By WENDY HARGREAVES
Ah, the humble pie. The good old dog’s eye. It’s the ultimate Aussie comfort food, all packaged up in pastry and ready to go. But there are pies, and there are PIES.
The best pies stay in one piece, resisting gravity to deliver the not-too-hot filling with grace and ease. They also have just the right amount of your favourite filling, all held together by light and flaky pastry on top.
Here are five of the best places to find these gems in Melbourne. You can also listen to Wendy’s segment about pies on 3AW.
- 18 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, 03 9639 5515
- When one of Melbourne’s best chefs opens a pie shop, it’s time to put all those paleo/keto/carb-free ideas to bed. Scottish-born Raymond Capaldi opened a new pie shop in early December at the Carlton Gardens end of Little Lonsdale – a natural extension of his Bulleen pie factory, where fans have been swamping his factory shop. Capaldi’s magical pastry recipe doesn’t collapse in your hands, with a light but sturdy shortcrust on the bottom and a crispy rough puff on top, all made wth vegetable lard (happy days for vegans). Pie fillings change daily, ranging from traditional beef to lasagne, cauliflower cheese or banana/custard pancake. The “Tradie Slammer” is also a crowd pleaser – your favourite pie in a toasted brioche bun with house-made chutney. And don’t leave without trying the 50/50 mash – half spud, half butter. Oh my!
- 75 Nicholson St, East Brunswick, 0455 052 342
- Chef Matt Wilkinson is like a kid in a lolly shop when it comes to pies. His shop covers all the sweet and savoury options, with a menu as Ocker as the day is long (from $7). Fancy a Shazza, with cauliflower cheese, and caramelised onion? Or the Uncle Pete, with jalepeno baked beans, egg and cheese? Or the more traditional Allen with slow-cooked chunky beef ‘n veg. This summer you can have a crack at The Nellie with peach, raspberry and lemon verbena, complete with a scoop of ice cream from Caulfield North cult-favourite Sundae School Ice Creamery.
- 10 Howie Place, Melbourne, 03 9077 0519
- Matti Fallon’s pies might look like an old-school Four ‘n Twenty, but they taste out of this world. Everything is made on site in Howie place, including slow cooked beef and lamb from Coldstream’s Little Creek Farm. You might find fillings like bolognese, vegan mushroom risotto or sweet gems like salted golden syrup, marshmallow and pretzel. The buttery pastry gives the pies a home-made feel. All it needs is a splurge of the all-natural tomato sauce (called Dead Horse, of course).
- 383 Bay St, Port Melbourne, (03) 9041 5004
- The team at Pure Pie take their pastry and fillings very seriously, using real butter, rich stocks and top quality meat. The beef/red wine/rosemary is a firm favourite with everyone in this household, along with the family-sized chicken and mushroom. Pure Pies are home delivered on Thursdays and Fridays, or find them at these stockists and markets.
- 81A Hudsons Rd, Spotswood, (03) 9391 1335
- Candied might be a slice of Americana in Spotswood, but they’re full Aussie when it comes to pies, using Vegemite as the secret flavour booster for their classic beef pie. The flaky pastry is superb.
171 Union Rd, Surrey Hills, 03 9890 2382
Hand-made buttery pastry are the key to the excellent Zimt pies.
200 Swan Street, Melbourne, (03) 9421 2711
Go for the famous chunky pepper steak.
309 Buckley St, Essendon, (03) 9337 1034
Essendon locals are all over Tony’s Pies, where the classic chunky beef pies have legendary status.
260 Barkly Street, Brunswick, (03) 9092 8113
Baking quality pies for decades, Boscastle is a Brunswick institution, now available right across Australia. The plain beef party pie is always a winner.
358 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, (03) 9416 0091
Babka’s beef red wine and mushroom pie is a flavour explosion, with melt-in-the-mouth meat.