Pie is a British institution that has been around for centuries, and as a nation we certainly know how to make and eat a proper pie. It should come as no surprise then, that there are loads of restaurants in London that are dedicated to pie, or at least serve up the good stuff.
The first kind of pie recipe recorded in history came from Rome though, when the dough was made from rye flour and oil, and was baked with goat’s cheese and honey. While this was a great idea, the north of Europe didn’t have ample access to olive oil, but they did have fats like lard and butter. With Roman ideas and the ingredients available, cooks created a different type of pie dough.
These new pies were typically filled with meat, and soon it was discovered that they were ideal for storing food for long voyages and journeys at sea – gone was the need to carry livestock on board and employ a butcher. However the pastry was not designed to be eaten, it was used as a makeshift pot for cooking, and then thrown away once the filling was eaten.
Soon after, all sorts of game meat were being used in the pies, from rabbits to deer innards (nomble in French, which is where the phrase ‘humble pie’ came from). In the 16th century, ‘surprise’ pies were all the rage and raucous parties centred around watching live frogs and squirrels burst out of pastry.
The pie has drastically evolved since its beginning as a disposable container and is now a million pound industry in the UK. Nowadays, we have many varieties made from different types of pastry (which can thankfully be eaten) and all sorts of fascinating fillings, from plant-based to traditional steak and kidney.
On the hunt for the best pies in the capital? We've done all the hard work for you and compiled a list of the best pies in London, from Peckham to Mayfair and everywhere in between.
London’s best pies
We’ve sourced some of London’s best pies and have certainly covered our bases when it comes to the delicious dish, featuring everything from classic versions to contemporary spin-offs, as well as high-end takes featuring the luxury likes of truffle shavings.
Epic Pies, St. Paul's
Why: This family-run restaurant in the City offers a whole range of sweet and savoury pies, including a full English breakfast pie. Yep, you read that right. Hungry punters can tuck into a fried egg, two sausages, two rashers of bacon, sautéed mushrooms and baked beans, all of which comes in a puff pastry tart base. It doesn't get more British than that!
Where: 53-55 Carter Lane, EC4V 5AE
The Ivy, Covent Garden
Why: The original Ivy is a well-known London establishment, so it’s only fitting that we mention the legendary Shepherd’s pie, which manages to ooze comfort and luxury at the same time (courtesy of melted Mayfield cheese). Come here for consistently well-executed pie, plus of course the stunning brasserie’s enviable position in the heart of Theatreland is a big draw.
Where: 1-5 West Street, WC2H 9NQ
Why: Richard Corrigan’s eponymous restaurant is a delightful choice for meat enthusiasts, the menu’s reinvention of traditional British and Irish fare, and the wild game pie – served with red cabbage and pickled squash - is certainly a hearty representation of a classic done well and with flair. Be prepared for generous portions.
Where: 28 Upper Grosvenor Street, W1K 7EH
The Pie Room at Holborn Dining Room, Holborn
Image: John Carey
Why: The Pie Room is a must for any proper pastry enthusiast, with entire menus dedicated to the humble dish. The pies on offer include curried mutton, steak and kidney, chicken and tarragon, hand raised pork, plus there’s a tasting menu of others. You’ll have to allow 30 mins as each pie is handmade to order, served fresh from the oven.
Where: No. 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN
Piebury Corner, King’s Cross
Why: This one is great for indecisive punters who like a variety of choices, as Piebury Corner certainly offers seemingly every pie you could think of, from exciting vegetarian fillings of chickpea and butternut squash, to ox cheek and venison. While Piebury do fun renditions of jerk chicken encased in pastry, the restaurant does equally smashing traditional pies filled with the likes of steak and ale.
Why: 3 Caledonian Road, N1 9DX
J Sheekey, Covent Garden
Why: Even if you’re not hankering for a pie J Sheekey is an outstanding choice, and if you are, then you’re in for a real treat at this historical establishment. The centuries old seafood restaurant is a favourite among famous faces and you’ll understand why when you order the highly-praised fish pie, decadently filled with well-sourced cod, salmon, and a creamy sauce.
Where: 28-32 St Martin's Court, WC2N 4AL
The Clock House, Peckham
Why: Looking for pie in south London? Head down to The Clock House, a gastropub where you will find some delicious pastry offerings such as a trout and cod fish pie served with whole langoustine and buttered savoy cabbage. Alternatively, warm up with the steak pie which comes with creamy mashed potatoes.
Where: 196a Peckham Rye, SE22 9QA
The Wigmore, Marylebone
Why: The Wigmore is a resplendent heritage pub style affair that successfully fuses modern and vintage, and you’ll be more than happy with a hearty serving of the venison, carrot, and parsnip pie with a happy dollop of mash on the side. The crust is wonderfully golden and flaky, while the filling is wholesome and rich.
Where: 13 Langham Place, Upper Regent Street, W1B 1JA
The Windmill, Mayfair
Why: The Windmill is a rarity among a dying breed of pubs that hasn’t let modern times change its winning formula, and for that we are glad – as the pub continues to serve up wonderfully comforting pies stuffed with steak and ale, mutton, chicken, and all the classics. Add the pub’s smashing selection of beers and you’re all set for a great meal.
Where: 6-8 Mill Street, W1S 2AZ
Butchers’ Hook and Cleaver, Farringdon
Why: Conveniently located within close proximity to Farringdon tube and nearby to Smithfield Market, the Butcher’s Hook and Cleaver is a proper Fuller’s Ale and Pie House. The pub offers a great variety of pies such as beef brisket with a Latin twist, an Indian chicken madras fusion, and a veggie suet pie. While there are some amazing globally-inspired pies, the classic meat and mushy pea pie always goes down a treat with a quality lager.
Why: 61 West Smithfield, EC1A 9DY
The Draft House Birdcage, Bethnal Green
Why: The Draft House Birdcage is a lovely spot for a smashing pie, and its location just off the Columbia Road Flower Market makes for a great pub atmosphere on a Sunday afternoon. You can tuck into a wholesome chicken, leek, and ham hock pie replete with creamy mash and gravy for a reasonable price – and the beer selection is top-notch too.
Where: 80 Columbia Road, E2 7QB
The Guinea Grill, Mayfair
Why: The Guinea Grill is a fine steakhouse establishment so it only makes sense that the restaurant offers up decadent hunks of pie – made from those stunning cuts of meat. The pies are topped with a suet-crusted lid and have been for decades, as punters consistently come back for more of the restaurant’s signature steak, kidney, and mushroom pie.
Where: 30 Bruton Place, W1J 6NL
The Jugged Hare, City
Why: The Jugged Hare is a carnivores dream and the pies are resplendently filled with hearty portions of high-quality game. Portions are generous and punters are always keen to find out what the pie of the day is. Patrons can expect the likes of succulent Castlemead chicken and chorizo with black cabbage and a gorgeous gravy to be mopped up with creamy mash.
Why: 49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA
Quo Vadis, Soho
Why: Quo Vadis is a delightful historic gem serving up traditional British fare, with a special pie of the day featured on the hand-drawn menus. The eclectic restaurant and member’s club oozes class and you can’t go wrong with rich meats and intense flavours encased in a gorgeously buttery, crispy pie.
Where: 26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho
Why: Only somewhere as glamorous as Bob Bob Ricard would add a Champagne filling to a chicken and mushroom pie. To add to the decadence, the pastry topping is branded with the restaurant’s name and served alongside truffle gravy – a superb posh pie. Plus, you can push the 'press for Champagne' button for fizz to go with your food.
Where: 1 Upper James Street, W1F 9DF
The Good Mixer, Camden
Why: If you’re a music culture nerd, then this pub is the place to get your fill of some hearty pie and a stellar pint of beer. The Good Mixer is a well-known Camden haunt of music legends such as Oasis, Blur, and the late Amy Winehouse. The pub has been given a revival and is a lovely spot to chow down on some Pieminster pies and reminisce about how good music used to be.
Where: 30 Inverness Street, NW1 7HJ
Maggie Jones's, Kensington
Why: With its hotchpotch of trinkets, high-backed antique pews, wicker baskets, dried flowers and dripping candles in wine bottles, Maggie Jones’s is old-school Britain personified. So is its menu of crowd-pleasing pies such as creamed fish, root vegetable, and a gorgeous chicken and artichoke pie (which happened to be Lord Snowdon’s favourite dish at the restaurant).
Where: 6 Old Court Place, W8 4PL
Fox & Anchor, Barbican
Why: This classy boozer ticks all the boxes for a proper pub, with cosy interiors, great beers, and of course smashing pies. The chicken, ham, and leek shortcrust pie is a highlight of the menu at the Fox & Anchor, served with winter crushed roots and a gorgeously rich gravy. If you’re a Sunday lunch goer, you’ll be pleased with the lamb shank and truffle mash pie offering.
Where: 115 Charterhouse Street, EC1M 6AA
Simpson’s in the Strand, Covent Garden
Why: Simpson’s in the Strand is a grand, Grade II-listed spectacle of a restaurant which has played host to famous patrons such as Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill – a decidedly elegant option for a humble plate of pie then. British fare is excellently executed at this establishment and the pie offering is no different - think Welsh lamb loin shepherd’s pie or steak and kidney encased in a wonderfully flaky pastry.
Where: 100 Strand, WC2R 0EW
Image: Jodi Hinds
Why: Kanishka only does one pie and it is unlike anything you will find anywhere else. Chef-owner Atul Kochhar was the first Indian chef to hold a Michelin star and it’s easy to see why with his innovative approach to the baked dish. His take on the classic involves a flavourful tikka masala and cumin scented berry compote – a must try.
Where: 17-19 Maddox Street, W1S 2QH
Love warming, wholesome foods? You’ll want to check out our guide to the best mac ‘n’ cheese in London.