If Laurina from The Bachelor had been served this street pie, she may have had a totally different response, and probably kicked up her heels exclaiming “Thank God it’s Pie Day!” Okay, dad jokes aside, these are seriously good pies, and you can find them at the latest pop-up food vendor to open at Braddon’s always evolving foodie carnival, The Hamlet. Pie Day bills itself as a ‘paddock to pie enterprise’. It is the brainchild of the people behind The Lobby, Pork Barrel Café, and Cuppacumbalong Farm. The pies sold here are made from quality local produce. Livestock raised on their farm finds its way into their pies, and is a result of the low intensity integrated farming the group is passionate about.
Running the show is Keith Small, chef turned baker who has been with The Lobby since the beginning of his apprenticeship. We meet with him barely two hours before the first evening of trading. As he opens the awnings to let in the light for us, a number of people wander over. Kathy is from the southside. She has her car in at the carwash across the road. We ask her to sample the pies. “I’m not a pie eater,” she says. “But I will be, if I come here. Not only is the pie great, that salad is sensational.” The salad accompanying the pie is made from barley, lentils, feta, pomegranate, Israeli couscous and green beans. It is fresh and light. Not something you would expect with a pie, but it nails it.
Pie Day’s pies come in ‘small’ and ‘tall’ sizes. To be fair, the small is about the size of a regular pie, and the tall probably the size of two pies. A tall chicken, sweet potato and lime-pickle pie is served to us with a classic side of peas, mashed potatoes and gravy. The filling is tender and sweet, with the lime-pickle lending an Indian, almost curry-like flavour. Next is a small with steak, bacon and provolone cheese. Slightly peppery, with good solid chunks of meat, and bacon and cheese adding an almost chasseur like bite, this pie is balanced beautifully with the fresh taste of the pomegranate salad that comes with it.
“We’re not doing anything tricky, it’s just simple food,” says Keith. “We’re just looking after the produce.” At the tender age of 21, Keith has a very strong opinion about where good food should come from, and how it should be farmed. He says that when he started his apprenticeship, he was dreaming of the fine dining scene. He now solidly believes in simple, fresh and local food. He says that a trip to Tasmania a while back showed him how a community can really rely on itself and its surrounds for its food, and sees a lot of that philosophy creeping into the Canberra food scene of late. “There’s no point sending our money overseas for produce when it’s here, and it’s local and it’s beautiful.”
Pie Day is open for lunch from 12 pm until 3pm and for dinner from 5.30pm until late, Wednesday to Sunday.