What’s more aussie than a meat pie with sauce? Well, lots of things, probably, given meat pies were certainly not invented here, and are currently eaten across the entire western world. But I digress.
There is something about a meat pie (individual sized, not the big shared ones), with tomato sauce on top, eaten standing up, outside, preferably at some sportsball event, that seems to be pretty standardly Aussie.
So what’s a vegan to do? Make your own? No, everyone knows the point of the meat pie is convenient, no-effort eating. Go without? Bring your vegies and dip and die of the shame of unAustralianism? (oh noes!)
Nope. Here in Melbourne, we’ve got all your pie needs covered. I’ve tried them all (I think), and will describe them in detail so you can pick your perfect pie.
La Panella 465 High St Preston
La Panella is a bakery in Preston. They are vegetarian business, selling breads, cakes, donuts, pastries and, of course, pies and sausage rolls. You could easily mistake them for an omni bakery if you weren’t in the know.
Their pies are the square, shortcrust pastry type you ate when you were a kid. The filling is thin, with mice-like lumps, even the ocassional piece of creepy faux-gristle. The gravy tastes exactly as I remember commercial meat pies tasting. They are fantastically realistic, very tasty, and sure to satisfy your craving for any of the commercial meat-pie varieties from your pre-veg days. They sell their pies hot or cold (for storage at home to meet unexpected pie needs), and at around $2 each, they’re a steal.
Mr loves these pies. I like them. I like the flavour of the gravy, and the pastry is fab, but meat pies were the very first food I gave up (when I was 12), and the realistic texture puts me off. Great if you want the real deal, good for serving to omnis, and a fabbo cheap treat on market day.
As a bonus, they also sell seriously awsome vegan sausage rolls, and vegan iced donuts.
Organarchy RMIT food court, Swanson St.
Organarchy are the vegan food co-op of RMIT. As such they are only open at lunch times, during uni semesters, Monday to Friday.
They serve pies of all flavours – curry, gado gado, shepherds pie, mushroom and tofu, the list goes on – all with wholegrain pastry (i think), and sauce or chutney optional. These pies are wholesome, warm and filling, although the intensity of flavour depends on your chice of pie – I find the some are great (like the curry), but some can leave a little to be desired (tofu and mushroom was a little bland).
These pies make a great workday lunch for city office dwellers.
Funky Pies Available from your Radical Grocery Store, 347 Sydney road, Brunswick
These vegan pies originate from Bondi, but sold in various locations around Melbourne. There are a few flavours, however I have only tried the No Wurry Curry and the Funky Chunky varieties. The pastry was lovely, flaky and buttery (hooray!), and the fillings were flavouesome. The No Wurry Curry felt wholesome and was tasty, although a little lacking in salt for us salt addicted folk. The Chunky was great, and I liked the realistic flavour with the obviously vegan texture.
Sure, I know I said you can’t make a pie yourself, as it would defeat the purpose, but well, you could try. I’m a bad maker of pies, but I do go in for a cheap and nasty home made sausage roll every now and then. I just thaw out some puff pastry, wrap it around a vegan sausage, glaze it with olive oil, soy milk and sesame seeds, and pop it in the oven. Tada! sausage rolls! My nan will be very ashamed
And the winner is….
Well, it depends on what you’re after. For a real deal meat pie n sauce, La Panella is your best bet. For the best sausage roll in town, again, La Panella rules. For a wholesome hit, you’d best get down to Organarchy. And for a flaky pastry without an extra trip, put a Funky Pie in your shopping basket at the Radical Grocery.