Meat pies are the Australian/New Zealand equivalent to poutine. Whereas we Montrealers indugle in late-night/drunk poutine for a cheap and filling meal, on other side of the world meat pies are the go-to food. Typical Australian and New Zealand meat pies are pretty cheap, low-scale, and can be found at corner stores, catering to students and those looking for a quick hunger fix. Taking this food trend to the next level, Tourtière Australienne, or Ta Pies, makes gourmet meat pies right here in Montreal.
Mixing traditional pie recipes with modern flavours, Ta Pies does the savory pastry in ways unseen anywhere else. Basic fillings are put into their homemade pastry shell, like classic beef and gravy, or be adventurous and try out the very popular butter chicken option. Vegetarian pies are also available, such as the Curried vegetable and sweet potato or spinach, mushroom, tomato and ricotta.
Pies are meant to be eaten on the go in Australia and New Zeland, and Ta Pies sticks to that tradition. Personal pies, meant to be eaten with just your hands, are made daily and priced at $5-$6. If you want pie for a crowd, or something to take to a potluck, larger pies are at the ready, either fresh or frozen to eat at your leisure. Great for potlucks or dinner parties.
To get a full sense of the Ta pie spectrum I sampled their basic steak and cheese, as well as the more esoteric butter chicken. The steak and cheese, prepared in a red wine gravy, was succulent and gooey, with the strong cheddar adding some great flavour and texture. Butter chicken may seem like an odd pie filling, but it sure does work. Ta's butter chicken is better than I've had at Indian restaurants, and the inherent spiciness is offset by the flaky pastry. Both meat fillings would be great on their own, but they're taken to the next level by Ta's pie crust. Soft, tender, and only a little chewy, the butter pie crust is a an awesome and edible food container.
On the sweet side of things, Ta doesn't make pies like you would think. Instead they craft remakes of classic desserts. Order a Sticky Toffee Pudding with Jack Daniels Caramel, Pavlova, or a Timtam Tiriasu. Timtams are a classic Australian cookie, for those unaware, which are hugely popular and can be found at certain Montreal vendors. Ask a Ta employee to show you what a Timtam Slam is. You won't be disappointed
If you're hitting up Pop Montreal this week, Ta will be the food vendor at St.Michel Cathedral. Or just swing by either location in the Plateau (4520 Parc Avenue) or in NDG (5525 Monkland Avenue) for a great pie experience.
Oh, and did I mention Ta has been called "the best meat pies in the world" by Australian actor/mega-star Hugh Jackman? That's right, the Wolverine himself fell in love with these pies when he was in Montreal. That's enough street cred in itself, so go see if everyone's favourite mutant was right.