Christmas at Piecaramba, Southampton

Christmas menus are in full force and we’re happy to visit old favourites with old friends to sample them. We begin in Southampton…

Much as I try, I always seem to fail at getting lots of Christmassy content for this blog. Especially when it comes to restaurant reviews. This year, I’m attempting to put more focus on that, and it will start with a visit to one our faves from this year. I refer, of course, to Southampton’s Piecaramba. And like the last time I visited there, I was accompanied by Connor Mackay along with his son Charlie, who, at just over a year old, is our youngest ever co-diner.

This trip came about when Connor showed me the proposed Christmas menu for our new favourite pie place, on which there were many sumptuous-sounding options. I had great difficulty in making a final decision, eventually opting for the pie called Pie Hard. That had beef steak and bacon in a port and chestnut pâté encased within a shortcrust pastry crust. Then all the classic pie-mash trimmings came with it as per my request, including cheesy mash and minted mushy peas. And, of course, the pie liquor.

The Grinch – a pie of turkey, ham hock, Brussels sprouts, cranberries and sage and onion stuffing, served here with mustard mash and minted mushy peas
Photo credit: Connor Mackay

Before I get too far into the main part of the review, I’ll confess my major food envy for Connor’s choice of The Grinch (see pictured). A delicious and festive mixture of turkey and ham hock with Brussels sprouts, cranberries and sage and onion stuffing. That’s a true Christmas pie right there. Out of the two, Charlie preferred to try and snag something off of my plate, though…

So, onto the pie in detail. I will say first of all that, as per usual, the food was of excellent quality and that this visit does not affect our scoreboard this year. But I also have to admit I was a tad underwhelmed. The pâté, as they called it, was more of a gravy as you would expect to find in a steak pie. The port and chestnut flavours were all but non-existent, sadly. Just the result of the cooking process, I guess. It was all about the beautiful buttery pastry and the succulent meats. They don’t stint on the slices for both the steak or the bacon. It was gorgeous, as I say; it was just lacking the burst of “Whoa! That’s amazing!” that I had been so looking forward to.

Unlike our visit in January, Connor and I were seated on the upper floor. A spacious and comfortable seating area, where, in addition to the several decks of Top Trumps, they have board games and a Sega Mega Drive set up for guests’ entertainment. Certainly enough to occupy young Charlie’s attention for a bit, anyway.

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