Saturday, 6 March 2010

Harry’s Café de Wheels

As this week has been officially designated as "British Pie Week" here is my contribution to the great pie debate - not without controversy as it could easily be argued that this isn't actually a British pie at all. However the fact is that the Aussies love their meat pies almost as much as the Brits and I feel that inclusion here can be justifed as, after all, it was the early Britsh settlers that brought the pie to Australia in the first place!

Harry’s Café de Wheels is a pie cart located in Woolloomooloo, a harbourside inner city suburb of Sydney, next to the finger wharfe. Established in 1938 it is as quintessential a Sydney icon as the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Originally known simply as "Harry's", the addition of "Cafe de Wheels" came about because of a historic requirement from the city council that mobile food stalls had to move a minimum of 12 inches (30 cm) each day.

Harry’s became a magnet for visiting celebrities (Frank Sinatra, Sir Richard Branson, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Pamela Anderson, Anthony Bourdain and Elton John have all eaten there) and the outsde is adorned with phots of its famous clientel. In 1974 Colonel Sanders paid a visit to Harry’s and reportedly ate three pies and peas while leaning on his walking stick in front of the caravan.

Harry's has become a unique part of the city’s nightlife and the place to get your post pub grub. A great way to soak up the excesses and it certainly beats a dodgy kebab.

We ate at Harry's Cafe de Wheels at lunchtime on New Years Eve, during our visit to Sydney in 2006/'07. We went for the famous "Tiger"(named after founder Harry "Tiger" Edwards); a meat pie topped with mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy.

The delicious deep flaky crust pie is filled with chunky beef in a rich peppery gravy, but it is the addition of smooth creamy mash, tasty peas and the puddle of extra gravy which make it difficult to top!

Well worth searching out if you ever find yourself in Sydney and in need of some quick, filling Aussie tucker!

For something more genuinely British try Sweeny & Todd Pie Shop in Reading, Berkshire. Something of a cross between an old style café and a quirky pub, it serves a good range of home-made pies to eat in or take away. The pies are fresh and really delicious with the added bonus of real ales and all at good value prices. A side order of tinned carrots is optional.

Harry's Cafe de Wheels
Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011, Australia

Sweeny & Todd
10 Castle Street, Reading RG1 7RD

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