There are many meat pies in town, but not all are created equal. At Londonist we want to make sure our winter weight gain comes courtesy of only the very best this year, so we've selected our absolute top five favourites. Fish and vegetable pie round ups to follow in good time.
Bob Bob Ricard
Just look at that varnished crust. So shiny. So taut. Surely this is the most visually impressive pie in London? Embossed with the Bob Bob Ricard logo for good measure, it must have taken an age to get right. The filling is chicken, mushroom and naturally, champagne. Everything at this Soho pleasure palace screams luxury, and it's long been our favourite place to while away a few hours by connecting our faces to their frothy pink G&Ts and ice cold martinis. Once winter comes however, it's all about those pies.
Bob Bob Ricard, 1 Upper James St, W1F 9DF
This Covent Garden institution is always dependable when it comes to quality British classics and there is surely no restaurant more plush in which to enjoy your pastry. Nothing is understated here, from the taxidermy to the swathes of crimson velvet, the silver, crystal and trophies. The pie is perfectly made of course, so eat it, alongside some fitting British sides such as hot buttered cabbage, before making your way upstairs to the bar for a cocktail.
Rules, 34-35 Maiden Lane, WC2E 7LB
The Camberwell Arms
The Camberwell Arms has just won an Observer Food Monthly award for its Sunday roast, and we recommend you get down there pronto to try one of their pies, which are great for sharing between two. They have three flavours on rotation at the moment which are steak, ale and bone marrow, rabbit and smoked ham and chicken and smoked ham. So what makes them so great? We asked chef/owner Michael Davies who told us that it's a combination of: "high quality ingredients, crispy fatty pastry and a rich but not overly thick filling." He goes on to describe ingredients such as dry aged native breed beef like Dexter, in-house smoked bacon and Breton carrots grown in salty, mineral-rich beds. For the pastry, it has to be a suet crust, which will be "rock hard and glistening with bubbling fat on top, still retaining a moist underside" and for the filling, "the sauce should be a coating consistency, glossy but loose. Too thick and although it may seem appealing it will ultimately be too rich." Crikey. Is it lunchtime yet?
The Camberwell Arms, 65 Camberwell Church St, SE5 8TR
This newly reopened pub was opened by the team behind The Cornwall Project, in partnership with chef Eryk Bautista. For the past five years, Matt Chatfield has been bringing the best of Cornish produce to London, and now they've found this lovely space, and they're doing brilliant things, and every food obsessed person in London is very excited. So there. Pie, mash and liquor might not sound like anything new, but this is the most vivid parsley sauce, the most butter-saturated mash, the most perfectly golden steak and kidney pie.
Newman Arms, 23 Rathbone Street, W1T 1NG
The Ivy's shepherd's pie must be one of the most famous meat pies in London and no, it doesn't come cheap, at £15.75 for a small circular portion. Why is it so good? We're not sure. Recipes fly about freely on the internet and it doesn't look particularly special, so we can only assume it's down to the quality of the ingredients used. This recipe for example simply lists, 'veal stock' and we're guessing that's a special liquid made over the best part of three days. The flavour of the pie is intense, that's for sure.
The Ivy, 8 West Street, WC2H 9NE