definition shall be eligible for consideration by the Pie Club, but for clarification the following dishes are specifically eligible: Sheppard's Pie (even though it has no pastry), Steak & Kidney Pudding (even though it is not baked). Cold Pork Pies are of such importance that they are to be judged in a class of their own.
  8. Any member who ever suggests eating a quiche may, by a majority vote of the founder members, be dismissed from the Club.
  9. Initial ratings of the pies and visited establishments will be conducted using a score of 1-5 (where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent) and will rate each of the following 5 areas:
  • Pastry (or topping)
  • Filling
  • Beer – quality and range
  • Ambience of establishment - including service, clientele, facilities
  • Value for Money - i.e. price, quality, and size of pie