Sex is cool, but have you ever bitten into the flaky pastry of a hot meat pie and had molten lava mince run down your forearm?
If you’re reading this, probably, which means you understand why sourcing the best meat pies known to man is not merely a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. As the quintessential Aussie road trip snack, it’s important you know where the very best maggot bags can be found at all points along your journey, which is why as part of our travel feature Neck of the Woods, we’re bringing you MC’s definitive guide to the best meat pies along the East Coast of Australia. Apologies in advance to our southern brothers and sisters in Victoria—we couldn’t make it over the border for research this time.
Milkwood Bakery – Berry, NSW South Coast
The beef bourguignon from this bakery on the main strip is a killer. That’s it, spilling its delicious innards in the photo above. If you’re coming from Sydney and heading south, stop at Berry and get this pie for breakfast, run 200 metres up the road and grab fresh cinnamon donuts from the Berry Donut Van, and then continue on—probably in the direction of Hayden’s Pies in Ulladulla for your next meal.
Barnett’s Bakery – Crescent Head, Mid North Coast NSW
Everyone knows the famous bakery at Crescent Head, and anyone who’s anyone knows that the honey chilli chicken pie (not pictured) is a hot contender for their best offering. The infamous flavour is usually all gone by midday on the weekends though, so schedule your post-surf refuel accordingly. Follow it up with a caramel tart and you’re done.
Oliver’s Pies – Avalon, Sydney
If you’re in search of one of the best meat pies in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, look no further than Oliver’s. While they do an exceptionally good steak, bacon and cheese, if you’re feeling a little gourmet, may we suggest the Mexican pie? That’s it in the picture and boy, are those puppies fresh. Fun fact: they won the top prize in the 2017 Official Great Aussie Pie Competition for their seafood pie (smoked salmon and kingfish, white sauce, boiled egg and parsley). If you’re into that sort of thing.
Upper Crust – Collaroy, Sydney
Look at this chicken and asparagus pie and tell us you’re not famished. They fired up the ovens for the first time back in 1948, and they’re still going strong today. If you’re looking out for the shop, you’ll recognise it from its yellow and green paint job and the line out the shop and down the street. You don’t get a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars for nuthin.
Hayden’s Pies – Ulladulla
Hayden’s Pies is ranked the #1 restaurant in Ulladulla and that is absolutely correct. It’s the essential pit-stop on any south coast trip, and they’ve got so many flavours it’s impossible for us to narrow down to just one recommendation. Go for one of the old favourites or be daring and get a Peking Duk, emu, kangaroo, or crocodile pie. Finish things off with a lemon curd donut—if you’re there early enough to grab one.
Fosters Bakery – Mermaid Beach, QLD
The go-to bakery in Mermaid Beach, and don’t try to tell us otherwise. See that lamb and rosemary pie in the photo above? That’s the flavour you need to get, and if you polish it off with a strawberry tart, you’ll be on Cloud 9.
Flour and Co – Toowoon Bay, NSW
The best things about pies is that almost any beverage goes with it. Lemonade? Yep. Ice cold beer? You betcha? Freshly brewed java? Yes please, and we’ll only take it from Flour and Co. cafe on the Central Coast. Aside from great coffee, they’ve got some 10 out of 10 pie options, along with a whole stack of sweet treats to down afterwards.
Heatherbraes Pies – Raymond Terrace, Mid North Coast
Oh, too good for a chain store pie are you? You won’t be after you try the Bushman’s Pie from Heatherbraes in Raymond Terrace. If you’re heading north from Sydney, Raymond Terrace is that part of the journey where the boredom/munchies start to set in, so you may as well pull over and get a hearty dose of your meat and few veg with this chopped beef, onion, bacon, carrot, parsnip and mushroom feast.
Hearthfire – Bellingen, Mid North Coast NSW
The crust on these things is really something else. Recommendation lies firmly with the chicken and leek pie, but there’s some mouth-watering vegetarian options too. You’ll find Bellingen’s best bakery conveniently tucked down the side of the pub, and about 100 metres from the entrance to the brewery. Leave the pastries, go wash this down with a cold one at either fine establishment.
Byron Bay Hot Bread Kitchen
Byron’s best pie shop has saved many Monster Children staff members’ lives on multiple occasions, mostly due to the fact that it’s open 24 hours a day and is a surefire way to soak up whatever amount of alcohol you’ve just consumed. We’re almost certain that the bakery’s location just across the road from the Northern is no accident. Don’t mess around—stick with plain beef or chicken and make sure you get yourself a Powerade, you bloody mess.
Hamlet’s Pies – Manly Corso, Sydney
There’s something magical about this place. When the sun goes down and the night owls come out—and drink a week’s worth of recommended booze intake in just a few hours—to enjoy the local watering holes, you’ll find them staggering to Hamlet’s for a pie and oh, what a pie it is. Best eaten piping hot, because how else are you going to remember a delicious meal the morning after if not with a scalded mouth?
If you think the Pacific Highway’s new bypass is going to stop us from hopping off the motorway and detouring through Buladelah for one of these, you’re wrong. Get a vanilla slice for second course.
Coolangatta Pie Shop
One of the Queensy blokes from our office yelled ‘Coolangatta Pie Shop’ across the office when asked for a QLD pie recommendation. He couldn’t say much about what the best flavour was or the best dessert options, which tells us one of two things: One, the pies aren’t that memorable. Two, he’s been on the sauce every time he’s been there, and any one of their delicious pies will do. We’re going with two. Please enjoy this lo-fi iPhone photo of a Coolie pie perched on a Louis Vuitton bag and know that it was the best image we could source on the internet.
Country Kitchen – Woodburn
Best chicken and leek around. Don’t believe us? Take aspiring engineer and Tripadvisor user 459biancab’s word for it then, who says, ‘Buttery flaky pastry yet structurally sound.’