I firmly believe that The Bay Horse make the best pies in Manchester. I've never actually eaten any other pies in Manchester but I don't see how they can be better than this. It's possible they make the best pies in the North West.
In the spring of 2013, Dave and I went to visit Manchester for a day as an easy place to have a date whilst he was home in Liverpool and I was in Lincoln having a break down over my dissertation and other nearly-graduate problems. We spent the day meandering around the city exploring art galleries, drinking tea at the beautiful North Tea Power (which will need it's own post) and thumbing through boxes in record and vintage shops. I'd been having a pretty horrible time that month and the day was becoming a perfect remedy, just the break I'd needed. Until after several hours in a gallery we suddenly realised we were starving and couldn't find anywhere to eat which is never a situation I cope well with because as you probably know, I bloody love food. After a lot of indecision we finally settled on a trendy looking bar in the northern quarter, hoping to be seduced by some over priced bar snacks only to be informed they weren't serving food. We left disheartened and too hungry to waste any more time researching our other options for dinner so hurriedly rushed into the next venue we saw, prepared to eat a bowl of microwaved chips each and then just move on with the rest of the day.
Instead, completing the unexpectedly perfect day we were having, we accidentally found a beautiful pub where we enjoyed what was probably the best pub food I'd ever experienced. So when Dave announced a few weeks ago he would be needing to visit the city again, my heart skipped a little beat at the thought of that pie and the lovely people who could make me another one.
After a couple of hours on google maps (that's how badly I wanted this food) we eventually identified the mystical land of pie as The Bay Horse Pub and for the better part of a fortnight, I did not stop thinking about it. On our long drive to the city, I started to worry, what if they'd changed chefs? What if I was just so caught up in dissertation stress that it seemed better than it really was? What if they've run out of pie?
Thankfully, they met all my expectations. From the outside it looks like a pretty standard pub but inside it is filled with indie personality. 'Hipster' has been the big interior design trend for drinking establishments the past few years but The Bay Horse has character and atmosphere that you just can't fake, no matter how many hundreds of pounds you spend on retro chairs and lightbulbs.
The pie menu comes from a specials board so we couldn't have the exact same meals as we did last year but they were just as good as we'd remembered. Dave ordered the curried vegetable pie and I opted for a more traditional lamb stew, both came with a large helping of hand cut chips and cost only £7 which is pretty incredible pricing for how much food we got. As the day had supposed to be about shopping in the city, we were also joined by the lovely John and Sarah who decided to sample some of the wider menu choosing a pulled pork sandwich and the poshest fish finger sandwich I've ever seen which consisted of two large lumps of battered fish inside a ciabatta.
I didn't manage to get as many photos as I'd have liked because other people in the pub were starting to look at me like I was insane and everyone else was getting impatient to eat their food (followed by impatient to start the very long drive home as we'd already used up two hours of the day looking at cameras) but hopefully this will give you a little taste of the place that I travelled 90 miles to visit. Yup, 90 miles for pie. Let's just take that as a sign of how good the food is and not that I need to take a serious look at my life choices.
Now that we've tracked it down, I'm not sure I'll be able to make another pie pilgrimage any time soon but as they've just started celebrating their 10th anniversary I'm confident they won't be going anywhere. And next time I am in Manchester, it will be at the top of my places to visit.
***For the record, I wasn't paid or compensated in any way to write this post, I just sound like I was. I'm just a girl who likes pie.