A trip to London, whether a short layover or a more extended visit requires a few 'musts' if you're to do it right: the wherewithal to look every way possible when crossing the street, a jet lag-induced tour of the English capitol's most celebrated landmarks, many proper pints with friends (none of that 12-14 oz. malarkey) and of course, a pie.
After dropping our bags with cousin Katie, we set out to accomplish at least three of the aforementioned tasks before jetlag won out demanding a nap. Katie had plans for us post snooze; a visit to a local spot with an atmosphere suggestive of traditional pie offerings.
Our chicken potpie dreams were quickly squashed when the barkeep informed us, "We haven't got that tonight." Sad, but we figured a fish and chips would suffice. "Ohh, we haven't got the fish and chips neither."
Enjoying trademark British cuisine would have to wait for another day. Turning to our cousin the Anglophile, we suggested she order while we re-evaluated. Katie ordered a Caesar salad which is, to be fair, a s!*t ton of mayonnaise with a few leaves of iceberg lettuce. It’s true; you can take the cousin out of the country, but not necessarily the cousin away from the Caesar.
Our time in London was action packed. We explored areas and museums I had not been to in the past and Sweet Soprano’s maiden visit to the UK included a fine overview.
There was however, a common theme clouding our week of culinary adventures. More times than not, kitchens were out of stock. From beers to breakfasts, we were continuously moving from first to second to sometimes third choices. We couldn't help but question, was the whole city short on supplies? Had this menu not been updated since the 1800's? Would the pie of our dreams ever be both on the menu and in the kitchen?
Thankfully, we learned that our second and third choices were generally delicious. This was especially true on our last day in London, desperate to experience the meat pie. We were told that PieMinister was the place to go and given the amazingly punny name, were eager to check it out. Sadly, our overly booked final day made this challenging. Desperate for our pie fix, we tasked our friends with locating the best pie in the area. This turned out to be just fine, thanks to the stumble-upon skills of our friends; we ended up at Windmill in Mayfair and were very happily surprised.
Passing through the after work regulars having a smoke and a pint on the sidewalk, we made our way inside to find a true pub with a touch of posh. Our friends gave us the rundown of the menu. The steak and mushroom pie was the way to go, not for it's filling (although a definite plus) but because the crust was made with ye olde lamb's fat, not today's go-to butter. This pie was, in a few words, worth the wait. Not only were we able to order our first choice, but found it as traditional as it gets. Even before cutting into the steaming hot pie, the color of the crust told us this was going to be spectacular. Tucking our forks into the pie was as satisfying as we had hoped - crispy, flaky, but sturdy. The filling was well contained and did not cause a soggy bottom in the least.
We're not one to miss the opportunity to give a gravy shout-out and this brown sauce certainly deserved one. Our friend in a similar state of mind asked the waitress for a bit more of it. And that, they had plenty of.
Reflecting on our stopover in London while we waited for our next flight, it was agreed we could do with some greens in our diet this week. We ordered the vegetable full English breakfast but of course, they "hadn't got that today." Not surprised, we reminisced about our great pie success at Windmill and looked forward to the next leg of our trip- Wurst, Bier, und Küchen, wir kommen.
-MeisterMeister und Süß Sopran