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The Catering Review: Piebury Corner

Continuing our series on where to eat before an Arsenal match…

A short walk south from Holloway Road underground station (i.e towards Highbury & Islington) you will find a smart fronted pie shop selling some of the finest pies for miles around.

Run by Paul and Nicky Campbell Piebury Corner is an unashamedly Arsenal inspired enterprise that grew out of a food stall in the couple’s front garden on the corner of Gillespie Road and Avenell Road, a stone’s throw from the Emirates (and the old Highbury ground).

Piebury Corner took over what was once an old London pie’n’mash shop (of which there are too few remaining, one in Greenwich springs to mind) and have turned it into something smart, urban and happening.

Open Tuesday to Sunday (unless The Arsenal have a home game) till 9* Piebury Corner sells, well yes you guessed it…pies. Delicious hot and tasty pies (with no hint of Sweeney Todd anywhere!)

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I arrived at about 5.30 ahead of Arsenal’s champions league encounter with Galatasaray. Paul was already sat outside spinning disks on a turntable (mostly ska covers, he even does requests!) and a small crowd of diners had gathered.

[An intercept by Tony; just to be completely clear – the owner sits at an old 45rpm record player, lifting up the stylus and placing it carefully on the record.   There is no disco equipment, no CDs, none of that stuff.  This is how it used to be.  Brilliant.]

Piebury had an event on last night, a book signing by @wengerknowsbest which added to the vibe.

There isn’t much space to sit inside or out so best get there early; there are tables outside (made from  old football turnstiles – nice) and inside there are a few more. I think one day they might have to think about expanding because on the evidence of football nights this is a busy little eatery.

All the pies are named for Arsenal players, I think the most popular is the Tony Adams (Steak and Ale) and they cost about £4.50 each. I went for a Thierry Henry (venison and red wine) and ordered roast potatoes and minted peas. And gravy. Do they do liquer? Not sure but the gravy was good. I paid £9.50

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It was an excellent pie and my fellow diner Tony had a freebie: -a ‘wengerknowsbest’ (chicken, broccoli and stilton) and a glass of wine. I was drinking a local bottled beer, from Islington and they have an impressive array of craft beers and lagers although it’s a shame one has to sip them from a plastic cup (but I guess that’s maybe just for football nights).

Do check out Piebury Corner (even if you’re not an Arsenal fan**) you won’t be disappointed. It’s a great venue for meeting up with mates, enjoying a cool beer and a hot pie before a night out or a game. So thanks again to Paul for being such a hospitable host and in case you wondered, I’m the one that insisted you play 54-46 that’s my number by Toots and the Maytals. Tune 🙂

Barnacles

* Sundays only open 12-6

** if you support Sp*rs I’d recommended you keep it quiet though J

9 comments to The Catering Review: Piebury Corner

  • Gord

    As this is about pies, I’ll start there. It isn’t unusual for a Canadian like myself to subsist on meat and potatoes. Few of us have had savoury pies, out here (western Canada) most pies are filled with fruit and are sweet. But, all of the pies you mentioned, seem to have a beer or wine component. Which I hadn’t run across before. I have a long history of experimenting in the kitchen, so if someone wanted to expand on pies, that would be okay with me (possibly not with Tony).

    In another peripheral thread on Untold, someone talked about “a high street”, indicating to me that this is a class of street types. These are raised streets? Why were they raised?

    As a contribution on my part, I suppose most people are familiar with an Italian dessert called Tiramisu? I had heard stories about them long before making one for the first time. The thing most people seemed to get disappointed with, was incorrect texture in the Savoiardi (sp?) cookies. Either crunchy from insufficient coffee, or mush from too much. I found the way to get better control was to put the coffee/liquer combination in an aspirator, and spray the cookies.

  • WalterBroeckx

    On one of my visits to Arsenal last season I was meeting Andrew who showed me around the underground and could tell me lots of interesting things about it.
    He took me and Marcel who will be around again when we visit on November 1st to see us play Burnley to the Piebury Corner.

    It was my first real English pie and I must say it was very tasty and I sure like it a lot. Thanks again Andrew for taking us there.

    For those who don’t like beer or wine in their pie I can say that they also have pies without it (the one I took but can’t remember the name to be honest).
    I sure wouldn’t mind visiting it again.

    But on the other hand I hope that Tony and Drew will meet up before the match and I expect them to show me a decent place to have something to eat before the match. No pressure, guys 😉

    One thing it was small with no tables available but on football days we are not that difficult when it comes to eating something

  • nicky

    @Gord,
    I may be alone in this view but the essence of a good pie is not the contents but the pastry. Many a time I have discarded ropey gristle and fat loaded suspicious meat for the delicious pastry, gravy, veg and potatoes
    (roast or mashed).

  • Gord

    I ran across an Irish recipe

    http://edible-ireland.com/2011/10/27/beef-beer-and-blue-cheese-pot-pies/

    which could probably be made more English (Stilton for the cheese, some English ale).

    But, in reading the recipe I got caught up on:

    > 2 sheets ready-rolled puff pastry

    which sort of follows what you are saying Nicky. But, to me, puff pastry is phyllo dough, where one gets something like 25 sheets to a pound. And 1 sheet of phyllo is not going to make a crust or cover for all that liquid in this pie. I would probably try something like 12 sheets for the crust and 8 for the cover. I am also partial to using a good olive oil when brushing the sheets, instead of melted butter (or ghee).

    But, one of the comments to that page, talks about a Fahrenheit/Celsius error. All muscle has within it, the enzymes required to tenderize the meat (for eating). The body normally uses them to repair muscle tears and break up scar tissue, cooks use them for tenderizing. The trick is to not use too high a temperature, and break down those enzymes. Bagging the meat, flour and juice, evacuating the air from the bag and sealing it, and cooking it sous vide for say 8 hours at 134 F (I am running from memory here, but I think the optimum beef sous vide temperature is about that) would probably break down most gristle. I would cut away most of the fat on the meat before hand. The I would recombine with the vegetables and put in the pastry for finishing in the oven. But that makes the recipe into a 2 day thing.

    And I would think about sprinkling fennel seeds (anise seeds, same thing) in between the layers of pastry, to give a hint of licorice to the pastry.

  • Gord

    Time to go to sleep. More additions for Nicky, and others.

    A whole wheat puff pastry dough?

    http://my123favourites.blogspot.ca/2014/07/quick-whole-wheat-flour-puff-pastry.html

    Beef brisket as the cut of beef.

    http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/meats/beef/best-value-steak-cuts.asp

    Two day recipe.

    —-

    I hope I wake up enough before game time to read the pre game news. But, I am hoping for the best.

    COYG!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    @Gord,
    I made reference to the term ‘High Street’ in my piece following the U19s v Galatasaray. It means the principal road running through the centre of a village, town or community which has the main shops, Restuarants, banks etc. they are frequently called High Street but not always. I don’t know if there are equivalent terms in other countries.

  • Gord

    @Andrew

    My guess is that over here it might be called Main Street, but there are lots of towns which don’t have a Main Street.

    —-

    Anyway, if some Arsenal friendly pie shop decides to try my idea, and it works, I was thinking about names last night. As we are using the enzymes in the meat to break it down, it is very much like the player who is injured a lot. Perhaps a person would have to make it without the ale (apple juice instead?), but I think naming it after Abou Diaby might be nice.

  • @swales1968

    Popped into Piebury Corner before the Spurs game with a very good friend, we both had a ‘Tony Adams’ with potatoes (one with mushy peas). The pies looked a good size, enough potatoes to satisfy and a good portion of peas for my friend. We were however slightly taken aback at the price, we didn’t have a drink and the bill came to just under £18. The pies were nice but I think slightly over priced for what they are, I suppose the question is would I recommend a pie at Piebury before the game?
    I’m not sure I would from a value for money pie but I would if you don’t mind paying for a nice pie. It was tasty and had good chunks of meat but I think I will stick to a bag of chips next time.