Ever one to consider life’s hard-hitting issues, Stirling asks the eternal question: what’s better than a pork pie…?
The Cleveland Arms used to serve the finest pork pie I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve had a few, ranging from motorway service station tat in moments of desperation, augmented hybrids with bacon, pickle or cheese through to solid, hearty home-grown beasts that would keep the paras going for a week. Alas, it went with the last chef. I was sad. A tear was shed into my pint of (utterly delicious) Toasted Lager.
Another evening at the Arms, of course. I glance over and spy the cloche of former pork pie fame. There’s something new in it. “Tony, what do you have in there?” Tony, bar manager and all-round lovely chap, says nothing. He simply walks purposely to the glass dome, lifts it and gives me a look. That look says “These are the best f*cking sausage rolls in London”. I’m not sure, it is only a sausage roll, after all. I have one anyway.
Well, I never. I have a friend who holds the best soirées and cooks an epic spread including a phenomenal, giant sausage roll. It’s always the first to go from the table, and everything on the table is fabulous. I thought she’d hold the crown forever. Enter the usurper. The Kingslayer. Nay, the pie slayer. The new King of pastry wrapped party meat.
It’s an evolution of porky goodness – scratch below the masterpiece of the pork pie and you’ll find (I surprise myself for writing this) the superior sausage roll. The flaw in the old pork pie was it was – sharp intake of breath – ‘brought in’. The very idea! The new sausage roll is 100 % made in-house by chef Louis. Or I should say ‘Meat Master’ Louis.
Moist pastry, flaky on the outside. Juicy, tender meat within, served at room temperature – which brings out all the character. There’s something sweet in there too. Maybe some apple. Maybe the tears of angels. It turns out to be slow-cooked, caramelised onions.
One slice with a pint after a hard afternoon of work is a tonic. Don’t deprive yourself any longer. Head immediately to The Cleveland Arms and behold the majesty therein.
To get your pork on, and a little more besides, click the link to The Cleveland Arms.