So I’ve been wanting a pie from Punch the Ploughman for weeks now, but their pie times are completely at odds with my waking-and-eating hours. Unless I purposely stay up after work for two and a half hours after I finish my night shift or unless I somehow send my resident out of the hospital to grab lunch there is just no way for me to get the pies that come out at 10:30AM and run out by 12:30PM. Earnest Arthur, one of the Shoalhaven area’s premier pie stops was a promising alternative for a couple of post nights feeds.
This Peking duck sausage roll ($6.50) did not hit the spot at all. I read on one of their Google reviews that a customer was disappointed that they had missed out on one of these rolls when they were there, a disappointment that only induced me to try it myself. Sadly I don’t really think they missed out on much, as I found that the filling was quite floury or carby, kind of like the stuffing of a supermarket rotisserie chicken, but denser and dryer. It was difficult to appreciate any duck at all, though I’m sure that it’s in there somewhere. Even assuming that there is some duck in there, I don’t know, as a guy from the Beijing region, what about this was particularly Peking. It piqued my interest but did not peak my tastebuds. I think a bit of tomato sauce could’ve gone a long way, but whilst I’m sure it is available within the store it was clearly on display or not freely offered on either of my two visits.
The surf and turf pie ($8.40) was a big improvement over the duck sausage roll, with clearly appreciable big and juicy prawns, and limited but large chunks of meat. This would begin a trend that would continue for the rest of the pies that I had at Earnest Arthur. Their pies are much gravy with limited in number but large sized chunks of protein. Not bad.
The jalapeno, beef and cheese pie ($8.40) was the strongest of the four foods that I tried at Earnest Arthur over my two visits. Making up for the meat-limited approach of this bakery was the use of jalapeno and cheese within the filling, thereby taking up room with something other than gravy. The flavours of jalapeno pepper and cheese were actually quite complimentary, with senses both of freshness and umami.
The dill and snapper pie ($8.40) was really quite pleasant, with mild flavours, creamy and not too fishy. Again, lots of (yummy) goop, with only odd chunks’o’fish.
GENERAL VIBE: I don’t know if I’m really describing what I’m trying to say adequately. It is highly possible that if they chose to use mince instead of large chunks of steak and fish and prawn, they might be able to better spread their protein throughout the pie. The fact that they probably do in fact use more expensive and larger portions of meat means that it leaves entire mouthfuls of just pastry and gravy without anything to chew on, and concentrates the pleasure of meat-eating onto other mouthfuls. I don’t know that the overall consistency of their pies are accurately conveyed on the cross-sections on their website.
The flavours are mostly good (barring the Peking duck sausage roll), but I personally would prefer balance. Otherwise if you’re going to go the chunky steak route then to put in enough steak to fill the entire pie, though $8.40 is already quite a lot to pay for a meat pie, and more steak would certainly mean even more money than that.
Two pies per breakfast is too much pie for a guy trying to not eat that much pie.
(02) 4422 4000
171 Princes Hwy, South Nowra NSW 2541