At home, if we want to order in, we usually have a set number of places we order from. This weekend, at home after a very tiring week, I was too exhausted to cook, and I’d recently heard someone raving about this home delivery service that specializes in hand pies. Hand Pies has two hubs—one in Gurgaon, the other in Delhi (but catering only to South Delhi)—and offers an array of hand pies. Let’s get some, I suggested to my husband, and he agreed.
Hand Pies, as is obvious from its menu, is heavily skewed towards sweet fillings, with everything from banana Nutella chocolate to peanut butter jelly to strawberry and cream cheese, blueberry cream cheese, and apple with custard. The savoury hand pies are limited to a grand total of three: aloo with chimichurri sauce, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, and minced chicken with oyster sauce.
The idea of potato and chimichurri didn’t appeal to me much (somehow potato in a pie always makes me think of samosas, and if I’m going to have samosas, I’d rather have samosas, not something resembling them). So, willy-nilly, both of us ordered two portions each of the chicken hand pie and the pork hand pie. And, as dessert, one hand pie each. My deep love for apple pie led me to order the apple and custard hand pie, while my husband (who is mad about dark chocolate) ordered the 5 star dark chocolate one. We ordered online: the interface allows you to choose whether you want to order in Gurgaon or Delhi, and then which neighbourhood—so it’s easy to find out if they deliver to your part of town. Because this was the first time we were ordering, we also got a coupon for Rs 300: all one had to do was type in FREE, and that was it.
Even though it was a damp, rainy day, our hand pies arrived in good time: about 30 minutes, which is their usual estimated time. Along with a generous number of paper napkins came the hand pies, each in a neat little thin cardboard wrapper. Also included were two little plastic containers each of a green chutney-like sauce and a red sauce (which I first mistook for tomato ketchup). And a similar plastic container with the custard for my apple pie.
On to the pies, now.
These hand pies were each about 5” x 1 ½” in size. I began with the chicken in oyster sauce. The pastry (and this was true for all the pies) was disappointing, to say the least: too thin, not crisp (even though it was obviously supposed to be puff pastry or flaky pastry), and just not quite right. In fact, it reminded me rather more of a badly-made samosa dough than anything else. What put me off further was the very definite sweetness of the pastry. I assume they make all the pies using the same pastry, and since (barring three types) all their hand pies are sweet, they must be adding sugar to the pastry. Fine if you’re having a sweet pie, not so nice if it’s a savoury one.
A quick run-down:
1. Chicken and oyster sauce: Rather coarsely minced chicken cooked with oyster sauce (though, to be honest, it could have been anything; I couldn’t discern much oyster sauce there). Nothing exceptional, and it could have done with a little more seasoning to counteract the overly sweet pastry. I found this a little insipid, so tried having it with some of the green chutney. This chutney, surprisingly, turned out to be really good. Not very hot, but with a lovely flavour of green chillies—and just the thing one needed to pep up the chicken.
2. Pulled pork in BBQ sauce: I had high hopes of this one (but then, I’m partial to pork). The pork was tender enough, and tasted fine, if a little too dry. The one thing that had gone wrong was the texture: besides being dry, it seemed to have been put through the mincer rather than gently pulled with forks. After which, it appeared to have been pressed a little too hard between sheets of pastry. The result was a very compact filling surrounded by all that sweet pastry. I tried some of this with the ketchup-like sauce provided (it seemed to be a made-at-home ketchup: nice), which complemented it pretty well.
3. Apple and custard: I had assumed—from the name—that the apple and the custard would both comprise the filling for this hand pie. No such thing, of course, as I realized as soon as I unpacked the pies, since there was that little plastic container of custard. The apple was good enough, flavoured as it was with cinnamon. I would have liked it cooked a little less, with some of the bite of the fruit still there (this had been reduced to a sweet mush). The custard was absolutely nothing to write home about: thin, pale yellow, and unappealing.
4. 5 Star Dark Chocolate: While this oozed good, dark chocolate, I thought this a little insubstantial. I mean, two bites, and it was gone. My husband seemed to not mind, though, so I guess that was what mattered.
On the whole, I found this an iffy thing. The concept’s not bad (though I do wish they offered more savoury hand pies, especially vegetarian ones—a nice mushroom one, or something with broccoli, peas, cheese, etc—would’ve been welcome). The problem is with the execution, the portion sizes, the pastry, the textures of the filling.
Oh, and yes. The Rs 300 coupon we were supposed to be availing of when we placed our order? They didn’t give us that discount, so we ended up paying the full amount, Rs 754. My husband later phoned to find out why that discount hadn’t been given, and the person on the phone said, “You’ve couldn’t have entered it correctly.” After some urging, they agreed that they’d check, and promised to call back within half an hour. I’m writing this three days later, and they still haven’t called.
P.S. I was just about satisfied with the amount I ate; I wasn’t full, but I wasn’t hungry either. My husband, even though he’d had three hand pies, was still so hungry that he had to make a sandwich for himself. This, mind you, when he’s not one of the big eaters.
That was an interesting food review, I can sure understand your disappointment. Sometimes one stumbles upon some delicious pies, I have tasted some yummy ones in Bombay’s but then these don’t seem to be around for too long, either the shop closes down or they stop selling them, It could be that the chef’s who are the experts move on to greener pastures.
I haven’t eaten too many savoury pies in Delhi (in fact, offhand I can’t recall any others, unless one counts calzones – and that is different), but there are a few places here which do nice sweet pies. Bagels Cafe (I think that was the name? They’ve shut down) had a fabulous apple pie, chock-full of apple and spice, with a brilliant streusel topping. Even Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf used to have a very nice apple crumble – and I remember, when I was in my first job with a hospitality company, two of my favourite in-house products were pies: a lemon meringue pie and a honey-walnut one.
Sigh. Now I’m in the mood for pie. Good pie.
Like Shilpi, I can understand your dismay – these pies sounded particularly bad. I also agree with you about potatoes in pies – I’d rather have samosas or even what we call ‘puffs’, which is basically potato and peas in puff pastry.
Right now, though, you’ve made me want to eat either samosas or puffs, and sip a hot cup of tea. It’s raining outside – perfect samosa and chai and curl up with a good book weather. Now if it only weren’t for pesky things such as ‘work’. :)
Anu, Shilpi put me in the mood for pies, and you’ve put me in the mood for samosas! :-) It’s sunny outside, but we’ve had a lot of rain the past week (the monsoon has well and truly arrived), so I’ve been craving time enough to sit by the window with a good book, a cup of masala chai and some samosas. But, since I don’t care for anything but home-made samosas, and don’t have the time or energy to make them, I’ve been thinking pakoras instead. Thinly potato ones. Onion ones. Single leaves of spinach ones. And someone on a foodie forum I frequent shared her recipe: julienned potatoes, finely chopped onion, coriander, mint and green chillies, tossed with salt, amchoor and just enough besan to bind everything together. She’d posted a photo too, and they looked sensational.
:) Well, apple pies are my weakness, and here in MA, there are places where you can get really, really good ones, but they are seasonal. Now, samosas, I have to make them myself if I want to eat them, and I’m too lazy to do so. But oh, what I wouldn’t give for a good samosa right now. (Or two, or three…)
Mmmm. Which reminds me, I must ask my mum for her recipe for mattar samosas. She used to make the most fabulous ones when I was a kid… that spoilt me, I think, for halwai-waale samose. :-)
OK, OK, now enough you two, I cannot take it anymore, I now want to eat all that is sinful. HA!HA!
And when you get it (the recipe), do share it with me. :)
I certainly will! :-)