Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coopers and Pie at the London, Balmain

 October is a great food month in Sydney because it's time for the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. There's no shortage of food events, and one of the more accessible ones is the Coopers Pie'n Pale challenge. Imagine 26 pubs vying for the title of 'pub with the Best Pie', where you can get a specially created pie plus a glass of Coopers Pale Ale for $20.

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

London Hotel on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh my lord, is this ever a meal to be reckoned with. I would have had to break out some elastic waistbands!

  2. That looks like an amazing pie! Ham hock floss - a definite twist on Asian pork floss which I'm used to seeing.

  3. the pie looks AMAZING!!!!!!

    looks like i know where im heading next!

  4. I've been meaning to do the Crave pie thing-o for years - I must have a pie or two this year!

  5. Drooling over that ham hock floss!! Damn SIFF during my wedding diet lol

  6. That pie looks outstanding! So jealous - Definitely adding the Pie Challenge to my to-do list!

  7. I love Coopers. I also love the look of that perfect pie!

  8. Wow Bel, what a great looking pie...beautiful! What a great meal you have here :-)
    Hope you are having a great week and thanks for sharing this fantastic pie!

  9. oooh yum this ham hock pie is making me grin!

  10. I want some sourdough gnocchi!!!
    The pie looks salivating.