Hello and welcome to the second of two reviews from the terraces of The Falkirk Stadium. Last time out Pie 156: The East Stirlingshire Steak Pie went under the piecroscope as not only did we get to taste a new pastry sensation but also dished out the first ever Meat Filled Pastries Awards for 2018. If you want to know who won the key awards of Best Scotch Pie, Best Luxury Pie and Best Non-Pie Pastry then please go have a look. It stirred up the kind of debate between fans on Twitter that only a pie could do.
Before we get into the meat of this pie matter I wanted to take a little time to talk about East Stirlingshire. The first club to fall victim of the Scottish Pyramid promotion system they lost out to Edinburgh City at the end of the 2015/16 season bringing to a close a 61 year association within the current national league set up. Having left Firs Park, a ground I unfortunately never made it too, they moved to Ochilview home of Stenhousemuir before taking up residence at The Falkirk Stadium at the start of the 2018/19 season.
As I stood towards the back of the main stand on a pretty chilly December evening I was taken once again by the commitment that we as football fans show. Now to be fair, and to not over-romanticise, the crowd wasn’t that big and there was an air of apathy on the pitch that was permeating into the stands. An air that lifted when the on park casualness started to rile those watching on. It was even bugging me and I was a neutral! Don’t assume that this is reference to apathy is designed to diminish the support, all these supporters should be (and I have no doubt are) valued but instead probably more of an indication as to how their season had gone to date, sitting as the club did in the lower half of the Lowland League table. It’s not easy supporting a club at this level but there are always people that will bleed the colours when cut clean but for The Shire who – on the face of things – have been battered about as much as anyone has been over the past few seasons the support is even more impressive. From the 8 point season of 03/04 to the threat of losing full SFA member status after many a 42nd place finished in the league. They had to leave Firs Park, their home, due to rising costs and of course you cannot ignore the aforementioned relegation in 2016. It truly is testament to the commitment fans have to their teams that they continue to carry on.
The move to The Falkirk Stadium has been viewed positively and the ambition very much remains to see the club promoted back to League Two and always with any club I wish them the best in achieving their goals.
For now though let’s get back to the pies and so, without much further ado, let’s rate some pie!
Where: The Falkirk Stadium, East Stirlingshire 2-2 University of Stirling, Lowland League
Price: At £2.20 this was 20p cheaper than the previously reviewed steak pie. I should note here that the picture above highlights the presence of a Steak & Stornoway Black Pudding Pie however my excitement soon disappeared as it became apparent that a trip to see East Stilringshire’s landlords would be required to take on board this potential tasty treat.
Presentation: Identical in nature to its steak filled brother. Inside a silver tin foil carton and atop of some large white napkins.
Meatiness: This pie was laced with that unmistakable scotch pie flavour with the spicing adding a smidgen of heat and a dash of both sweet and savoury. There was a little peppery kick which I always enjoy at the terminal point of consumption. Not loads to say here but that doesn’t mean that this wasn’t a decent little filling.
Pastry: You could almost see the fingers of the baker as they hurriedly pushed the lid against the pastry walls and on top of the filling. It meant that it looked a little ragged but those undulating sides added a layer of crispness to the bite that a neatly tucked in lid wouldn’t have. The pastry was a little soft underneath with a dusting of flour again helping to prevent a sticky situation but overall it was well-baked.
Brown Sauce: The sachets of sauce on offer were tangy and a little sweet adding some more notes of flavour to the overall experience. They were also an appropriate size to get a good coverage on top of your pastry. To often these sachet’s are tiny, and require multiples of to make them worth their while.
Overall: Not a looker, but a pretty decent example of a scotch pie.
Gravy Factor: Crispy Bisto
The pies at East Stirlingshire may not be particularly groundbreaking but you can do a lot worse than just offering up good, honest tasting pastries. I’m back to having an empty basket of which to draw reviews from but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for some hot pie action to take on board. I will be attending the World Scotch Pie Awards on the 15th January and I’m hoping to be able to speak to some of the winners and do a bit more in-depth coverage on one of my favourite days of the year.
However, until next time, go forth and eat pie!
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. A contributor to various football websites and publications he also currently acts as Heart & Hand Podcast’s resident Iberian football expert and hosts “The Isco Inferno” a weekly take on all things Spanish football. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part-time Madrileno with a passion for food and football that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.