The Handmade Pie & Ale House resides right by Weymouth Station, which is slightly back from the waterfront and a little away from the main hustle and bustle of the town. By combining two of my favourite things – a decent pie (which is an artisan skill) and ale (an equally artisan skill) I don’t think there is anywhere else within a 50 mile radius I would have been more likely to visit.
Service and Decor at the Handmade Pie & Ale House
The establishment is quite narrow, a Grimmauld Place style for the Harry Potter fans, but it is open and welcoming without being noisily oppressive like some truly open plan layouts can be. The second floor has an open plan kitchen, which I always welcome. This is in part because I am nosey, but also it’s a sign that they are proud about their cooking and have nothing to hide.
Drinks wise, there’s a good selection of local ales and ciders – and the welcoming and lively service staff seem to know their way around them. I had a nice golden number from the Ringwood Brewery and friend had a local Scrumpy.
Food at the Handmade Pie & Ale House
They have a problem in this department; a very good problem to have, but a problem none the less. Frankly, you’d expect the showcase ingredient (the pie) to stand head and shoulders above all the incidentals and ancillary items. You know, like disappointing poppadoms and rice that’s an after thought in your favourite Indian, or when you get bought-in tartare sauce with your homemade calamari in an Italian. These peripheral disappointments can often be cancelled out by the main event. A case in point in a review are the chips at the epic Two Bulls Steakhouse. The Handmade Pie & Ale House however does not suffer from this affliction, far from it. We shared a starter of crispy chicken wings with a buffalo sauce (a hot sauce). These were excellent – crispy chicken outside, moist chicken meat and a buffalo sauce that would make any spice-loving true American proud. I have to admit, I am not sure why it came with some carrot and celery crudities and blue cheese dip, but even without it, two could share one starter easily enough.
So good was the buffalo sauce, we asked for a pot to go with our main courses (some chip dipping) and noting their saucier was having a good day, I asked for some of their cheese sauce for my forthcoming chips (headlined “not your normal cheesy chips”). My pie was a Steak and Ale – there was a plethora on offer of various classical contents to more ambitious. Friend had a French barbeque pulled pork pie. Both had a filling dense in meat and bound in a sauce, not a sauce with a token piece of meat in the shop bought style, in a demonstrably handmade pie (a proper pie, not a pot pie) that was golden crusted and just the right thickness to contain the contents and have just a little soft layer of pastry between the crust and filling, without being stodgy. The pies are also all baked to order, which is a massive plus.
Chips were handcut and properly triple cooked – and the cheese sauce could, if used in this way, double up as potentially the best nacho cheese sauce this side of the Atlantic. There’s a good consistency about it – think of a viscous mozzarella and a depth of flavour that conjures images of various cheeses. I have no doubt none of these feature, but if I were to attempt to recreate it, I’d start with Port Salut, a cheddar and some Double Gloucester.
So why is this a problem? Because frankly, next time I visit the Handmade Pie & Ale House (and I’ve already checked to see if it is feasible to do a lunch return trip by train from London) I am likely to ask to takeaway a crate of pies to consume later, but to have crispy chicken wings and nachos with their cheese sauce and barbeque pork. In fact, they should buy one of the vacant hostelries on the sea front and concert it into that sort of Southern American establishment – they’ve certainly got the base skills for it!
|Restaurant Name||Handmade Pie and Ale House|
|Price Range||£25 a head (shared starter, 2 pints and a main each)|
|Website||Handmade Pie and Ale House|
|Address||The Handmade Pie & Ale House, 2 Queen Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 7HZ|