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Pie & Ale Reviewed

Jo Milligan checks out one of the Northern Quarter’s newest purveyors of pie

Written by . Published on July 11th 2013.

Pie & Ale Reviewed

AS part of Manchester Confidential’s unofficial Pie Week, where better to head than Pie and Ale? Like Ronseal Quick Drying Wood Stain, it does exactly what it says on the tin. And a little bit more.

It was the only pie I’ve ever eaten that made me coo with delight (or should that be moo with delight?) on its arrival.

The ales are well-covered.

There are six rotating cask ales from local microbreweries with occasional offerings from some of the big guns as well as a huge array of bottles and cans. There the light and the fruity and the dark and smoky.

As usual prices are steep if you're buying Brew Dog, perhaps the world's most expensive brewery - £4.10 for a 330ml Punk IPA. Still I wanted to try the latter drink and found it very refereshing, hoppy and floral with a summery feel. I also went for a half of Overtime from the Six O'Clock Beer Company. It had a light, clean flavour, rather like an American ale.

007Whiskey-A-Go-GoThere's a fine selection of rums, gins and tequilas but it is with the whiskies that Pie & Ale really shows its spirited side.

There are 35 whiskies in total, excluding the house spirits. These are mainly Scotches with some bourbons and some aged Japanese whiskies such as the 17yr old Hibiki. There was also a 20yr old Pappy Van Winkle for £10 a shot.

However, I’d come for food not liquid, so a pie was the order of the day. I went for the Steak and Yippee Pie Ale served with mash and gravy (£7.95) and a side of mushy peas (£1.20). The pie was of gargantuan proportions. I was defeated.

It was the only pie I’ve ever eaten that made me coo with delight (or should that be moo with delight?) on its arrival. You don’t imagine a massive pie to elicit whoops of childish joy but it had a cutesy pastry cow jumping from its centre in such a light and whimsical way that it belied the ‘death by pastry’ nature of the pie in question.

003Daisy Makes Her Bid For Freedom

The filling of the pie was delicious; like a hearty stew where the huge chunks of beef had been slow-cooked to such perfection that they were beginning to fall apart. There was a punch of herby goodness and a smooth but bitter flavour from the house ale which resulted in really strong flavours that were perhaps a tad too rich to be eaten in such quantities.

004Melting Meaty Goodness

The pastry itself was a disappointment. The pies are the crimped crust variety, big hefty boulders of pie with more pastry than sense. Never mind trying to deflect attention away from this with an adorable pastry cow, there was enough pastry to hand craft an entire herd of Aberdeen Angus. Life size.This was more like the pie form of a medieval trencher, something to eat the food from rather than something to eat.

The mashed potato started off well with a good peppery flavour and a smooth texture but there were some lumps lurking. More stamina with the masher required.

The mushy peas were excellent and almost a necessity. They cut through the richness of the rest of the food perfectly.

I love Bakerie, their wines and the whole atmosphere. Pie & Ale is another offshoot. I love the idea of it and really want it to do well. It is tucked away though and can be very quiet. The crisp and clean design, those pure wooden lines means that without other people to liven things up, it can be like dining in a garden shed.

I'll hold on to that memory of the pie filling, the mushy peas and the ales and give it another go soon, see if they've learnt how to slim down that pastry.


Pie & Ale, The Hive, Off Lever Street, City, M4 2BS. 0161 228 1610

Rating: 12.5/20

Food: 6.5/10 (pastry 3, pie filling 8, mash 7,5, peas 7.5)
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 2/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Jonathan MoranJuly 11th 2013.

Looks good.

David BishopJuly 11th 2013.

Really like it in here normally got some interesting offal fillings as well. Good stuff

moragJuly 11th 2013.

Really lovely food here, always a really tasty vegan option too (as with all the bakerie places) so a great place to go with a group, its a bugger trying to please everyone and this works really well. I just hope pies arent this years cupcakes.

cassandra666July 11th 2013.

Agree with most of it. Nothing wrong with that pastry though. If it was thinner it would never hold all that meat. Most pies are not that well filled up. Also, I think gargantuan portion is a bit of an exaggeration. I had the exact same pie as you with mash (actually I prefer my mash not too mashed), no mushy peas and a beer and was fine, cleaned my plate and still could have had a dessert had I wanted it (and bearing in mind I had eaten cake at Teacup only an hour before). So I think it much depends on how hungry you are and your frame size (I'm 5' 10). And although I'm a female, I would say most blokes would agree with me. :)

AnonymousJuly 11th 2013.

Love their Cheese and Onion pie.

NorthernGeezerJuly 11th 2013.

The pastry to filling ratio looks excessive. Try Pooles Pies from Wigan, they've got it spot on.

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