Stuart Clarke’s Hardcore Pies specialises in nostalgic, simple cooking.
The pie crust used for what he calls his “proper London pies” isn’t flaky or dry and is made from just four ingredients: flour, water, butter and salt. Then there are the fillings. The chunky beef is an outstanding interpretation of a classic. Generous pieces of beef are slow cooked with a dark craft beer from whichever local brewery takes Clarke’s fancy at the time. The filling is thick and slightly sweet, with caramelised beef and carrots and just the right amount of gravy.
For the free-range chicken pie Clarke roasts a whole chicken, removes the meat and cooks it with a creamy white wine and vegetable sauce laced with tarragon. The result is tender, saucy and moreish. There’s also a flat-iron sandwich menu, which is an excellent way to sample the assortment of barbecue sauces, tomato chutneys and pickles that are made in-house. Don’t miss the sauerkraut. The sauces, pickles, pie fillings and corned beef is made in-house.
Clarke lived in London’s East End for 17 years, an area famous for pie and mash shops. He believes the first thing a Londoner looks for when it comes to pies is a good liquor sauce.
Traditionally made with the water used to cook eels, Clarke’s liquor is vegetarian and, although the name might indicate otherwise, it has nothing to do with alcohol. The savoury parsley sauce is often the star of Thursday and Friday nights when guests BYO beers to go with their pie and mash.
Vintage furniture fills the shop where the scents of slow-cooked meats and vegetables fill the room and vats of sauerkraut ferment on tables next to folks eating pies.
124 Percival Road, Stanmore
(02) 8580 0107 Hours:
Mon to Wed, Sat 7am–3pm Thu to Fri 7am–9pm
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