What’s up pastry posse!? Welcome to Pie Review 153: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Bridie. These reviews were always a device designed to not only talk about pies and pastries but also to big up some of Scottish football’s lesser lights. I go to a lot of football grounds and over the past few months I’ve resolved to accept that I am indeed a bit of a groundhopper. Whilst some people get excited by a new series of Game of Thrones or the discovery that there is a new place to go hunting for Pokemon (that’s not a dated reference, I know people who still do it!) I get a buzz from an away cup draw to a place I’ve never been or the news that a spot in my midweek schedule has freed up and there’s a game of football to be had and a pie to be eaten.
This was my second visit to Winton Park having previously driven down a few years ago during one of those weekend’s where the fixture list had been decimated but the Rovers park had survived. As I had the car it was very much a case of ensuring that I had made it in for kick off and that I got myself a tasty pastry treat (Pie 84: The Ardrossan Winton Rovers Pie) but on this visit the supporters bus ensured I had ample time to explore the facilities. I was impressed. From the surprisingly large social club located within the stadium, the walls adorned with a potted history of this Ayrshire side, to the various little stadium quirks dotted around the place from the wheelbarrow beside the stand to the Winton Rovers wall at the far end of the stadium. It’s certainly a place with plenty of intrigue to be found. They also have a pretty well stocked pie hut courtesy of The Kandy Bar meaning that despite my previous visit there was still some new pastries to be had.
So without much further ado, let’s rate some bridie!
Where: Winton Park, Ardrossan Winton Rovers 1-2 Pollok, West of Scotland Cup 1st Round
Price: At £1.50 this is a pretty standard pricing strategy for your core pastry range (pies, bridies and sausage rolls) and well within the bounds of acceptability for a junior football match in Scotland.
Presentation: Keeping things simple this bridie was presented on a large white napkin. Double layered for your eating pleasure.
Meatiness: I have had a very mixed past with bridies. I’ve only actually ever reviewed two on the site (Pie 134: The Pollok Bridie & Pie 93: The Rossvale Bridie) but when it has come to competition judging at Scottish Baker of the Year and the World Scotch Pie Championships I am continually amazed at how far out of whack the meat to pastry ratios is in some of the bridie products made by butchers and bakers across the country. It can be quite a hard thing to balance given the prominent use of puff pastry in their construction but thankfully with this offering the ratios were pretty good. The filling was generous and moist. It did perhaps make it a little bit difficult to eat as you continued to break down the pastry walls surrounding it but the flavour was very good. Strong and meaty with a hint of onion flavour that added a little layer of sweetness to the overall bite. Most importantly the ratio was right, and for that I was incredibly grateful.
Pastry: The pastry was, as you would expect with puff, lovely and flaky but it’s golden colour and restraint in volume are what made it really stand out on this bridie. It was unusual to see a hole on top of the pastry but part of me wonders if this is what helped in preventing an over-abundance. The base was well baked too meaning that the pastry here was also holding up it’s end of the bargain.
Brown Sauce: Now, given that one of my main gripes with a bridie against a pie is that they can often be a little dry you would think I would be all about the condiments here but logistically they don’t really work. There is no place for the sauce to sit comfortably and no upper lip to catch the flow that occurs when you tip the pastry towards your mouth. With that in mind there is no sauce here.
Overall: Tasty filling and golden pastry on a bridie where the ratios were just about spot on made for an overall enjoyable eating experience.
Gravy Factor: Well balanced gravy.
So far the weather has held out as we head towards the 5 month extravaganza that is the Scottish winter time so we shall continue at pace on our journey of meat filled pastries. Next up will be a steak and gravy pie from St. Mirren Park as we jump on the road to France with the Scottish Women’s team as they take on the United States in a glamour friendly.
However until then, 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.
Hello and welcome to the first of three quick fire pastry reviews over the coming days. This time out a taster from my home town club Pollok FC where I shun the pie for a bridie, something, that I should admit to right now, as not being my favourite combination of meat and pastry. The reason for this rapid review process is that over the summer period I’m working towards a slight shift in what the content of this site will include.
Firstly, don’t panic, the pie reviews will still be forthcoming but as the new grounds become sparser I wanted to take this opportunity to branch out a little and morph the site into a kind of football & food hybrid. In the past I have written fairly regularly about Scottish football but as I hope my International Soccer Scran Series (Benfica & Club Portugalete) shows I’m keen to come at things with a new angle. With that in mind, this week I completed my first piece of non football food related writing in a long time with Russia 2018: 32 Reasons to Support Everyone! A Scottish supporter’s guide to ensuring that no matter who wins you too can claim a piece of that glory. It also features a player from today’s hosts so why not give it a read. For now though let’s get back to what brought you here in the first place.
Without much further ado, let’s rate some bridie!
Where: Pollok 6-0 Wishaw, Newlandsfield Park, Central League Cup 3rd Round
Price: £1.20, a few pence cheaper than the pie options at Newlandsfield, but given my lack of dinner at the time I would’ve paid twenty quid to prise the last hot food item available from the pastry seller’s cold, dead fingers.
Presentation: Simply presented on a medium-sized white napkin, perhaps something a little more substantial is required for a bridie, as in this instance the heat of the product mixed with the more porous nature of the bridie’s puff pastry meant that once I had finished eating my napkin, now adorned with a fine film of grease, it was no use for mopping my mouth.
Meatiness: Unlike the more commonly known Cornish Pasty south of the border it will very rarely contain any form of potato or vegetable however there can be some onion present dependent on the whim of the butcher or baker. In this instance there was an onion flavour with a few translucent slivers visible to the eye. The flavour was distinctly of bridie and most importantly, the filling stacked up well against the puff pastry casing. This sounds simple but even at World Championships the meat to pastry ratio can be bafflingly low, and so for that, this bridie should be commended.
Pastry: Puff as opposed to short crust is the normal pastry of choice for a bridie. This adds a lovely flaky texture to a pastry along with a slightly softer lining that caresses the meat within but it does invariably end up with you crop dusting the terrace around your feet. This bridie was no different. That said the pastry was absolutely fine even if a few small shards got caught between my teeth.
Brown Sauce: Logistically condiments on a bridie are a nightmare. Unlike a pie there is no pastry wall to contain the sauce so this bridie was had bareback although my inclination is that if you can be bothered with watching for those drips it’s an action that shouldn’t be frowned upon.
Overall: Ordered a Bridie. Tasted like a Bridie. Not quite as good as a pie.
Gravy Factor: If you want a bridie this ain’t a bad example to have.
Chris Marshall, is a BJTC accredited Radio Journalist with an honours degree in Communications & Mass Media from Glasgow Caledonian University. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ and part time Madrileno with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.
The worrying thing about the prospect of writing a book is that there is a lot of words involved. I’ve never really thought about it but since this little venture started with Pie 12: The Rob Roy Pie I reckon I’ve probably managed over 75,000 words dedicated to pie whilst championing football’s cause across all levels, mainly junior but with more than a nod to the senior and ladies game. There’s even a couple of pies from across the globe…well England but you get my point.
Along with all the peripheries that this journey has brought me that’s some achievement but it’s beginning to dawn on me that amalgamating all these tales of pastry themed whimsy is going to take all my accumulative nous not to end up with a soggy bottomed mess of pie all over the pages. The premise will be simple, it’ll be about pies and the journey of discovery that has taken me across the country whilst reflecting on some of the more bizarre things that have happened along the way. Will this be my pastry zenith? Only time will tell.
So without much further ado let’s rate some pie! I mean, bridie.
Where: Petershill Park, Rossvale 0-2 Pollok, Central League Cup 2nd Round
Price: £1.50. The same price as the previously reviewed scotch pie offering from the same venue, more than the single golden nuggets I’ve had to part with in previous weeks but still nothing to be sniffed at.
Presentation: It was one of those half and half paper and plastic bags which the bridie was wrapped into as tightly as possible. There was a small napkin dispenser at the counter but thanks to a bumper crowd there was but one dangling in the wind from it by the time I arrived twenty minutes in. When I started reviewing my pastries this kind of shortfall would annoy me but as I learned about the clubs and how they were run I understood the fine balance those at the very bottom of the game have to find between maximum profitability and the need to avoid a loss. Maybe ‘bigger’ clubs should be better at sharing knowledge in this respect rather than turning up and having a moan. Just a thought.
Meatiness: The reason I prefer a pie to most other pastry snacks is that the ratios usually always work to the benefit of carnivores everywhere with the pastry acting as supporting cast to the meaty main event. In a bridie the balance isn’t quite the same, I’ll come onto the pastry in a bit but it’s important at this juncture to highlight that to get to this bridie’s core you had to chomp through layer upon layer of pastry. Once there you were greeted with a well seasoned and moist oniony mince parcel, it was just rather small.
Pastry: As I have just highlighted there was an abundance of pastry to be had with this football snack. It was beautifully golden and flaked away well, it was consistent all the way round and had just a few layers of softer pastry underneath the initial crispness that eased you into a bite of meaty goodness further in. Due to a lack of pies, a number of my fellow fans had opted for a bridie and could be audibly heard singing the praises of this pastry surround.
Brown Sauce: Much like a pasty to add sauce to a bridie is an invitation for an ever flowing waterfall of brown sauce flavoured goodness ending on the floor around you with no obvious pool for it to lie in. No sauce here.
Overall: A tasty meat filled pastry, heavy on the pastry and perhaps a little light on the filling.
Gravy Factor: Sometimes I like to get a hunk of bread and sook up all the gravy with it. There just wasn’t enough gravy here this time.
Number 93 is in the books. Thanks to the wonders of modern-day Retail I currently have a Washing Machine scheduled to arrive at my flat sometime between 11-3 on a Saturday! I mean really!? Hopefully I can get that fixed and will be reviewing a luxury pie from Largs Thistle.
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. He has contributed to prominent football sites including Pie & Bovril, The Terrace Podcast, The Football Pink and The FBA’s as well as featuring in The Scotsman, STV and a number of other media outlets. A perennial ‘Scottish Sporting Optimist’ with a passion for food that has manifest itself in the wonder that is Meat Filled Pastries.