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The upper crust: Where to get sublime pies across SA

When the temperature drops and the winter woollies come out, there’s nothing better than a warm, comforting and familiar pot pie. A piping-hot filling of roast chicken, peppery steak or even a rich duck with cherry gravy, encased in golden, flaky and buttery pastry, doused in gravy, and served with a portion of fluffy mash or hot chips, here’s our pick of where to find the best pies across the country.

Johannesburg

Gwefey Tea House (Sandton)

These Cantonese barbecue chicken pies are worth the trip to Sandton City shopping centre. This pastry is more buttery, flaky and thin than that of western pies, and comes wrapped around a fat cigar-shaped wodge of chicken char siu with wonderfully honeyed five-spice sauce. The pies are served warm, golden and fragrant, as a kind of tapas dish.

Home Made Delights (Fordsburg)

This bakery shop with fridges and counters staggered around is mostly for people who are taking platters home, but you can buy just one pie if you like. If you do, make it the spiced steak one, with richly scented, curried gravy threatening to break free from the perfectly puffed pie top. You could also sit in the enclosed glass patio section at a table and gobble it while it’s still hot.

Lucky Bean (Melville)

The springbok pie is popular with Lucky Bean locals. Owner Conway Falconer wanted to serve a pie at his restaurant because as a kid he used to have one with his mum at the Joburg station when they ‘came to town’. I suspect this one is a lot better. It’s extraordinarily rich and juicy, with venison slow cooked in port. It has a buttery crust but no lid, and comes accompanied by a wobbly little rooibos jelly, caramelised baby onions and mash.

The pie at Lucky Bean. Photo supplied.

The pie at Lucky Bean. Photo supplied.

Maggie’s Farm (Lanseria)

This spot is known as ‘home of the chicken pie’ for good reason. From the farm shop emerge these fresh, hot and homemade pies made with farm ingredients. Here they believe in generosity, stuffing as much filling as possible into the perfect traditional crust. The pies can be bought individually or in family sizes. There are four kinds of chicken pie, and steak and kidney, mince, and spinach and feta. Relax and enjoy it with a choice of accompaniments at the benches and tables in the sun.

Moemas (Parktown North)

Chef Danielle Postma’s pork-and-sage pies are heavenly, with light and luscious flakes of pastry. The pork filling is just right, fragrant with herbs and moist caramelised onion. The variety of pies and sausage rolls changes often. Order your pick and savour it slowly in the sunny, stripy restaurant room.

Pretoria

Afro-boer (Die Wilgers)

Winter is the perfect time to try the Porky Pot Pie of slow-cooked pork leg with sage, brandy and sour cherries, loaded into a potjie, topped with a flaky pastry lid, and served with winter vegetable mash and glazed apples. On the take-home side, do try one of the traditional venison pies, made with venison (from the owner’s family farm in the Free State) marinated in buttermilk and garlic, and cooked until the meat falls off the bone. It’s then wrapped in sour-cream pastry and served warm with marula jelly. If you’re after something more unusual, order the Jaffle Braai Paai, made with pepper steak filling and flaky pastry, and cooked in a jaffle pan over the fire. They’ve also developed a pudding pie: Pumpkin pie with a roast cashew and cinnamon crust and topped with marshmallows, heated until gently melting, and drizzled with toffee sauce. Wash it all down with hot mulled cider or homemade spiced hot wine.

Black Bamboo (Menlyn)

Chef Pellie Grobler understands how to turn something as rustic as the humble pie into a fine-dining delight. The ‘chicken pie’ they serve here is first lined with blanched spinach, followed by layers of prosciutto, pistachio, shredded roast chicken and pickled baby vegetables, after which the entire bundle is wrapped in homemade puff pastry and elegantly plated with roast beetroot, pistachio crumble and bordelaise sauce.

The chicken pie with spinach and prosciutto at Black Bamboo. Photo supplied.

The chicken pie with spinach and prosciutto at Black Bamboo. Photo supplied.

Blos Café (Faerie Glen)

Having not so long ago moved to new premises (where Die Werf used to be), Blos Cafe now has much more space for larger groups and events. Try the homemade pies with the likes of tender lamb filling, with deep flavours of red wine, coriander, cinnamon and prunes, enveloped by homemade flaky butter shortcrust pastry. For the braised pork pies they use gently braised shoulder and ground pork, keeping the pan juices as a base for fried onions, mushrooms, garlic and cinnamon, followed by white wine and potatoes. All pies are served freshly baked with house vegetables. The pies do not currently feature on their daily menu but can be ordered on request.

Carlton Café Delicious (Menlo Park)

The menu at this trendsetting establishment features five signature pies. Take home the frozen uncooked handmade pies, glazed and ready for the oven, in variations such as chicken with seasonal vegetables; shredded slow-roasted pork shoulder with apple, cinnamon and cloves; leg of lamb with dried pear and rosemary; beef braised in red wine with onions, bacon and mushrooms; and slow-roasted shredded duck with black cherries and thyme. When there’s a glut of a particular ingredient, or when it’s hunting season, pies feature as the special of the day, but can be sold out by 11am, so get there early!

Cocovanilla (Pretoria North)

Young entrepreneur and erstwhile Kokkedoor contestant Lorraine Swanepoel does not operate from a traditional shop, but you can place an order for any of the following delicious options: Rosemary and tomato beef pot pie with cornbread crust; chicken korma free-form hand pie, with a subtle hint of coconut milk; sloppy joe pot pies made with slow-cooked beef ragout and a shortcrust pecorino pastry; ‘drunken pig’ pies of cider-infused pulled pork with mustard-apple chutney; and merlot short-rib and mushroom pie turnovers with thyme and garlic in a sour-cream pastry.

Forkies (Lynnwood)

The brisket pie at Forkies is an example of a happy calzone-pie hybrid. Borrowing from the flavours of TexMex, the pie is made with house-smoked slow-roasted brisket, homemade tomato sauce, honey-roasted butternut strips, balsamic-caramelised onions and cheddar cheese, and baked in a wood-fired oven.

Maders Restaurant (Mayville)

This famed butchery and restaurant has been around almost forever and has established a cult following. A long line forms every day of people keen to purchase the legendary pies. Traditional and tasty, they contain no questionable ingredients and offer excellent value for money. The pepper steak pie is filled to the brim with soft, flavoursome meat and a good, strong pinch of pepper. They generally have only two pies available, including cornish, steak and russian, chicken, and steak and kidney.

Beef and Guinness pies at Pure Café. Photo supplied.

Beef and Guinness pies at Pure Café. Photo supplied.

Pure Café (Colbyn)

This bright, lively green-and-white space serves up good daytime fare. Try the chicken, leek and sherry pie, made with slow-roasted, herb-infused chicken stewed in a rich and creamy wild mushroom sauce with pale dry sherry and leeks, and covered by flaky, deliciously golden puff pastry. They also make a pie with slow-cooked beef shin, aromatic vegetables, herbs and Guinness, after which the filling is finished off with diced potato, chopped baby fennel, a touch of tomato, herbs and wholegrain mustard, ready for its flaky puff-pastry cloak.

Roast chicken, leek and sherry pie at Pure Café. Photo supplied.

Roast chicken, leek and sherry pie at Pure Café. Photo supplied.

Rooitamatie Guesthouse and Supper Club (Muckleneuk)

Renette Vosloo, a former Kokkedoor contestant and current presenter of a morning TV cooking insert, offers pies as part of her five-course tasting menu at the Supper Club. In winter she prefers game pies made with slow-cooked venison leg (blouwildebeest, impala or springbok). After being cooked until tender, the meat is pulled apart before being fried with bacon, onions and black mushrooms, after which it is laced with lashings of sherry and fresh cream and scooped into a sour-cream short pastry. Shredded duck with dark cherries and citrus zest is another regular pie feature, and in summer Renette loves to prepare traditional lamb pie with a light, buttery rosemary crumble.

Taste Café (pop-up)

This pop-up eatery has established a regular cameo appearance at Laughing Chefs in Rietondale. It serves two pie variants: Stout and beef, and chicken and enoki. Owner Willie Cloete believes that the perfect pie requires three essentials: Quality products, a good buttery pastry, and time. Making the stout and beef pot pie takes two days of slow braising, laborious pastry making, assembly and enjoyment. For the future Willie is planning a pulled-pork pie and Indian kasundi chicken pie.

The poached chicken and mushroom pie at Taste Café. Photo supplied.

The poached chicken and mushroom pie at Taste Café. Photo supplied.

Villa San Giovanni (Wonderboom Airport)

For an Italian calzone that smacks of la dolce vita, head to Wonderboom Airport to sit on the terrace and watch planes come and go. The retro throwback charm of the venue makes pies a great choice. There are three different options, but the more traditional one with mushrooms, capers, artichokes, anchovies and ham, enfolded in a yeasty crust before being baked in the wood-fired oven, is utterly scrumptious.

Durban and surrounds

Bread Ahead (Morningside)

This one-stop bakery shop has been a Durban favourite for decades. The bakery offers a wide variety of pies containing twice as much filling as you’d find elsewhere, which are perfect for eating on the run. Enjoy old favourites like steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom, spinach and cheese and Durban chicken curry. Their golden cornish pasties and sausage rolls are also popular. If you’re looking for something different, they offer puff-pastry parcels filled with cheese and onion, beef and onion, and creamy chicken and roasted veggies. Pro tip: You can buy frozen and unbaked pies to enjoy at home. All pies are made daily and cost R22.90.

Bellevue Café (Kloof)

This popular all-day dining spot offers a range of comforts like gourmet sandwiches, pastas and classic mains. Try their pie of the day served with fries and a side salad. Homemade with a flaky golden pastry, pies are filled with options like spicy butter chicken or pepper steak for R110.

Pie, chips and salad at Bellevue Café. Photo supplied.

Pie, chips and salad at Bellevue Café. Photo supplied.

Fourteen on Chartwell (Umhlanga Rocks)

This snazzy gastropub is situated in the bustling Umhlanga village and offers diners elegant pub grub with a comforting touch. Pastry lovers can opt for the popular Chartwell pie of the day served with a side of fries and a red wine jus (R110). If you’re lucky enough, they’ll be serving the impressive lamb pie, complete with lamb shank bone poking through the golden pastry.

The Pie Lady at Shongweni Farmers Market (Shongweni)

This Maritzburg-based baker takes her glorious homemade pastry-topped pies to the popular Shongweni Market every Saturday. Look out for ones filled with oxtail, lamb and mint, mutton curry, chicken and mushroom, and steak and kidney.

Unity Bar (Musgrave)

This vibey brasserie and bar is a good spot for hearty fare and craft beer. If you’re not keen on having a steak, try their take on a beef pie (R75). The comforting portion of succulent braised beef is topped with flaky pastry and a drizzle of moreish gravy. Served with a side of golden chips, it’s the ultimate pub grub dish.

Trafford’s (Pietermaritzburg)

This fine-dining restaurant offers hungry lunching locals some comforting country-style dishes. Look out for wintery pie dishes like the chicken, leek and chardonnay pie with crunchy roasted potatoes and chicken gravy (R99), or the sweet and rich duck-and-cherry pie.

Waxy O’Connor’s (Westville)

Extremely popular with the locals, this Irish pub offers a range of comforting bar eats and gourmet fare. Their homemade pies are a popular choice and come encased in a golden flaky pastry. Served with chips, rice or mash, the pies have fillings such as succulent chicken strips sautéed in a sweet, mild curry sauce (R88), a beef and Guinness version with aromatic spices (R93), or a chicken, prawn and mushroom option that’s topped off with a creamy sauce (R99).

Cape Town

Bird’s Café (City Bowl)

This charming Bree Street bistro has become known for its hearty chicken pies. The filling is made up of sautéed herby chicken, mushrooms, white wine and homemade stock. The golden pie is served with a rich mushroom gravy and comes with a crisp side salad.

Café Frank (City Bowl)

This city bowl spot is popular with the working lunch crowd. Check the daily menu to see what flavours and ingredients are being used for their wholesome lunch offering. On the pie front, you can look forward to options like roasted chicken and leek (R47) or the wintery pork, apple and red cabbage version (R67). All lunch plates are served with a daily salad of your choice.

Beef pies at Café Frank. Photo supplied.

Beef pies at Café Frank. Photo supplied.

Chardonnay Deli (Constantia)

This casual Constantia deli offers families a perfect pit-stop during a busy week or on a lazy weekend. Pie fans can look forward to getting a comforting individual pie with salad for R69 to R78. The homemade pastry fillings often include roasted chicken, beef or seasonal vegetables.

Pies at Chardonnay Deli. Photo by Claire Gunn.

Pies at Chardonnay Deli. Photo by Claire Gunn.

The Foodbarn Deli (Noordhoek)

Noordhoek residents love this spot for the range of pies on the blackboard menu. Daily homemade options might include coq au vin, chicken and mushroom, beef, pepper steak, or veggie pies. All pastries come with a salad or sautéed potatoes. Find a seat and enjoy one with a cuppa, or grab a takeaway for R35.

A steak pie at The Foodbarn Deli. Photo supplied.

A steak pie at The Foodbarn Deli. Photo supplied.

The Gardener’s Cottage (Newlands)

Customers flock to this hidden Newlands gem for towering portions of homemade chicken pie. Tender sautéed chicken breast and a rich tarragon cream are layered between folds of golden sesame-seed puff pastry, and served with a side of seasonal veggies.

Jason Bakery (City Bowl)

Known as ‘kickass pies’, the filled golden pastry bombs at this hip Bree Street bakery change daily. Priced from R42 and upwards, pies have fillings like creamy lobster mac ’n cheese (usually available on a Monday), bacon chowder, herby roasted chicken and edamame beans, braised beef and shallot pie, harissa lamb, and chicken, cashew and butternut curry. Order it with a side salad or grab it to go.

One of the pies at Jason. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

One of the pies at Jason. Photo supplied.

Martin’s Bakery (Diep River)

This Southern Suburbs neighbourhood joint serves up homely café-style food and breads and pastries baked on site. The popular golden pie selection includes fillings such as pepper steak, chicken and mushroom, spinach and mushroom, and bacon and egg. The flaky shortcrust-pastry pies range in price from R25 to R35.

Ou Meul Bakkery (City Bowl, Willowbridge, Somerset Mall, Welgemoed, Standford and Riviersonderend)

Using the same famous Riviersonderend pie recipe that results in a short yet flaky casing, these pies have become a favourite lunchtime choice for visitors around the Cape. Fillings include pepper steak, steak and kidney, coriander chicken, mutton, springbok, ham and cheese, spinach and feta, beef sausage roll, and bobotie. Order a side to accompany your pie, such as roasted vegetables, salad or golden chips. Pie prices range from R25 to R29, with chips going for R15 and the greens for R19.

The chicken and coriander pie at Ou Meul Bakkery. Photo supplied.

The chicken and coriander pie at Ou Meul Bakkery. Photo supplied.

Winelands

96 Winery Road (Stellenbosch)

The duck-and-cherry pie at this cosy winelands restaurant is legendary. Made with freshly made pastry, the piping hot dish comes filled with tender roasted duck meat in a luxurious sauce of port and black cherries for R145.

Bistro 13 (Stellenbosch)

Nic van Wyk’s restaurant has become increasingly popular for its comforting bistro-style food. The seasonal menu will always feature a gloriously golden pie filled with hearty ingredients. This month you can expect to feast on a robust venison pie that’s filled with winter root vegetables and a rosemary veloute (R140). (Nic’s chicken pie even made it to the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards in 2015!)

Roasted chicken pie, with summer vegetables and a magnificent confit garlic velouté, dreamt up by Nic van Wyk of Bistro 13.

Roasted chicken pie, with summer vegetables and a magnificent confit garlic velouté, dreamt up by Nic van Wyk of Bistro 13.

Houw Hoek Farm Stall (Grabouw)

This popular roadtrip pit-stop on the way into the Overberg offers local pie classics like curried steak, pepper steak, plain steak, chicken, chicken and mushroom, ham and cheese, spinach and feta, and bobotie pie for R25 each. Pro tip: You can also spot Houw Hoek pies at selected Spars around the Cape.

Pasticcio Gourmet Bakery (Paarl)

It may be an Italian bakery, but it offers a range of shortcrust-pastry pies packed with rich and intense flavours. Fillings include beef curry, Ibiltong, chicken, leek and bacon, and steak and onion. The prices of the hand-held pies vary from R12 to R18. If you buy three, you’ll receive a fourth one for free.

Peregrine (Grabouw)

This well-known gem has become famous for serving generous homemade pies filled with flavours like chicken and mushroom, plain steak, bacon and cheese, and spinach and feta. The pies can be topped with gravy for an extra R5. They come with chips or a side salad for R42.

Please note that while we take care to ensure the accuracy of our information, some details may change without our knowledge.

Tell us about your favourite hot pies in the comments below.

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