"I love a pie," says chef Matt Wilkinson, in a statement that will be surprising to few who follow Pope Joan's Yorkshire chef. In fact, news that Wilkinson has turned Hams and Bacon, the provedore attached to his Nicholson Street cafe, into a pie shop with chef Steven Rogers at the helm rings not only smart, but inevitable.
In January, Wilkinson bought out long-term business partner Ben Foster, closed the store and brought in Rogers, who he has known back to Circa days, to create a series of sweet and savoury pies to-go.
It's not the full British entity you might expect. The pastry will be a lardless buttery rough puff or shortcrust. The savoury fillings include a chunky Warialda beef pie (the Allen), a curried turkey pie (the Darrell), but then also the "Shazza", a caramelised onion and cauliflower cheese number and a so-weird-it's-probably-great "Bruce": pork-based spag bolognese, spaghetti included, crowned with a lid of cheese.
There will be six dessert pies but only two on at a time. Fruit-based pies include strawberry and balsamic or pear crumble. The creamy tarts might be a Rooftop honey and buttermilk number and malted dulce de leche.
For now, the pies will all be to-go, but if the liquor licence comes in, the plan is to do pies and beers at night. Size-wise, most will be built for hand-held consumption but there will be family-size to take home.
The Pie Shop opens Tuesday, May 23, at 77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East. Open Mon-Sat, 11am-3pm.