The humble pie – it's so much more than just pastry and filling. A staple of British cuisine, the beloved pie in all its forms and variations has been elevated to national treasure status. It's hard to create the perfect pie, with a crust that's flakey, a filling that's flavourful and let's not forget the horror of a soggy bottom! Here we've selected some of the best pie shops and cafés around the country in honour of National Pie Week. Have you visited any of these scrumptious spots?
1. Pie & Ale, Manchester
Home to the annual World Pie Eating Championships, it's no surprise that a Manchester favourite makes our list. Pie & Ale in the city's Northern Quarters dishes up classic fare like steak and ale and three cheese pie, but it's the restaurant's more exotic flavours that have us intrigued. Crocodile or zebra pie, anyone? All pies are served with generous helpings of mash and gravy, so you're sure to leave satisfied (just in case crocodile cuisine isn't your thing)!
Try it: Cheat's steak and ale pie
2. Pie & Vinyl, Southsea
The only thing better than sitting down to a steaming hot, buttery pie? Tucking into one while listening to some classic tunes. At Southsea's Pie & Vinyl, you can do just that at this restaurant-cum-record shop. The extensive menu features favourites like steak and Guinness and chicken and mushroom, plus a few themed options, like the 'Let It Bean Pie' or 'Mean Mister Mustard Pie'. Hot pies and cool music, what could be better?
Try it: Chicken and broccoli pie
3. F.Cooke’s pie and mash shop, London
This East End pie shop has been around for 116 years and has become something of a London institution. It's all about traditional fare for this no frills family-run shop, which means stewed or jellied eel pies with mash and topped off with parsley liquor. Don't forget the fruit pie and ice cream for afters! Fun fact – David Beckham shot his 2012 calendar in F.Cooke's sister shop in London's Hoxton.
Try it: Cheesy fish pie
4. Clark's Pies, Cardiff
First created by Mary Clark back in 1913, the Clark's Pies' (or 'Clarkies' to locals) recipe is a closely guarded family secret. The menu may not be large (potato and beef, Tikka spiced, chicken Balti and cheese and mushroom) but with pastry this good, it needn't be! You know when you're munching on a Clark's Pie – each one comes with a trademark “CLARPIE” stamped on the bottom!
Try it: Cheese and vegetable pie
5. The Apple Pie, Cumbria
Remember in Edith Nesbit's book 'The Railway Children,' where the children got to eat cold apple pie for breakfast? Well, if that sounds like the perfect way to start your day this National Pie Week then you may want to head to The Apple Pie Cafe in the heart of the Lake District. Choose from plain or spiced apple, served hot or cold and top with freshly whipped cream or ice cream. Delicious!
Try it: Deep dish apple crumble pie