This is not haute cuisine, but certainly elevates bar food to a culinary level totally unexpected for the venue and price. We shall be returning throughout the autumn/winter months. %)
Reason for choosing venue
The cold, dark nights have inexorably drawn upon us once again. Cooling temperatures, falling leaves and rainfall led my companion & myself in search of traditional English “comfort food”. We went through a list of some dozen local(ish) restaurants and eateries. We ummed and errred, until I suddenly recalled a recommendation from some long-time friends, Hannah & Mick, whom we trust implicitly with regards cuisine choices. We mutually agreed on a virginal visit to Pi in Altrincham (just up the road from the well-known & frequented Belgian Bar).
Pi is one of a chain of three establishments in the North West of England. They serve a choice of pies (approximately @ £5) and for an additional charge one can purchase mash, mushy peas and/or gravy (@ £1). The pies are sourced from Pieminster.
[Image description: plated pie, mash & gravy; © Pieminster ®]
I selected a “Moo Pie”, described as containing British beef, carrot, onion & gravy, accompanied by mash and mushy peas. I sampled the mushy peas first: very lightly minted, a hint of lemon juice and a perfect flavour. For me, though, I prefer some body rather than total purée. Hit the spot, nonetheless. Next I scooped some mash: delectable - creamy, buttery, lumplessly smooth, black peppered - yummy! Finally to the pie. Topped with an almost-too-light-to-be-true flaky pastry with a buttery flavour and a melt-in-the-mouth experience, the pie was an æsthetic delight. The filling, to be sure, was tasty; however, the baker had used stewing steak that had not been adequately cooked so was rather chewy. The gravy was of a nice, thickish consistency, so it did not ooze out of the pie. The rest of the pie was a different kind of pastry, with the base difficult to break up as it had an overly doughy consistency. It passed the taste test though.
My companion chose the chicken pie, mash, mushy peas and a jug of gravy. Alas I could not sample as it contained an allergen to me. It was as pleasing to the eye as my own dish. Containing large chunks of chicken, the flesh was tender and cut easily. My friend practically licked his platter clean, so I should say that is a recommendation!
We washed down our repasts with some real ale. At £3.50 for a pint of draught Tatton White Queen 4.2%, my blonde was a smooth, light, clean nectar. My fellow diner ordered Damburger, which had a slight sour, citrusy flavour.
[Image description: label for "White Queen"; © Tatton Brewery]
All of the three staff with whom we interacted were perfectly pleasant without being effusive. They passed the time of day, but did not intrude. We even received a friendly wave from behind the bar as we exited.