Pies are a great Aussie tradition, best served with a large dollop of tomato sauce and accompanied by a cold beer. But in a post-Masterchef world, suddenly a regular ol' meat pie isn't enough to satisfy the masses; it's gotta be made from free-range ingredients, the meat sautéed and marinated in exotic spices, the pastry perfectly flaky and light.
The Pie Tin is a small "artisan" pie bakery and café, tucked away just off King St in Newtown. Upon entering, the first thing I notice is the sizeable table in the middle of the room with several chairs around it; it looks almost like a big, rustic dining table – not really what you'd expect in a café. However, upon further inspection, there are your usual smaller tables and a long bench that runs along part of two of The Pie Tin's walls for those with smaller parties or people who don't like eating next to strangers. It's like the bastard offspring of a dining hall and a barn, but somehow it works, and is even comforting.
The selection of pies is impressive; though I notice there aren't as many on display as there are on the online menu, which I perused the night before. Still, there's a good assortment of dessert pies – my favourite being the giant apple pie labelled "The pie that ate Newtown". The savoury section also houses some fine pies; chicken, leek and white sauce, steak, cheddar and smokey bacon and their famous slow-roasted shredded pork are just a few of the pies on offer. Herbivores need not feel left out though, as there are also three vegetarian options (korma style vegetable curry, vegetable and lentil with potato top, and broccoli and cauliflower with cheese sauce).
For those not into pies (blasphemy!) there are other options – Cornish pasties, sausage rolls, sweet mashed potato, a side of chips. The full menu can be viewed online here.
The Pie Tin also recently got a liquor license, so you can wash down your gourmet pie with a beer or cider from Matilda Bay Brewery, thus keeping the Aussie tradition alive – albeit fancily. If alcohol isn't your thing, they also have juices, organic sodas, milkshakes, coffee and tea. I recommend the organic root beer.
They have a "sporks only" policy, offering plastic ones for those eating on the run, and metal ones for those eating in; the cutlery sits almost out of the way, on a shelf to the side of the room. It's self-serve, so go ahead and grab a spork if you feel so inclined, but the menu encourages using your hands. I grab a spork for good measure, but after a few seconds poking the top of my pie and unsuccessfully trying to hack off a piece with it, I drop all pretence and pick it up with my hands. While eating with one's hands makes for a slightly messier experience, I would argue that it's the only real way to eat a meat pie.
So if you're looking for hearty, gourmet pies, or something to satisfy your sweet tooth, definitely check out The Pie Tin; you won't regret it!