Every pie is inherently a surprise by virtue of its crust”, says Janet Jackson in her book Pie: A Global History. Well it may surprise you to learn that there’s truth to the “Sing a Song of Sixpence” rhyme that goes “… four and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie”. Back in the Middle Ages, animated pies were a form of entertainment at lavish banquets. Royal courts were amused by living things popping out of grand pies – whether birds, frogs or even jesters.
But those were just for show. Ever since the Neolithic Period, more common folk have appreciated pies for their practicality. The pastry casing meant they could be carried like a lunchbox, and kept meat preserved. Pies were known to last for weeks, even months, so were often sent on ships to foreign shores as gifts from different countries.
While pies are still used for gags in comedy, serious lovers of the humble chicken pie want theirs with zero surprises.
Reform Social & Grill
The hearty portion at this gastropub will make Brits feel right at home. Their pie fillings change daily, and it’s chicken and mushroom at least once a week. Try any of their four special offerings which includes cheese and onion and the unique yet moreish blackberry and apple pie – it may sound odd but it’s delicious, really.
Where: Reform Social & Gril, The Lakes
Contact: +971 4 454 2638,
Scoff a pie amid calm aquatic hues and views at this yacht-side restaurant known mostly for seafood. Head Chef Anthony Reilly trained under legendary Chef Marco Pierre White, so this is posh nosh. The chicken ‘pie of the day’, from the British Classics section of the menu, is made with shortcrust pastry and comes with hand-cut chips and, of course, mushy peas.
Where: Senara, Palm Jumeirah.
Contact: +971 4 451 6460, website
Pull up a stool at this relaxed spot in Le BHV Marais, City Walk. Chef Izu likes to know the source of his ingredients, so you’re guaranteed fresh, flavourful food. The puff pastry is homemade, and the cubed chicken breast is cooked with red onion, carrots, celery and kale in a Béchamel sauce. Thyme, garlic and black pepper provide the seasoning.
Where: Izu Brasserie and Bakery, City Walk
Contact: +971 4 403 3030, website
Baker & Spice
Marvel at the views of the Dubai fountains and Burj Khalifa as you tuck into buttery puff pastry encasing poached chicken cooked with mushrooms, spinach and cream at Baker & Spice’s Souq Al Bahar branch. Have it with chunky chips and homemade ketchup, or one of their seasonal salads, made from organic and locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Wash it down with one of their many yummy iced teas.
Where: Baker & Spice
Contact: +971 4 427 9856,