[A] Cumbrian bar and restaurant has staked its claim among the best places to eat in the UK by winning a procession of accolades at the British Pie Awards.
Kendal Rugby Club won a total of 14 awards for the pies served at its new home at Mintbridge, on Shap Road, including being crowned Dessert Pie Champion for its Bramley apple pie and highly commended for its chicken, ham and leek pie.
The club also picked up three gold medals, four silvers and five bronzes for a plethora of pies with fillings varying from braised pig cheek, sage and red wine to Cumbrian tatty hot pot.
Graham Aimson, Mintbridge’s multi-award winning chef, is no stranger to success when it comes to pies, with Morecambe Football Club’s pies named Best Pie in Football for five of his seven years as head of catering at the club.
He’s now bringing his winning formula of high quality, locally sourced ingredients and delicious, traditional dishes to the menu at Mintbridge – both in its lounge bar and newly opened Number 8 servery, which serves freshly cooked, specially prepared food throughout the day.
Graham said: “In the case of a sweet pie like the Bramley apple, one of the secrets is to really concentrate on making the pastry like a delicious, buttery, soft shortbread and then having it packed full of fruit and flavour.
“It’s similar with the chicken, ham and leek – you need to get the sauce to meat ratio just right, so the filling is really like a beautiful stew that you’d happily eat as a meal in itself. And, as with everything we make here, it’s about sourcing the best local ingredients and preparing them in a loving way.”
Graham’s pies are on sale daily from Mintbridge’s Number 8 servery, as well as in the restaurant and bar which is introducing large sharing pies to its evening menu.
Mintbridge general manager and director of rugby Steve Whitehead said: “It’s fantastic for Graham and the club to get the recognition we deserve for the food we’re offering here, both in the restaurant and bar and at the servery.
“A pie is something that’s very honest and comforting, but really stands out when the excellence and the quality is there. In that way it’s very appropriate that we’ve won these awards, as the whole ethos of Mintbridge is to be a place where everyone feels comfortable and gets a warm welcome but also offers genuinely high quality food and drink.”