Thursday, 24 May 2012

Re-run Rutherglen: Part 2 - Parker Pies

It’s unthinkable.  It’s in equal measures true and devastating… What could possibly make me this distraught?  The other night I opened the freezer and made a horrifying discovery.  M and I are down to our last Parker Pie.  Yes, that’s right there’s not even enough to share.

(An even number of pies was originally purchased, however, whilst M was out gallivanting I was chowing down on a pie… Which has resulted in my current state of pielessness *gasp*).

The humble meat pie, quintessential Aussie cuisine, easily and frequently executed poorly, but mouth-watering, glorious and divine when done well.  What distinguishes the good from the bad?  For me: a thick, rich meaty filling encased in a pastry that is buttery and flaky.  But I am no professional. I’ll leave that to the judges of the Official Great Aussie Pie Competition.  

In my search for the perfect meat pie I have learned a few things.  For one you will not find the perfect meat pie down the frozen food aisle of your local supermarket. Why? Food Standards Australia and New Zealand only require a ‘meat’ pie to contain a minimum of 25 per cent ‘meat flesh’!  In fact, after reading this Choice report you might choose to avoid supermarket pies altogether. I wouldn’t blame you.

I have unearthed some true gems in my quest… Ok, only one.  But this journey of discovery is only beginning.  This initial discovery has inspired me to explore, taste and gorge all in the hopes of finding that singularly irresistible meat pie.

This leads me to Main Street, Rutherglen. Diagonal from Tapsell’s second hand bookshop, across from the IGA, between the Bank on Main and The Victoria Hotel you’ll find Parker Pies, a place where the humble pie is elevated to magnificent heights.

We visit over the Easter long weekend.  There is chaos (and a line that stretches out the door for most of the day).  To the uninitiated a line like that is sure to stimulate some form of curiosity – what is that mob waiting for?  Why wasn’t I invited? What am I missing out on? Ah yes, the oh-so-human pack mentality, our capitalist society would fail without it.

But it is no surprise.  These are pies that have inspired people to make the Canberra to Rutherglen round trip just to stock their freezer.  A bit extreme? Perhaps. But it does show that these aren’t your average pies.

A Rutherglen white served with peas and chips. Yum!
Walking in the door you are greeted by a cavernous but functional space.  Glass cases housing a variety of cakes, slices and biscuits sit in front of a wall papered in Great Aussie Pie Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates.  As tantalising as they may look we’re not here for the sweets. 

An amazing range of pies are on offer to cater to your every whim:

  • Sepia tinged longings of hearth, home and grandma’s kitchen? These will be distant memories after trying Parkers take on the classic meat pie: the Parker Pie (lean beef mince) or chunky beef.

  • Wanting to play some games? Their kangaroo pie is especially nice, or you could try emu, buffalo, venison or crocodile.

  • Feeling dainty or just wanting something lighter? I’d choose the Rutherglen white (chicken, mushrooms and bacon in a creamy white wine gravy).

Don’t stress about the decision making.  Buy one to eat for lunch, and then fill an esky to take home and eat later.  Problem solved, at least while your freezer is fully stocked!

If you do stock up, don't forget to grab the fridge magnet menu.  It provides a helpful key to identifying pies.  

Parker Pies on Urbanspoon


  1. Wow, that sounds amazing! I heart pies!

    1. M and I are pie afficiandoes (sort of) as well. I want to try Gum Tree Pies, I've heard good things about them and I can buy then locally (at the Farmers Market).

  2. I ate supermarket party pies for dinner Friday. To me sometimes I just want junk food pies. Parkers Pies sound amazing!