1. Dinkum Pies – 29 Block Arcade, Melbourne City. Not much of a site for all that. I heard somewhere, that 'Dinkum Pies' won the 'Age' magazine best pie in Melbourne award. This was a while back, naturally I wanted to try one myself. Which I did just recently.
The Block Arcade' (originally called 'Carpenter's Lane' a couple of hundred years ago, was nicknamed by the hoity toity and the shop owners petitioned with success to change it to that nickname 'The Block Arcade') is where 'Dinkum Pies' are located.
All the pies are baked upstairs on the premises, I had the Beef Burgundy Pie, which had a lovely vegetable flavour with a sweet carrot taste featuring prominently amongst nice big chunks of beef, and a lovely puffy pastry.
I think there was a tight budget when they furnished this place as inside the round tables are only just big enough to fit a plate, and they are very low. All the eaters look like Quasimodo stooped over to stop gravy dripping on their shoes. They may be trying to encourage take away, although the seating outside is better. There was a long queue when I was there.
The bells, the bells.
None the less this is not an interior decorators award so this takes the gold, for first place.
If you think it was pie in the sky, my idea that I could have five Melbourne pies, then this selection brings credence to that theory. However if you read on you'll see there are in fact five Melbourne locations where you can get a good pie.
This place has won more medals than Michael Phelps and deservedly so in my opinion, the pies are lovely. This is a first hand opinion. In fact all these selections are. I do love a good pie - it's all part of being a fair dinkum Aussie.
I've read other reviews about this place (which is something I've always done, read reviews that is, I'm always on the lookout for something interesting). This place gets a few bad ones. I think Nick Hornby, who if you didn't know is a British writer, (there are a few of his quotes I use) said, Amazon reviewers are "bastards" as rarely can a writer maintain more than four out of five stars. I think this goes for all reviews I've read on just about all things on the net. Reviewers run everything down as it is at no cost to themselves. This must be a distant cousin to the 'tall poppy syndrome'.
So it wasn't pie in the sky that they won all these medals, they won them fair and square on their own merits (if this sentence and one earlier make no sense to you, it is because you do not realise that pie in the sky is an expression that means an unachievable dream). It's not just the pies that are good, the whole kit and caboodle is of a similar standard. There is a nice home style feel about the food, service and atmosphere. Most pies seem to come with three ice cream sized scoops of mash, peas, sauce and gravy.
I've had the Beef Burgundy, which I would have had every time, only once they gave me the Beef by mistake, it didn't worry me as they've all been great. As well as the pies there are an abundance of lovely cakes and puddings.
And to top it all this is in a beautiful location, if this wasn't just a pie contest, 'Pie in the Sky' would have won hands down.
The Pie who loved me.
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri: 10am - 4.30pm
Sat and Public holidays: 10am - 5pm
Sun: 9.30am - 5pm.
3. Kieth's Pies - 119 Burnley St, Richmond This site looks bloody good.
Well I've got to add my old favourite, Kieth's pies. If this was a 'Best Pasty' competition then this place would take out the gold. The pie's aren't in the same league as their pasties, so only the bronze for the pies, but they are still worth a mention as they are very good.
They also have a nice range of pastries and their sausage rolls are a standout too.
I was reading a couple of funny guys talking about Keith's pies on a site. They were blogging away and they reckoned that it was a pity the pies weren't as good as the pasties in comparison, and how Kieth's marketing needed a make over. They tried to come up with some better names, here is a quick selection: 'The pie who loved me', 'The pie who came in from the cold', 'I only have pies for you', 'For your pies only', 'The pie of the storm'. I might of accidently made a couple up myself there. They cracked me up. Also they have missed the key to marketing, USP (unique selling proposition) and that is the pasty not the pie.
Now, I once had a take home family pie from here. Unfortunately it was extremely greasy, and not spectacular at all. However, I've since had their 'Angus Beef Pie', from their branch at Highpoint, and it was indeed a high point; it was lovely. Meaty chunks, with a tasty gravy and a crispish (I know that's not a word but I think it is a perfect description) pastry, an all round achiever.
I also had a Tiddly Oggie, which didn't mean a bit of footsy under the table, but their version of a Cornish pasty. These are quite nice, without being spectacular. Even though they'd have you believe they are (try one of Kieth's and then tell me which one you think is spectacular?).
I never thought I'd find myself talking up 'Four & Twenty' which is a shame, because not only is it a great icon of Aussie Rules (which I always love talking up), but the fact that the name is fantastic, as it comes from the nursery rhyme 'Sing a song of sixpence'.
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
Baked in a pie.
I love the old nursery rhymes, did you know they are nearly all riddled with social comment? I might write an article about that one day. The general public (perhaps artists) taking the rise out of the royalty, with out losing their heads.
Anyway, I got off the subject, so for years I've been eating 'Four & Twenty Pies' and to be honest they tasted like they'd been made out of blackbirds. One week they'd have gristle and veins the size of a pea shooter in them. The next week they'd be like minced offal and cold in the middle, and then the third week they'd be magnificent, beautiful crispish pastry with nice meaty mince, and a wonderful rich, flavoursome gravy.
It's full of blackbird I tell yer?
This was during the eighties and nineties. At that time, if you went to Princess Park (as it was known then) you got a Patties Pie, they were fantastic, every time (I read recently they make the Four & Twenty pies now?). I think Kardinia Park (as it was known then) also had Patties or maybe Gillies? Boy, whatever they were, they were an absolute stand out in those days compared to Four & Twenty.
At that time the 'Four & Twenty' Factory was in Kensington, Victoria, where I happened to live for a total of maybe 7 or 8 years. The smell was pretty off sometimes. I also saw a segment on a show, which I'm not sure which one it was, but they took a camera inside the factory, looky here, looky there, but don't looky in here. A-ha a room the camera wasn't allowed in! No bloody wonder - that's where my pies were coming from two out of three weeks. You may not believe this but it's true.
Moreover, recently they had a list of everything found in the humble Four & Twenty pie in an article in the Herald Sun. Raccoon was listed as one of ingredients?
The other joke of course, about the footy pie, not only was it always pretty awful, you paid through the nose for it. I'm not bothering with the prices for any of these pies in this list as they are all reasonably priced except for at the footy.
Angus, not much of a name, but a great pie.
Along came Four & Twenty Angus Pepper Steak Pies. Yummy, yummy, yummy, I take back all I said about 'Four & Twenty' in the last several paragraphs - these have made eating a pie at the footy so good, I even buy them at the supermarket and eat them at home too, well done Four & Twenty (although looking at the site, I think it might be more to do with Patties, they probably bought them out, Four & Twenty that is, they're certainly not in Kensington anymore).
6. Gillies Pies Not Max Gillies you silly duffer.
Look I have to tell you these pies in my mind, are at least as good as Dinkum Pies. I've got 'em down here because they are made in Bendigo and you can't get them here in Melbourne, to my knowledge anyway? If you could, I'd reckon they'd just about pip Dinkum's at the post.
I was up in Bendigo, probably 10 or more years ago, and was prompted by my partner, "You must try a Gillies". I had had them somewhere else, it might have been Kardinia Park, not sure but somewhere. Well I tried one here and boy, hot pies! "What do you think?" my partner said. "Sensational" - I didn't just say it like Bruce McAvaney. I had a lot of emphasis on the 'Sen' with a pause, then a fast flowing hard nosed follow through with a slightly growly, 'sational'. They don't like that word here, we are a bit prejudiced against it, so I've tried to disguise it in amongst my other diatribe by splitting it up and trying to let it mingle in unnoticed.
It's the only fitting word Mr Umpire. I had to give away the fifty metre penalty, but I had to get the flavour, the texture, the scrumptiousness across to you the reader, no good just saying good - how can you distinguish it from anything else.
So there we have it, another crazy top 8 by me, all over the place like a mad woman's blouse.
But wait, there's more. "More" I hear you say. Yes, you've only got to 6 so far, not a set of steak knives, not a round the world cruise, but ...
7. Suttton's Pies
Again a recommendation from my partner (she remembered them from when she was a girl). You can see why I've kept her. These babies can only be purchased another few hundred miles up the track (I could say kilometres, but those Frenchies won't let us use Champagne, so they can keep their metric too, since it doesn't fit in).
I can't seem to find them in any search engine? But they are there, in Moama. You go from Echuca (over the mile long bridge?) right through and out the end of Moama. You dog leg around and there is a new shopping centre, off to the left. I think the bakery is actually called Sutton's, if not, it's right at the front, when you are facing the whole shopping centre. Again it's off to the left, but on the right hand side of the entrance there.
Get up there and try them. In my opinion, they are great, they are a fairly peppery pie. They really are line ball with Gillies, but Gillies just snuck in front due to the shop. You'd never know that the Sutton's Pies were there, except I've told you. The Gillies Pies have given their pies a bit more of a marketing deal, and as much as I'm a fan of old world, just like Gran used to make, I don't know, it just got Gillies the edge, plus I was always a fan of the forgotten genius Max Gillies.
Now some of you may have hung around thinking the pies wouldn't be much chop this far down the list. If you read any of my other articles, you'd have known better - I use the old smoke and mirrors writing style that I purchased at Bernard's Magic Shop.
Patties need a special mention here, I'm not sure if they still exist, but they were great. It's a while since I've had one, they may have metamorphosed into an Angus Four & Twenty?
8. I've got one more for you, Pie Face.
My partner and I, first had them in Queensland, and we quite liked them, they weren't like the best, but they were pretty good. The other thing I liked about them, they soaked up the English pie floater idea, or pea floater, which is popular in Adelaide, more so than Melbourne. I like the idea myself. They didn't have them down here in Melbourne then, which was only a few years ago. Now there is one on every corner just about, almost as many as the 7-Eleven franchise.
I've tried the pepper steak, the chicken and mushroom, plain beef and the sausage rolls, and thought they were all acceptable.
They are not cheap though. Another reason I added these guys in, is I noticed the one just off the corner of Queen and Little Collins in the city is open 24 hours, which might be of interest to the late night munchers.
There you have it, I hope you find this useful, I'd be interested in any other suggestions anyone's got?
The best pies at Ferguson Plaires are not the Angus (actually didn't know they had such think it's just a new addition) is their Country Chicken pies - absolutely scrumptious at every Plaires I've ever been so please try them!
now pop out to chelsea heights and try the best!! temptation bakeries just can't be beaten for any of their flavored pies but go on to then try their pasties sausage rolls or even their cold english pork pie ...now there s a challenge!!!
Please please please do yourself a favour!! Get a pie from the Winehouse kiosk on the corner of queensbridge and city rd, southbank!! These are the most amazing pies I have ever eaten and I am a massive pie lover. I stumbled across these when I was working on a construction site only a stones throw away, it is where most of the surrounding business people go for there coffees, but let me tell you..... What a pie!!! I have had all of the above mentioned pies bar the suttons and these are a clear head and shoulders above the rest!
I'm an American who just recent;y returned home from a Study Abroad trip to Australia, and I have to say, the meat pie is still something I miss. I didn't get the chance to try too many different kinds, but my favorite and first that I ever tried was from this tiny bakery up at Lorne Beach. I still don't remember what it was called, but if you ever get up that way from Melbourne for the Pier to Pub swim, do go and have a look and see what you think. :)