You’ve got to love a place with a cunning plan and a niche idea – and Pie & Vinyl in Southsea has both in spades.
And it does what it says on the tin – pie, mash and mushy peas served in the congenial setting of a retro record shop. I’m all for supporting independent record shops – particularly when they serve me one of my guilty pleasures.
This isn’t fine dining – the pies are bought in, and the mash and peas are served from a hotplate. But the food is well-chosen; decent Pieminister and Buckwells pies, which can be eaten alone, or accompanied by a £6.50 meal deal (pie, mash, mushy peas and gravy or liquor).
There are a couple of dozen pies on the menu, but not all are available every day. Vegetarians get two or three to choose from – the three cheese, red onion and spinach pasty is tasty, as is the oozingly-rich Wildshroom and asparagus (wild mushrooms, asparagus, shallots, white wine and cracked black pepper). And the gravy’s good as well – thick, well-seasoned and yay, vegetarian!
Half of Pie & Vinyl’s charm is the setting. It seats no more that about 16, and it’s snug to say the least. So save your secret business deals for another setting. Tables, chairs and charmingly-mismatched crockery look like they’ve come from your gran’s parlour. And the cordials – served in eccentric teapots – are the kind of thing you’d have taken on your picnic in the 1950s. These include dandelion and burdock, rhubarb and rosehip, and the intriguingly-named sarsaparilla, which was described by my rather brisk friend as tasting like cough medicine. Whatever, it definitely cleared my tubes, matron! And for £1.75 you’ll get three or four glasses out of the pot.
The front part of the shop has poster art for sale (I know I’m going to end up buying that PJ Harvey and John Parish one before too much longer), and the records live in the tiny back room. And yes, it’s vinyl, which has never really gone away in certain quarters. If you’re desperate for a new turntable, you can buy one of those as well.
The guys who run Pie & Vinyl are friendly, and have clearly found their clientele – the slightly bohemian Southsea crowd, with a preponderance of students who gravitate towards cool new places to hang out, along with the 40-somethings who remember vinyl from the first time around. They’re also promoting the café for meet and greets for musicians who might be playing the Wedgewood Rooms that evening. A colleague of mine is still hyperventilating after being no more than a foot from David Gedge of The Wedding Present … Takes all sorts!
Check the website for opening hours, which do vary, including a later closing time on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Pie & Vinyl
61 Castle Road