I'm a copywriter and freelance writer living in Melbourne.
My novel, Another New York Murder, is available online.
Published August 13th 2013
Nothing Humble About These Pies
There are, in life, certain tests of an object's quality that usually have to do with the sacrifice you will make to acquire it. Money, time or distance become obstacles no more when the possibility of something dear to your heart is at stake. Thus it is with me and a pie from the Red Hill Baker in Red Hill South.
If you visit enough small towns you will find that each has a purveyor of a "Victoria's favourite something" or "Home of the Famous something." Usually it's a pie, vanilla slice or something else truly Australian, edible and bad for you. The Red Hill Baker is home to the famous Wine Bread. While I'm not sure of its fame, I can certainly attest to its quality. It's a hard and rich, olive streaked bread that can be savoured with wine, cheese or just about anything else. I'm sure it truly is Victoria's best as I'm sure I've never tasted anything like it before.
But it's the pies that draw you to the Red Hill Baker, and Red Hill being a mere hour's drive from my house, there's always a good time to get a pie. The jewel of the pie menu is the Beef Burgundy with hearty chunks of real meat sitting inside the crusty pastry. Served with shoestring fries, the pie has never tasted so good.
The chunky sauce and thick pastry does need cutlery
Be warned, though, that if you visit after midday in summer, you'll have a scant selection remaining, but fear not, as the worst pie at the Red Hill Baker is better than the best pie anywhere else. This will, however, let you brush up on your Red Hill Baker bingo where you can be introduced to new friends such as the rabbit and Pinot, Duck and Wine or the Chicken and Chardonnay.
For the sweet tooth, there is also a rich pastry selection, with brick like lamingtons with real strips of coconut and a rocky road slice which could feed a family. For the kids there are the Red Hill Mice, which are rum balls moulded into a shape of a marshmallow eyed mouse.
Take your pick. It's all good
So the next time you come to the Mornington Peninsula for a day of grape grazing, remember to get a pie at the Red Hill Baker. These are real pies. The fillings are a gourmet meal in themselves. The sauce has the chunky, homemade richness that could never be squeezed through a traditional sauce container. These are pies that require a plate and cutlery. So thick and fresh and chunky, that you do expect four and twenty blackbirds to escape when you cut into the thick pastry.
The Red Hill Baker also has live jazz on Sunday afternoons between 1pm and 4pm and never has a more perfect accompaniment to the great pie existed. If you fancy jazz but not a pie, you can sample the wood fried pizza on Sundays: a perfect winter Sunday afternoon.
Come to the Red Hill Baker and like me, you'll keep coming back. Or if you can't, take home a frozen pie and enjoy at your leisure. They even do bulk orders.
The Red Hill Baker also has a store and providore in Belnarring.
The pies are good here but the other meals are not great. I think the lamb and rosemary pie was about $6.50-7 take away. The cafe at the food store in the same group of shops in Red Hill is fantastic (and they don't charge extra for you to eat in).