Eat pie and be merry! Restaurant review: Pieminister – St. Mary Street, Cardiff

There’s something about a good, hot pie that just makes everything feel better, even on the coldest of winter evenings. 

Last weekend, I popped down to Pieminister on St. Mary Street, Cardiff to sample the restaurant’s new Christmas range. This popular pie restaurant opened last year and although I hadn’t got round to visiting it yet, I’d heard nothing but good things about it.

Pieminister was originally founded in Bristol in 2003 by friends Jon and Tristan, who decided to open a pie shop after spending time travelling Australia together, tasting delicious pies along the way. The pair have always placed a high value on animal welfare and Pieminister currently holds three Good Farm Animal Welfare awards from Compassion in World Farming.

When we arrived at Pieminister last Saturday evening, the restaurant was full – it was lucky we’d booked a table in advance! The decor was somewhat eclectic, with a touch of shabby chic. Some walls were painted matte black, whereas others were red-bricked or covered in worn wooden planks. Bold, black shelves were adorned with bell jars containing lights and retro memorabilia like a tub of Smash instant mashed potato, a tin of mushy peas and a vintage ornament of Fred, the Homepride flour man. Meanwhile, the walls of the downstairs seating area were covered in ship potholes.

Interior of Pieminister

We were escorted to a table for two in the centre of the restaurant and offered drinks. Pieminister boasts a rather lavish cocktail menu and serves a variety of quality beers, ales, wines and spirits, but we didn’t feel like drinking so I opted for a classic Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade, while my guest ordered an Orchard Pig Ginger and Chilli juice (£2.50 each).

Fentiman's Rose Lemonade
Orchard Pic Ginger and Chilli Juice

To start, we shared some home-roasted mixed nuts (£3.00) and free range pork scratchings with apple sauce (£3.50), served together on a wooden plank.

Starters of mixed, smoked nuts and pork crackling
Consisting of brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts and cashews, the mixed nuts were covered in a tasty, smoky seasoning. The portion was just the right size for two people to share. 

Pieminister's home-roasted mixed nuts
Meanwhile, the pork scratchings were crisp and crunchy and although they could have done with a touch more seasoning, they tasted great paired with the apple sauce. To my delight, the apple sauce more closely resembled a spicy apple chutney; I thought this complimented the Christmas theme of the menu rather well, but I don’t think it was intentionally done as the pork scratchings weren’t a new addition to Pieminister’s menu.

Pieminister Pork Scratchings

The new Christmas pie range includes four seasonal specials, each priced at £5.20: parsnip, cheddar and chestnut pie, venison, bacon, red wine and lentil pie, steak and Stilton pie with port, chestnut and bacon and, new for this year, a free range British turkey, bacon and parsnip pie topped with bread sauce and cranberries (from the open-top pie range). Each pie is served with a choice of cranberry and port gravy, or cranberry sauce.

If you don’t fancy pie, you can opt for a slow-cooked festive hot-pot stuffed with turkey, bacon, parsnip and cranberry and topped with crispy potato – although, Pieminister probably isn’t the best place to go if you don’t want pie – for obvious reasons!

I was drawn to the Mistle Moo pie, filled with British beef steak, Long Clawson Stilton, chestnut, bacon and port (£5.20), served with cranberry and port gravy. To go with my pie I ordered a side of macaroni cheese (£3.50), affectionately served in an enamel pie dish. 

Mistle Moo pie with gravy and macaroni cheese at Pieminister

The pie was generously filled with a subtle port and Stilton flavouring and deliciously soft, flaky pastry. However, I was a little disappointed at the size of the pieces of steak; I had expected to find tender, meaty chunks but they were more like small morsels.

The macaroni cheese was traditional and comforting, with a thick cheesy coating and a creamy centre. It tasted as though it contained a few different varieties of cheese. 

Mistle Moo pie, cut in half to expose filling

My guest wasn’t really drawn to any of the festive pies, opting instead for the Beer and Deer pie, filled with wild British venison, smoked bacon, kidney bean, scotch bonnet chilli and BrewDog Dead Pony club ale (£5.20), served with onion and red wine gravy. For his side dish he ordered sweet potato fries, which had a crispy coating and a light, fluffy centre, with plenty of seasoning.

FullSizeRender (2)

I tasted some of this pie and it was pretty spicy due to the scotch bonnet pepper; being a lover of spicy food, this didn’t bother me in the slightest, but if you tend to stick to milder foods then the chances are that this pie will make your mouth feel like it’s on fire!

Beer and Deer pie, cut open

After polishing off our starters and our main courses we were feeling fit to burst, so we decided to give dessert a miss. However, I must admit I was very tempted by the sound of the warm brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce (£4) – oh well, I guess this gives me the perfect excuse to visit Pieminister again!

We both had a lovely evening at Pieminister and wouldn’t hesitate to return for a second helping. The food was very enjoyable and the service was relatively quick and friendly, especially for a busy Saturday evening. However, although the pies are reasonably priced, the food bill certainly adds up when you factor in the price of starters, sides, desserts and drinks. So if you are going to treat yourself to all three courses, make sure you take advantage of the Christmas Menu offer for just £20 per person.

If you don’t have time to get to Pieminister this side of Christmas, pop down to Waitrose where you can find the entire festive pie range, as well as a core range of five classic pies, on offer for two for £6 up until 29th December 2015.

Pieminister
35 St. Mary Street
Cardiff
CF10 1AD
(029) 2000 4155
www.pieminister.co.uk/restaurants/cardiff


I was invited to Pieminister as a guest and our food and drinks were provided complimentary; however, I was not obliged to write a positive review.

47 Comments

  1. January 29, 2016 / 4:02 pm

    I went to Cardiff last summer for my friends birthday and we went to this exact pieminister and it was amazing. I loved the mac and cheese side, it was so yummy. Glad you enjoyed your trip x

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:30 pm

      Aww, I’m glad you had a good time here Rhian! 🙂

  2. January 29, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    I love pies! I bought a pie machine a couple of months ago and I have since been trying lots of different fillings. I would love to go to Pieminister for some inspiration. Great review

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:29 pm

      Sounds interesting, I didn’t know there was such a thing as a pie machine! Bet that’s a handy thing to have.

  3. January 29, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    Looks lovely there! I love those enamel dishes and I’ve tried the Rose Lemonade before, I love it!

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:28 pm

      I thought the dishes were cute too 🙂 I love Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade, such a treat!

  4. January 29, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    The slow-cooked festive hot-pot sounds absolutely delicious. I love that it is stuffed with turkey, bacon, parsnip and cranberry and topped with yummy crispy potato 🙂

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:33 pm

      Thank you Claire! I really enjoyed it.

  5. January 29, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    I often visit my friend who lives in Cardiff. I may have to recommend visiting this place!

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:28 pm

      Definitely! It’s a pretty inexpensive, yet decent place to go for food in Cardiff, especially when it’s cold outside!

  6. January 29, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    Oh my word, those pork scratchings look amazing! Definitely worth a visit, although I’ve just had a look and there aren’t any near me – I’m so jealous!

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:27 pm

      Aww, that’s a shame Emma. Fingers crossed they might open near you soon!

  7. January 29, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    Oh my goodness this looks like such a lovely place to eat – the other half would adore the pork scratchings! x

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:27 pm

      Thanks Sarah. I loved the pork scratchings although they were pretty hard. Don’t think it did my teeth any favours but it was just so tasty! 🙂

  8. January 29, 2016 / 10:44 pm

    This all looks so tasty, I’d love to visit, but unfortunately in this case, I live in the North East. So glad you enjoyed it.

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:26 pm

      Ooh, well I think Pieminister is a chain so you never know, maybe they will open up near you 🙂

  9. January 29, 2016 / 11:18 pm

    I love a good pie with some mash and gravy ooh what a delicious combo. Pieminister looks like a great place to eat!

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:26 pm

      Thanks Ana, me too! Perfect comfort food 🙂

  10. January 29, 2016 / 11:38 pm

    Ooh yum, this food looks so delicious, total winter comfort food! xxx

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      Definitely; it really is just the thing for a cold winter’s evening!

  11. emma white
    January 30, 2016 / 12:06 am

    oh wow that pie looks amazing your making me hungry

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      Thanks Emma, it tasted amazing too 😀

  12. January 30, 2016 / 3:29 am

    This looks like really tasty food and a lovely place to eat out. I’ve not been to wales and It’s one place I really want to visit in the future. Angela at Daysinbed

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      Thanks Angela, the pies were delicious! Cardiff is a great place to visit 😀

  13. January 30, 2016 / 9:16 am

    Sounds like a great place for lovers of pie! Those sweet potato fries sound amazing too, and I like that they have good non-alcoholic drinks on offer.

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Me too, we didn’t feel like drinking so it was lovely to have such a range of non-alcoholic options to choose from. I love that Rose Lemonade 🙂

  14. January 30, 2016 / 1:41 pm

    I absolutely love Pieminster pies, they are just so tasty x

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:32 pm

      Me too! I’ve never tried one bought from a shop yet.

  15. January 30, 2016 / 5:42 pm

    That pie looks delicious! All your Cardiff restaurant posts make me want to come and visit just to eat all the food!

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:24 pm

      Aww, well if you ever come down then let me know and we can go for a coffee 🙂 It is a lovely city, we’re lucky to have so many restaurants but there’s a lot to do here too!

    • January 30, 2016 / 6:23 pm

      Thank you 🙂 It makes me hungry just thinking about it.

  16. January 30, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    I must honestly say these pies don’t appeal to me. However, the decor seems great and I’d love to taste those interestng drinks.

    • January 31, 2016 / 9:24 pm

      Each to their own 🙂 More for me 😉

  17. January 31, 2016 / 6:13 pm

    This place looks amazing! The food looks so delicious

  18. January 31, 2016 / 8:35 pm

    What a fab review that food looks so tasty!

    • January 31, 2016 / 9:20 pm

      Thanks Zoe, I would love some more right now 🙂

  19. January 31, 2016 / 9:43 pm

    I absolutely love pie and the food here looks absolutely delicious!! Thanks for sharing x

  20. January 31, 2016 / 10:06 pm

    The rose lemonade sounds delicious! The pie looks scrummy too! X

    • January 31, 2016 / 10:40 pm

      Thanks Charlott, it was really good 🙂

  21. January 31, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    I do love Pieminister, I didn’t manage to get there to try their Christmas range last year but from the looks of the Mistle Moo I’ll definitely be heading there to try it this year 🙂 xx

  22. January 31, 2016 / 11:57 pm

    Pork scratchings??! Wow! That looks so delicious. I love me some hot pie, too and this place looks like ‘the place’. Love the ambience as well.

    • February 19, 2016 / 6:56 pm

      Thanks Donah! I enjoyed the pork scratchings too 😀

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