Saturday, July 16, 2011

London Pasty Company

The London Pasty Company is a food cart located in the Cartlandia food pod in Southeast Portland, Oregon. Their signature menu item is the pasty, a British hand-held savory pastry filled with meat, potatoes, onions, and other savory seasonings. It looks a lot like a calzone and has the flavors of a pot pie.

I learned from cart owner Jane Hayes and her staff that the pasty was basically invented a few hundred years ago in the U.K. It was popular with the miners because they needed something filling that could also be eaten without utensils. The pasty is basically that meat pie that one can eat with their hands.

The ladies working the cart were extremely friendly and had the U.K. accent, so I knew I was getting something pretty authentic. For my first pasty experience, I had togo with their "Good Olde Meat and Potato" Traditional Pasty ($5.50), "a blend of round steak and seasonings, potato, carrots, onion, and sweet corn baked in a golden, shortcrust pastry."

I also noticed a bottle of HP Sauce on the counter. Upon doing further research, HP Sauce is a brown steak sauce popular in the U.K. and Canada.

HP Sauce
Traditional Pasty
My sample of the HP sauce
I thought the pasty was pretty good. It was traditional and simple, as it should be. The meat and potatoes were the star here in terms of flavor. The filling was seasoned well, to the point where the HP Sauce wasn't even needed. I enjoyed the carrots, corn, and onions, as they added color and more flavor to the filling.

The crust was also damn good. It was soft and delicate when biting into the pasty, but firm enough to hold the fillings inside. The fact that they make everything from scratch...I'm very impressed!

As a note, according to Wikipedia, HP Sauce has a malt vinegar base, "blended with tomato, dates, tamarind extract, sweetener and spices." I thought the tang of the HP Sauce goes well with the meat and potato pasty filling. But again, I didn't even need the sauce to enjoy this pasty.

Don't want the Traditional Pasty...or perhaps you want to try something else? Try their All-Day Breakfast Pasty ($5.50; filled with Otto's sausage, onions, mushrooms, eggs, baked beans, and Tillamook cheese), their Cheese & Onion Pasty ($5.50; freshly grated Tillamook cheddar cheese, golden potatoes, and onions), or their Sausage Roll ($2.75). Also, be on the lookout for any specials they may have.

The only disadvantage the London Pasty Company may have on my rating system: no innovation or a plethora of original recipes. It's really just three or four traditional (or unoriginal) food items.

But in their case, that might be a good thing. There is a ton of history in the pasty, and if the purpose of the food cart is to bring that traditional taste of the U.K. to the States, then they have done a fine job -- even going to lengths to get HP Sauce (which, as I said earlier, is popular in the U.K. and Canada). They didn't settle for A-1 Steak Sauce or your typical off-the-shelf BBQ sauce from America.

Because the pasty is not a common food to find in Oregon -- or the United States in general -- it makes me even more excited to return. Check out the London Pasty Company, order a pasty, and see how it measures up with your taste buds! 7.25/10

No comments:

Post a Comment