Sometimes restaurants just hit the nail on the head, giving the people exactly what they want. In Leeds, Reds True BBQ capitalised on a desire for barbecue which first arose a few years ago, and there were queues around the block. Trinity Kitchen fulfilled our love of street food and sitting indoors, and has been busy ever since. And now we have Pieminister, proving that all Yorkshire people really want is a good pie, some decent mash and plenty of gravy and they'll be happy as Larry. It's been heaving since opening a couple of weeks ago; partly due, no doubt, to the excellent opening deal they've been running, but also because the arrival of a pie restaurant was bound to cause a stir in the land of proper grub.
Pieminister have built up quite the reputation, taking their pies to farmers markets, festivals and pubs across the land. And now they've brought their flagship restaurant to Leeds, rejuvenating a tired corner of the city centre with a fresh idea. Burger restaurants have become ten a penny, but this really is something new.
The restaurant has that slight industrial feel that's so in right now, with light-up signs, old school chairs and plenty of dark wood. It's becoming a cliche, for sure, but if it works, it works, right? My only comment would be that some of the tables were a little close together - we were a little too near to the couple enjoying their pies next to us, which feels a bit awkward. It was rammed to the rafters though, what with the new opening and it being a Friday night, so that might not always be such a problem.
For a restaurant that is all about the pies, the menu is actually pretty extensive. You can view it online, so I won't list everything out here, but there are so many options to customise your pie dinner that it's a little mind-boggling. We had to send the over-eager waiter away a couple of times because we still hadn't chosen! Suffice to say, the fact that all pies come with gravy included is a definitely welcome addition - and the gravy itself was plenty for one pie. There's nothing worse than a stingy portion of gravy.
The pies themselves were exactly what you'd expect - delicious pastry, generous fillings and so filling you'll need a nap afterwards. My choice of chicken, ham, leek and thyme was very tasty, whilst Paul was extra impressed with his beef and Brewdog beer number. I opted out of mash and went for a slightly avant-garde choice of mac'n'cheese on the side of my pie. The extra carbs definitely weren't needed, but it had an interesting garlicky taste alongside the cheesiness, which I enjoyed.
You could certainly stuff yourself silly here, and at a very reasonable price. The pies themselves hit around the five pound mark, and even if you pile on the sides you're looking at a feast for less than £15. I would skip the cocktails (there are far better places to have them in Leeds, and they felt a bit like an afterthought) and go for one of the many different beers instead, and get stuck into a hearty meal fit for a Yorkshireman (or woman!). Everyone I've told about Pieminister since our visit has been dead jealous - and I can tell this is going to be a welcome addition to the Leeds scene!
Disclaimer: We received a discount off our meal from the lovely people at Pieminister, but a review on my blog wasn't stipulated in exchange - I just wanted to tell you all about these pies! Just be warned: wear stretchy trousers!