British Pie Week: Southsea's Pie & Vinyl talk all things pie including Idles and Dave Grohl filling ideas

The owner of a popular Southsea pie shop has discussed their most popular pies and how they have creatively mixed music, Portsmouth and pies together.
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The two forms of food and music may not seem obvious bedfellows but Steve's success shows that it works and he believes they have more in common when you scratch the surface. Steve said: "Similar to vinyl its an old fashioned working class food that you can contemporise. We have lots of different fillings lots of different pastry types, different dietary types, vegan, vegetarian, meat. We have lots of different bands come in and play as well and we give them the option to choose their own fillings, so we have lots of fun with it."

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Alongside the musically influenced pie names and ideas, the city itself is represented and used as inspiration, with suppliers utilised from across the city. Steve said: "We tie in a lot of our fillings and flavours with places in the city, we are so lucky round here that we have so much history to draw on that influences us all. We have the Porksea Islander, which is a barbecue pulled pork pie, and we also have the back to black which is a beef wellington pie and actually has black pastry. We do try and update and play with our pies. The key to a pie is you can put anything in it."

The shop has continued to experiment with its tastes and textures. Throughout the years they have looked different ways to present the pastry, they have served pink coloured pastry for Valentines Day and have also served green coloured pastry. Different fillings have also been played with from burgers to Thai curries, there has not been much Steve and his team have not tried.

We spoke to the owner of Pie & Vinyl, Steve Courtnell, on British Pie Week to talk all things pie's.We spoke to the owner of Pie & Vinyl, Steve Courtnell, on British Pie Week to talk all things pie's.
We spoke to the owner of Pie & Vinyl, Steve Courtnell, on British Pie Week to talk all things pie's.

But what is Steve's favourite? He said: "I have the leftovers in the bin! No, I'm joking. I try not to eat meat but to be honest I very rarely eat pies in here. I think everyone thinks I have pie for breakfast, pie for lunch, and pie for dinner, but that would get very boring very quickly." While Steve may not eat there everyday, plenty of locals can't get enough, with one of the favourites being a variation on a steak and stilton pie, as well as the aforementioned Back to Black pie and a chicken, ham and leek pie called the Free Ranger.

Pie & Vinyl also provide a good variety of vegan and vegetarian options, including a mainstay on the menu that was created by the English punk rock band, Idles. Steve said: "On the vegan side we have An IDLES Kebab, which the band chose the filling for and it has stuck around. Its a seitan donor kebab pie with pickles and sirarcha sauce in it. Its really good, there is no dairy and no meat in that and it's a real favourite."

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Idles, who have been announced for Victorious festival this year, are not the only band to have come up with their own pie ideas for the shop. Steve added: "Wolf Alice have played for us a couple of times and they have had a couple of stabs at pie ideas as well. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters lead singer and former Nirvana drummer) suggested a filling during the pandemic and we have done a couple of record releases where we put the download code on the pie on sugar paper. We work with a great local record company, Strong Island Recordings, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard released a live album via one of our pies."

While they continue to experiment and have fun, Steve and his staff's infectious passion for both pies and music will keep drawing customers in. There are times when the new ideas can go the other way though. Steve said: "There is definitely some that don't work but that is all part of it, our customers will ultimately tell us if they think we have gone a bit too far, but it's really fun experimenting."

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