Crocodile and Kangaroo meat pies
Australia Day January 26th is almost here and since you can't get more Aussie food wise than the iconic Australian meat pie, a trip to a pie shop seemed to be in order.
Australian meat pies in their most common form are a handheld pie comprising of mince beef (ground beef) & gravy in a shortcrust pastry base with a puff pastry top usually finished with globs of tomato sauce (ketchup). Synonymous with sports, the pie is one of the most popular items to eat at a game of Australian Rules Football.
A recent successful advertising campaign from pie manufacture Four'N Twenty had "work men" eating pies from a plastic plate, the salad on the plate is also made of plastic.
Real men eat pies not salad according to Four'N Twenty. My husband must have agreed because he got himself two of these pie plates!!
On to our visit to the pie shop; The Pie Shed is located in Bayswater a partially industrialised suburb east of Melbourne. Walking in you are hit by the delicious aroma of baked pies. The menu is quite extensive with over 40 varieties of pies. Divided into: Steak Pies (a dozen varieties of those), Open Pies, Gourmet Pies, Game Pies, Fruit Pies, Family Pies, Quiches, Rolls & Pasties. Flavours such as chicken & camembert, Guinness stout, curried scallop, cauliflower and broccoli were tempting but we were interested in the game menu. Kangaroo, Venison, Crocodile are the standards, Emu, Goat, Camel, Turkey and Duck are available seasonally.
The small cafe was doing brisk business, after a short wait at the counter friendly staff sent us off with our Crocodile and Kangaroo Pies. $5.75 per pie
According to the menu; Kangaroo Pie contains 'diced kangaroo cooked with onions and lemon scented spices' the Crocodile Pie Tender pieces of crocodile cooked in mornay sauce and white wine.
The first thing that struck you is they weren't hot, the Kangaroo was warmish and the Crocodile pie was lukewarm at best.
The pastry looked good, taste wise it was fine, not great, buttery or super crisp, but okay, my husband Mark quite liked it. The crocodile was missing something, oh yeah I know "the crocodile"!!
The mornay sauce was THICK, and since it wasn't hot... gluggy. Under seasoned, with no hint of the aforementioned white wine, the filling was bland with the only flavour note coming from a commercial tasting chicken stock. Mark was looking forward to his first taste of crocodile and was disappointed with the lack of croc meat.
The Kangaroo pie had all the seasoning missing from the crocodile pie, it was salty with a capital S, once the salt dispersed on your palate there was a subtle not unpleasant wine flavour. No sign of the promised 'lemon scented spices', which was a shame, as it would have added another much needed flavour dimension. Mark said he thought it was a bit too salty but he liked this pie a lot.
Overall, not my cup of tea but my husband (and he is target audience) liked it enough that he would go back and could envision himself using the drive thru service to grab a quick bite when he was hungry.
I will bake my version of the pies come winter, but for now it's back to churning ice-cream.