Monday, May 18, 2009

Wakamarinian Bakery (again)

Havelock, Marlborough.

left to right: Spiced Plum Steak, (parents' friend's pear & ginger chutney) Miner's.

$4.00 each

I wondered whether I should include the same bakery twice but I feel justified on two counts. Firstly, the initial tasting revealed too much salt. I suspected that this may have been due to human rather than recipe error so a second test was in order. Happily, my suspicions were proved correct. Secondly, if a bakery is this good it deserves as much praise as I can give it.
This second tasting session was sublime. The Spiced Plum Steak pie now takes the Badcliffe's Supreme Champion Pie of New Zealand crown. I would be most surprised if this accolade is snatched from it but, rest assured, I will keep an open mind and continue my testing without prejudice. The plums added a delicious fruity foil for the steak and every aspect of the pie was without fault; cripsy crust, gooey gravy, lots of meat. The Miner's pie was also top drawer but a very different breed. It comprised steak and veg in gravy, with a layer of creamy mashed potato beneath the pastry top. The kind of pie which goes superbly with HP Sauce and stays true to the roots of the pie as a practical, filling snack for the masses. Also, it receives bonus points for the fact that it still has a top crust where many mashed potato-topped pies would lazily do away with the uppermost pastry layer.
The bakery itself deserves a mention as it is a homely place with cafe tables serving excellent coffee as well as the expected vast range of baked wondrousness. It is housed in one half of a small building, the other half of which is an estate agency, or realty agency as it's called here. The bakery doesn't go in for big, brash hoardings and signs outside - in contrast to its neighbour - and, consequently, is easy to miss unless you know it's there. However, it's thriving due to good, old-fashioned word of mouth advertising and the fact that many other less successful local bakeries buy their pies for resale at a mark-up. They have often run out of pies by lunchtime despite regular bake runs and the staff and owners are delightful, obviously taking pleasure from being the best at what they do. Don't think that they're complacent or big-headed though. I heartily commended the owner on his pies being the best I'd eaten, and in true Kiwi bloke fashion he smiled and muttered "Oh, I don't know about that..." while waving away the compliment. Modest to the last. True royalty of the baking world.

Irvine's Pie Time


Steak & Cheese.


Hmmm, where to begin? With the price, I suppose. I ignored the alarm bells in my head and bought it in the name of comprehensive research. What a fool I was. The pastry? Limp and rubbery. The filling? Oh dear God! What knavery is this? The 'steak' chunks were so meanly cut it may as well have been mince. And just look at the cheese. It is simply NOT acceptable to plonk a disc of Dairylea-esque gloop in there and hope no-one will notice. Those charlatans at Irvine's have a lot of explaining to do. I think I might write them a letter...

Doh Boys Bake Shack

Whakatane, Bay of Plenty.

Cheese & Mince.


Rapidly attaining a glowing reputation for their wares as well as their fantastic name, Doh Boys are a cut above any nearby competitors. Indeed, a cut above 80% of all the pies I have researched. I wish the photo was better but I was in such a hurry to continue stuffing it into my face that I didn't bother checking the resolution. Their pastry isn't as short or as flaky as would be ideal but it holds the gravy inside all the better for it. Also, it is run by a scowling Lancashire woman, as every pie shop should be.

New World Whakatane

Whakatane, Bay of Plenty.

Pepper Steak.


New World is, I suppose, a rough equivalent of Sainsbury's. They are towards the upper end of the supermarket scale. I was intrigued and amused that the pie came in a metal takeaway tray. The price should have put me off but it didn't. The taste, however, did.

Ruatoria Pies

from Ohope FourSquare, Ohope, Bay of Plenty.

Ruatoria Pies' Mince & Cheese.


Another chain pie from a shop the equivalent of the Co-op but of a reliably high standard. Crisp pastry, juicy filling with plenty cheese. I've had a few Ruatoria pies now and they are always good. Their Steak & Mushroom also comes with hearty commendations as does the Bacon & Mushroom in a creamy sauce.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Village Bakery

Kopeopeo, Whakatane.

Steak & Cheese.


A welcome return to my favourite filling. Come to papa. It had an ever-so-slightly odd taste which, after several more, I now think is a small amount of garlic but still could be MSG. The jury remains undecided on this one but their Steak & Mushroom tastes superb.

Golden Crust Bakery

Whakatane, Bay of Plenty.

Bacon & Egg.


It was breakfast time. I thought Bacon & Egg would be a good filling. It wasn't. Not that it was bad per se but wot no gravy?! The egg was dry and cloying. Lesson learned.