'Slightly offbeat' - Starters at Pieminister, Leeds (Photo by the author)

FOOD & DRINK | Yes Pieminister… [Pieminister, Duncan Street, Leeds]

A grand entrance at Pieminister, Leeds (Photo by the author)

The corner plot of Duncan Street in Leeds seemed to become a new shop every few months until a pun-loving, one-note chain eatery took up residence there in 2015. ANNIKA JONES finds herself in The Thick of It… 

I’ve only heard good things about Pieminister and yet never felt compelled to visit. Assuming, like those before it, it wouldn’t last, three years on, it’s become a supper-time staple in the city. I’m not only wrong, but in the minority it seems.

“You’ve never been to Pieminister?” My boss asks, before telling me that not only has he eaten every pie on the menu, but they also catered his wedding. A wave of sadness hits me as I realise that I’ve never liked anything as much as this man likes pies, and off I go to become a fellow convert.

Pieminister, Leeds: 'a decent amount of booth seating' (Photo by the author)
Pieminister, Leeds: ‘a decent amount of booth seating’ (Photo by the author)

The venue has a decent amount of booth seating, and somehow manages to fit in a bar area too. From the outside it has always looked a little cramped, and with the dark decor it feels a little like the walls are closing in on you. This feeling is soon brushed aside by the sunny service, which was pretty much faultless throughout the evening.

'Slightly offbeat' - from the Starters Menu at Pieminister, Leeds (Photo by the author)
‘Slightly offbeat’ – from the Starters Menu at Pieminister, Leeds (Photo by the author)

The ‘small plates’ which serve as starters, offer some interesting options. We go for variety – Halloumi chips, pigs in blankets and spicy cauliflower. Three different cuisines on one board.  They make a perfectly edible, if slightly offbeat start to the meal.

The autumn menu offers up classic favourites like ‘Moo’ (steak and ale), alongside newer creations such as Saag Pie-neer. The real reboot here is the new menu option, ‘Fully Loaded’ which puts your pie centre-plate and surrounds it with loaded fries.

Heidi Hi at Pieminister, Leeds (Photo by the author)
Heidi Hi at Pieminister, Leeds (Photo by the author)

I opt for the Heidi – goats cheese, sweet potato, spinach and red onion, with El Toro loaded fries – braised beef, chorizo, jalapenos, olives and cheese sauce. If that seems like a lot of ingredients on one plate, you should know that there’s also gravy to be added.

While I’m sure that there were a lot of tasty, well cooked elements here, I was struggling to taste any of them all piled up on each other. I thought maybe I had simply chosen badly, but seeing my pie-loving friend struggling with her meal – a mushroom and asparagus pie, with the vegetarian loaded fries option – some seriously salty spiced cauliflower, curry sauce, pickles and sriracha, I knew it was a conceptual problem.

Pieminister has built a solid reputation on the quality of a single product. While I’m usually the first to applaud inventiveness, this particular attempt takes away from what should be the shining star of every meal there; the pie. I imagine if, like my boss, you’ve tried every option already and want to mix things up, this might appeal to you.

For me, on my first visit, a mouthful of goats cheese, beef and olive wasn’t really what I signed up for. Thankfully the option to keep it simple is still on the menu, and for Pieminister’s sake I hope won’t be retired anytime soon.

Annika Jones is theCV’s restaurant critic. She visited Pieminister in Leeds. For details or bookings, click here.


  1. My suburb is simply swimming with new hospitality offerings. Fortunately we have the Roundhay irresponsible’s Maudlin O’Booze to keep us up to date with his reviews.

    Here he visits another outlet strong on pies

    New Pop-up café opens in Roundhay

    The Irresponsible is proud to announce the opening of a new pop-up cafe in Roundhay – the Larkhill Ladle situated in an abandoned garage off Larkhill Walk on the Brackenwood estate.

    The café has a distinctly authentic artisan ambience offering a range of commercially produced sliced white breads, Pukka and Wrights pies, processed meats together with a range of instant coffees. The café also sells a range of tinned meats, soups and fruits. “Fresh” meats are also occasionally available sourced from a man with a van.

    The crew of David and Charles, both local residents, also offer outside catering and are especially skilled in barbeques.

    When the Irresponsible’s catering correspondent, Maudlin O’Booze, attended with his companion the other day the two plastic garden chairs and table were occupied so he and his companion stood to consume his delightfully prepared spam fritters, baked beans and chips, sourced from a range of well- known economy outlets served with plastic cutlery and on a reusable paper plate.

    His companion partook of the poached egg on toast special. He found the egg to be delightfully dry but appealingly off set by the white toast beneath which was generously doused in full fat margarine.

    To follow he consumed a challengingly firm Arctic Roll offered straight from the fridge whilst his companion chose the boxed apple pie and bowl of custard.

    With two bottles of Coke and two Mellow Birds and Coffee Mate to take away the bill came to a comfortable £7.50.

    Due to demand the Ladle anticipates extending into an additional neighbouring property in the near future

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