Saturday, December 11, 2010

KO'd by Australian pie

When you move to another country, it's with the understanding that you're leaving a lot of things behind: family and friends, of course; customs and traditions; and — and in many ways tied up with the first two — foods you love.

I don't get nostalgic cravings often, but when I do, they're for very specific dishes: real fish and chips, Battenburg cake, proper bacon, steak pie, pork pie, cheese and onion crisps ("Greeat fleeavas, Chudah!").

Often, I can distract these cravings with more accessible imports: Bird's Custard, Branston Pickle, and HobNobs are available (at a price) in the grocery store.

But sometimes, the call is too strong.

And sometimes, the call is answered.

Australian? Eh, close enough.

This is KO Catering and Pies, a short walk from the Broadway T stop (in the former St. Alphonzo's Kitchen space). It's not much to look at from the outside:

But inside it's fragrant with the aroma of warm pastry and decorated with ceramic budgies and a clock displaying the only important time zone:

The menu is expansive:

But we were there for one reason: pie.

The only other time we've found proper meat pie in this country was at an Australian pie place in Austin, Texas. I'm not sure why it's left to our antipodean brethren to demonstrate the magic that happens when you combine meat and pastry, but there you go.

We ordered a meat, a meat-and-cheese, and a sausage roll. There were paper napkins but no forks; when The Boy went to ask for some, he was handed a postcard that explained the correct way to eat a pie was by picking it up and shoving it in your face.

Oh, this was some good pie.

The bottom was a shortcrust and the lid was a light, buttery, flaky puff pastry. The meat, simmered into a slightly sweet ragu, had just enough gravy to season the pastry without turning it to an unmanageable handful. The addition of cheese to the second pie gave a little touch of salt that balanced out the sweetness of the meat.

I'm not sure I could ever make a pie like it. But sausage rolls I do bake now and then. So ordering one was more of a "because it's there" decision than a need to sate a craving.

Here's the thing: this was no ordinary sausage roll. The meat inside was less like sausage meat and more like pork pie: densely packed, almost pressed.

So this is perfect: I have a place to satisfy my need for meat pie and pork pie, and also to pick up much better sausage rolls. And with KO Pie's food truck launching soon, I might not even have to go to Southie to get some.

Home is coming closer to me!

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