PIE & COMICS IN WINCHESTER
Many comic book fans and pie lovers have already made the pilgrimage to check out Piecaramba! in Winchester – a contemporary pie and mash emporium brought to you by Rob Litchfield, formerly of Pie & Vinyl.
Tucked away just a minute from the high street down Parchment Street, it opened in mid-October and offers a nice little escape from everyday life. I popped along to see how things were going.
The décor is really fresh – eclectic and modern with a heavy dose of pop culture. There are graphic novels dotted around the place for you to read while you’re waiting for your pie, or you can play a game of Top Trumps – there’s a pack on every table. It’s a great introduction to reading comics and for those with more knowledge, there are back issues to purchase too. With a growing comic scene in Winchester, Rob and the team are hoping to stock imported comics at some point down the line.
But it’s really about the food. You can have the pie on its own, but you would be depriving yourself of an experience. Make it a Pie Meal with chilli minted mushy peas, creamy mash and gravy or liquor. Or slather that bad boy in crispy shallots and West Country cheddar and you’ve upgraded to a Pie & Mighty Meal. I didn’t dare go further (“would you like a side of pie with your pie, madam?”) but some gluttons tower up by adding an extra pie.
The Picaramba team are shaking things up in the pie world, bringing England’s traditional dish up to date and making it more accessible (and thankfully there’s not a jellied eel in sight). There are ten gluten free pies on the menu, three vegetarian pies and four vegan ones, plus vegan mash.
We both opted for vegan pies, in fact. Not that we’re vegan, but because we were intrigued by the fabulous flavour combinations. And we weren’t disappointed.
Special mention must go to The Porky Pie, it was just incredible. Barbecue-style pulled jackfruit, with garlic, onions and paprika. Sweet, smoky and ‘meaty’, I really struggled to comprehend that I was eating fruit and not pulled pork.
Pinterest declared jackfruit as a meat substitute as one of their foodie predictions for 2017; Picaramba is way ahead of you, son.
But meat fans needn’t despair – there are plenty of beef, chicken, pork, partridge, pheasant and venison pie fillings to keep you satisfied. And for the purists, classics like minced beef & onion and steak & ale pie sit comfortably alongside the ‘new-fangled’ options.
But best of all, it offers great value, top quality eats – bridging the gap between nasty fast food joints and the likes of Rick Stein and the Black Rat. It’s casual dining at its best. You’ll be able to see Picaramba out and about too – expect them to pop up at this year’s Comic Con plus food and music festivals across the country – and I don’t think it’ll be long before more branches pop up too.
So before I left, I had to ask: “What’s your favourite pie and comic”? Rob says he loves the PIECARAMBA! pie – a flavoursome chilli beef burrito pie – and is a big fan of Batman and DC, having read comics since he was a child.
So whether you agree with Pie Master Rob or you’re a vegan Marvel fan, here you can leave the world at the door and indulge in a bit of what you fancy.
The Pie Full Tower – two pies of your choice served up with creamy mash, chilli minted mushy peas and topped off with West Country cheddar and crispy shallots.