I was invited to check out a pie*, and I chose to try the one at the London Hotel in Balmain. There are a couple of pubs from Balmain in the challenge, and I wanted to support the locals (though, because there's a pub on almost every corner in Balmain, I'd be surprised if there were any fewer contestants). This pie excursion also gave the chance to test out some other dishes from the London's restaurant.
The London still has its original sandstone walls and internal woodwork, currently decked out in rugby World Cup finery.
The restaurant is away from the hubbub of the pub, and it has a steak focus, judging from the bovine artworks on the walls. Chef Steve is the creator of the contest pie.
While waiting for our lunch, chef Steve presented us with bruschetta. Fabulous warm bread topped with spicy tomato, onion and basil. Great for whetting the appetite.
The London's entry in the Coopers Pie'n Pale contest is a Ham Hock Pie. It's a rich pot of delicious pieces of smoky ham and leek, topped with creamy potato mash sprinkled with ham hock floss. The pastry is a lovely short pâte brisée. A great pie that goes really well with the wheaty Coopers Pale Ale (and a Wallabies win!).
We also ordered a main of lamb rump with sourdough gnocchi ($29). Tender pieces of meat with an unusual but excellent 'gnocchi' that are like little flavoursome patties.
You can see the other competitors in the Pie'n Pale promo here. There are some interesting pies that have been created and the London Hotel's is a fine example. There's also an app you can download that tells you where the nearest pub is for that fix of pie and ale. Most of them are concentrated around the inner city.
*Many thanks to the London Hotel and Frank PR for the pie and ale.
The London Hotel is at 234 Darling Street, Balmain, NSW
ph: 02 9555-1377