Pie and ale, pie and mash, pie and gravy, pies go with everything. Plus, there’s nothing quite like defeating Manchester’s damp weather with the power of pastry.
One of the best places to eat in the city centre if you’re looking for convenient, well-priced and filling food is the Northern Quarter’s Pie & Ale.
Peddling such a traditional dish, you’d be forgiven for assuming dietary needs weren’t a priority here. However, staying au fait with customers and ensuring its menu is inclusive seems to be important to Pie & Ale. The last three times I’ve visited, I’ve taken vegetarian or vegan friends along and at least half of the menu accommodated them well.
Pie flavours change regularly but you may stumble upon the likes of goats’ cheese, spinach and pine nut, ratatouille finished with olives or chickpea and coconut curry. Exotic meat-eaters will be even more in awe and may find themselves deliberating between wild game stroganoff, venison and stilton and ‘ye olde rabbit’, bathed in a bacon and red wine sauce.
As if things could get any better, then come the drinks. As its name suggests, Pie & Ale cares about sourcing great brews and the variety is always astounding. From plum porters to American IPAs, labels from small independents and larger breweries sit side-by-side.
The only problem you’ll have is deciding which sides best match which pie, which gravy, with which ale. Make sure you loosen your belt and pencil in an extra-long lunch.