Have you ever eaten an Aussie pie?
When I noticed a sign for pie shop going up in my neighbourhood last fall, it instantly piqued my interest. A new pie shop??? Sign me up! I recently dropped into the store to investigate further…
Owner + Pie-oneer Nick Bishop is originally from Adelaide, Australia and wanted to bring the savoury pies he loved back home to his adopted city of Los Angeles. So he launched the Aussie Pie Kitchen on Main Street in Santa Monica last October. This quick-serve eatery features homemade fork-in Aussie pies (which they’ve trademarked), fresh brewed coffee, savoury breakfast rolls and classic sides called ‘stacks’ like their White Stack which features garlic mashed potatoes and creamy gravy or their Green Stack, made of mushy peas, butter, mint and shallots.
The clientele is a mix of Commonwealth expats who are well-educated in a proper savoury pie and Aussie pie converts who want a break from their pressed green juice and are looking for something comforting and a bit more indulgent. And if you’re going to indulge – you might as well do it right.
Growing up in Canada, I ate A LOT of meat pies and sausage rolls because of the British influence on our culture. It was only after moving to the US did I realize that grocery stores don’t casually sell sausage rolls in thr frozen food section like they do back home. You really have to dig around and look for a specialty store to get your fix.
Traditionally, an Aussie hand pie is street food – like a bacon-wrapped hot dog in Hollywood. However, Bishop wanted to elevate this Aussie comfort food into something heartier and eats with a fork and knife. As a result, the Tiger Stack was born.
The Tiger Stack
The Tiger Stack features your pick of a personal Aussie Pie. I had to try The Classic Aussie ($7.95) that’s hand-filled with ground beef that is marinated in red wine, before it’s braised in mirepoix with herbs & spices. Each bite is packed full of flavour and the meat is so incredibly tender. If it’s your first visit to Aussie Pie Kitchen, I definitely recommend starting with this classic.
My Personal Pie was plated on top of a fluffy bed of mashed potatoes (White Stack) and then topped with their signature Minty Mushy Peas (Green Stack) before the whole thing was covered in a huge ladle of glorious gravy.
In my opinion, this is the BEST way to eat and enjoy one of Nick’s pies and with a pint of beer of course. There’s even a Tiger Stack that pays hommage to the Irish flag with green, white and orange colours (using sweet potatoes). A Tiger Stack can be added to any pie for $7 and has become a very popular option amongst Aussie Pie customers.
Fresh baked pies are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner
The Pie-Making Process
All of the homemade savoury pies at Aussie Pie Kitchen takes three days to make and the focus here is quality over quantity. On day one, the pie fillings are marinated for a full day with herbs and spices and then left to rest overnight. On day two, the fillings are braised for 2-4 hours to full tenderize the meat and then left to rest in it own juices overnight. On day three, the pies are filled by hand. The pie top is made of buttery, melt-in-your-mouth croissant dough.
The pie recipes have been developed by partner and chef, Joe Youkhan who is a “Chopped” Champion on the Food Network. He supervises all the cooking at Aussie Pie Kitchen including the pies, sides and treats.
Aussie Pie Kitchen serves Vittoria Coffee, (the number one premium Australian brand of coffee) that has been roasting beans since 1947. They currently serve Vittoria’s Organic Roast.
I enjoyed their signature Flat White (invented in Australia) and it was perfectly creamy with a smooth texture from the steamed milk and a shot of espresso all melting together. It’s made with a little bit less milk and a little bit more espresso then a latte.
It’s a great little idea to grab a Breakfast Pie ($4.95) that’s stuffed with egg, sausage and cheddar with a coffee to-go before heading off for a walk on the beach.
The coffee menu at Aussie Pie Kitchen
The pie menu at Aussie Pie Kitchen
The Aussie Pie Kitchen is definitely worth a stop on your next visit to Santa Monica. The storefront is located at 2510 Main Street (near Ocean Park), Santa Monica CA 90405 with metered parking in front. They are open daily from 8 AM to 8 PM from Monday to Wednesday and if you’re looking for a late-night bite, they are open to 2:30 AM from Thursday to Saturday. On Sundays they are open until 6 PM.
To learn more visit: www.AussiePieKitchen.com