Pie Pie


THERE are few things that gladden a cynical food critic’s heart as much as walking into a cafe and seeing fresh pastry being rolled, floaty green spinach leaves being heaped, an actual genuine rolling pin in use.

There are cheery young Greek people behind the counter. There are muted and modern Farrow & Ball-ish colours on the wall, wooden floorboards, benches at the window and a proper kitchen-sized table for sitting at.

This table will turn out to be big enough for me to take a place at without in any way intruding into the personal space of the lone guy sitting at the other end.

Of course, the spinach pie I am watching being made, the rolled pastry flopping suggestively over the edge of the pan, isn’t going to be ready for at least another 45 minutes. And I am hungry now.

And as for the Famous Zagori Pie (feta, eggs, flour), the much-less-famous milky pie (semolina, cinnamon sugar and fresh milk); the not-famous-enough-to-have interesting-names-or-ingredients-detailed-on-the-menu mushroom pie, chicken pie and aubergine pie? All hand-written on the chalkboard. All handmade in here. All sold out. Well, it is after 2pm.

“Phone us in the morning and we will tell you when the Zagora Pie is coming out the oven,” says the smiley young man behind the counter seeing disappointment writ all over my well-worn coupon. And for a moment, and in a surge of goodwill to these optimistic young people who have clearly never heard of Brake Bros or other corner-cutting chiller food empires, I think I will do exactly that. Come back, say, at noonish. Have a coffee, eat some oven-hot pie, smash some plates. Maybe even tie those crazy pom-poms on my shoes.

Except that’s never going to happen. Instead I order all there is. One quarter of spinach pie and one quarter of feta pie. Literally clearing the shelves. And I suddenly realise there isn’t a single piece of pre-packaged, bought-in quick-profit crap for sale here. Not even a toilet roll-textured muffin.

Did I say I like this place? Now, as I am eating these pies, and I’ll come back to the flavours in a minute, I can’t help noticing that the two guys sitting drinking coffee at the window; the other guy eating pie and chatting with his pal in the big yellow armchair by that mirror, even the lone texter at my table, well, they all seem to be Greek too.

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Which is way more Greek people than I have ever seen in the same room in Glasgow before. This also gladdens the heart. Because what I didn’t mention to those young people at the counter in our brief chat is that I have passed this little corner cafe in all its very many guises over very many years. Nothing ever seems to survive here long. It’s surely one of the toughest gigs in town. That’s largely because since Glasgow turned its back on the River Clyde a century or so ago the poor old Broomielaw right outside hasn’t exactly been known for its passing trade.

And if anything is to succeed down in this culinary and cultural wasteland – no, the council’s efforts haven’t reached this far – then it will need to be a destination diner rather than relying on the curiosity of a few passers-by.

Worse, this area is surrounded by super-aggressive double yellows and extremely zealous traffic wardens. So it may be passed by thousands of cars every day – but not one can ever stop.

Anyway, I’m writing this as I eat at the big table. Spinach, crisp pastry, peppery fresh flavours. Puffy, crumbly, salty, sweet feta cheese and egg. And more fresh fine pastry. A chocolatey-thick Greek coffee made behind the counter on a little gas stove. Plinky, plonky, sleepy music playing. Even more Greek people coming in.

What’s not to like about this place? Absolutely nothing.

Pie Pie

52 Broomielaw


0141 222 2764

Menu: Pies, pies, glorious pies…well, Greek ones: spinach, feta and even the Famous Zagori pie all made on the premises. 4/5

Service: Young, friendly, enthusiastic and helpful. No complaints from me. 5/5

Atmosphere: Languid, small but still spacious, and very comfortable. 4/5

Price: Quarter of spinach pie £4; quarter of feta pie £3.20. Hard to beat. Takeaway boxes are available. 5/5

Food: There isn’t a thing for sale they don’t make, the pies are proper and simple and Greek. Extremely likeable. 7/10