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Where to find the best steak and kidney pie in the UK

From country pubs to award-winning pie shops, there are plenty of places to get your steak and kidney fix.

By Joel Porter
Published 31 Dec 2020, 08:05 GMT
Rules opened in Covent Garden in 1798.

Rules opened in Covent Garden in 1798. 

Photograph by Alamy

1. Rules, London

When Rules (pictured)opened in Covent Garden in 1798, it was primarily known for porter, pies and oysters, and although it’s now famed for its game dishes, it still pays homage to its roots with a menu of magnificent pies. As well as steak and kidney pie, made with 28-day aged beef and topped with puff pastry, there’s a steamed suet pudding with steak, kidney and oysters. 

2. Fleur de Lys, Warwickshire

Located by the Stratford Canal in the village of Lowsonford, the Fleur de Lys pub is a cornerstone of British pie history. Mr Brookes, the pub’s landlord between 1950 and 1958, began serving chicken and mushroom, and later steak and kidney, which became so popular he started distributing them nationwide. Eventually he sold his recipes to a company that became the now ubiquitous Pukka Pies. The pub recently revived its pie-making tradition, including its legendary steak and kidney, encased in shortcrust, with a puff pastry lid. It’s served with chips, veg and gravy. 

3. Goddards at Greenwich, London

A family-run business since 1890, when it opened down the road in Deptford, Goddards is still going strong, serving pie and mash close to Greenwich Park. As well as the minced beef pies and jellied eels associated with Victorian pie shops, there’s a classic steak and kidney version, made with all British ingredients, served with mash and a healthy dose of gravy. And at just £5, it’s definitely one of the best-value pies around. 

4. The Piebald Inn, North Yorkshire

This pub is fanatical about pies, with around 50 types on the menu, some of which have garnered awards. They’re all named after breeds of horse (although none contain actual equines), with a range of fish, game, poultry and vegetarian options. The Native Pony is first on the menu, a classic steak and kidney encased in crisp flaky pastry, with gravy, mash and peas. 

5. Turner’s Pies, West Sussex

A family business that began in Bognor Regis in 1933, Turner’s Pies now has four delis on the South Coast. Its reputation extends much further, however, having won various awards over the years. The steak and kidney pie, which has been on the menu since Turner’s first opened, has won best in its class twice at the British Pie Awards, and if you don’t live near one of the stores you can try it for yourself by using the company’s ‘Pies by Post’ service, which delivers nationwide. 

6. The Fox Inn, Oxfordshire

Set in a 17th-century thatched building in the village of Denchworth, The Fox Inn is a real community hub for locals, as well as drawing visitors from further afield. They come for the traditional ales and pub grub, especially the steak and kidney pie, made to the same recipe for more than 40 years. 

7. The Windmill, London

This Mayfair pub has been known for its pies for decades, with a menu that includes venison and mushroom, and chicken, bacon and leek. The steak and kidney, however, has led it to pie stardom, three times winning top spot at the British Pie Awards. It’s made with skirt steak, ox kidney, beef dripping and Young’s bitter, all topped with suet pastry and gravy. 

8. Cholmondeley Arms, Cheshire

In a rural setting next to Cholmondeley Castle, this is probably one of England’s most unusual pubs. It’s a Victorian former village schoolhouse on Lord Cholmondeley’s estate, which first opened as a pub in 1988. It serves old-school dishes such as devilled kidneys and bakewell tart, plus a steak and kidney pie made with locally sourced ingredients. It comes with chips, gravy and minted ‘not so mushy’ peas.

Read more: Steak and kidney pie: the story behind the British classic

Published in Issue 10 (winter 2020) of National Geographic Traveller Food

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