Blythe’s Verdict
It’s rather lovely that we are starting to get invited to some more launch events and food evenings. One such event was hosted by the Edinburgh Collection at the Old Waverley Hotel, on Princes Street, to launch the intriguing sounding Mrs Cranston’s Pies.

With some familiar geeky faces in attendance, and a remarkably entertaining young lady who combines expert reviews of football-ground pies with a burgeoning career in stand-up comedy also joining the fun, the evening looked set to be as generously filled with merriment as the pies were with good chunks of tender meat.

Mrs. Cranston herself!

To open, we had a charming welcome from Mrs Cranston herself, who recounted the tale of how the hotel was originally established in the 19th century, with her steady hand at the tiller. She provided the ideal warm-up act for chef David McKillop, who soon unveiled the pies and allowed us to sample them. Based on an original 1840 recipe, adapted following a good deal of experimentation, the pies looked great and proved to be very tasty.

Venison pie

I started out with the venison pie, which was accompanied in traditional style with some baked beans. I added a dollop of brown sauce, in a daring move. I was very pleased with things, and must have transparently shown this, as the excellent staff were quick to offer me another, suggesting I tried the beef pie, too. I was more than happy to give my assent, and I’m glad I did as the beef was even better than the venison, with lots of lovely tender pieces of beef and a satisfying gravy.

I opted for a pint of Stewart’s Gold to accompany my pie. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of ales, but this proved a very refreshing accompaniment. MJ mentioned that the wine she matched with her pie was extremely good, also.

My pint also proved quite useful to the staff member, Leon, who had to avert my attempt to set fire to the hotel by dunking my flaming napkin in a half finished pint. He went and got me a fresh one, too, which was jolly nice of him and scarcely what my careless fire-raising deserved.

Pies will be served in the Old Waverley’s Abbotsford Lounge from now on, so I’d heartily recommend you go and try them for yourself.

MJ’s Verdict
After rushing over from work, I arrived to the party a bit later than everyone else, just in time to miss the lovely speech from Mrs. Cranston, but I was pleasantly greeted by several people who offered to show me to a seat, get me a glass of ‘whatever I wanted to drink’ and told me to get a pie!

I dodged my way around Mrs. Cranston’s dress, which reminded me muchly of the dress I wore running through a churchyard for a certain book trailer for a vampire novel by Mina Hepsen.

Beef pie

Blythe informed me that he went for the venison pie, so I chose the beef pie and dug in. Pies aren’t my favourite food, but the insides of this one was quite tasty with the beef more tender than I could have imagined it would be.  The gravy was excellently seasoned and the crust to filling ratio seemed just about right. I had a taste of Blythe’s venison one, and the gaminess was tempered by the gravy and crust and it had just enough of the mellow flavours of venison that I so love, but the beef was soo well done! How would you ever choose? The obvious answer is: Don’t. Go for both!

If you like pies and exceptional service, I recommend you pop over to the Old Waverly and give the pies a go!

Scores
MJ scores the Old Waverley:
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20

Blythe scores the Old Waverley:
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20

Today’s questers were: Miriam, Blythe

We ate: beef pie (2), venison pie, beans

We drank: red wine, Stewart’s Gold

We wore: traditional pie eating garb

Total bill: this event was free for us lucky ducks. Pies are £4 each, with pie and pint £6.95

Written by BKR