I’ve debated as to whether I should write about my experience at Pie in The Sky, Cowan, or just let it pass and not worry. Then I remembered the oath I took when becoming a food blogger “I will share an unbiased view of my experience no matter what it is.”
Food blogging is a serious business as you know, with a strict code. 😉
So here it is. I’m just going to lay it out as it happened and let you be the judge… Before I too will judge it in a score out of 10…
I was in Sydney for the Easter long weekend and decided that I wanted to squeeze in one last food place before I left. As always there were plenty of options but I had wanted to try Pie in the Sky for a while now. It as out of my way and would add an hour or more to my trip but doing it now would be easier than attempting it another time.
So I bit the bullet and did it. Pie in the Sky has a bit of a following by people who really love the place. It’s very popular with motorcycle riders and other car enthusiasts who like to take a ride/drive along the winding roads surrounding it.
I pulled in and got a car park easy, which was good as it looked busy. I could already see that there was a line up at the counter, but that can be a really good indication of the food. A line doesn’t worry me as, unless I’m in hurry but that’s not their fault. Unless of course there is only a line up due to their management of customers, then that’s a problem.
This line was acceptable though and gave me time to decide on what I would eat.
As I looked at the board deciding what to eat I see that they have some pretty fancy pies on offer, like the Roasted Pumpkin and Fetta. But I decided to go for their pie, mashed potato, peas and gravy as sort of a comparison to the Tiger Pie from Harry’s Cafe de Wheels.
Decision made so I zoned out a little and looked around at the motorbikes, cars and people. I was in line for about 15 minutes. As the guy in front of me got to the beginning of the line he called another family over so his order just doubled. But no points lost here for Pie in the Sky as that’s not their fault.
So far so good.
My time to order had come, I ordered, I paid, I was handed a buzzer. This confused me, why was I given a buzzer?! I gather everything is premade and I can see there are plenty of plain beef pies in pie warmer. It must have shown on my face as I was then told by the guy serving me that I would be buzzed when it was ready.
Ok, I can wait a little longer. So I wandered around, looked at the view and took a couple of photos.
All the tables outside were dirty with used plates, mugs, and the like or had people at them so after about 10 minutes I started to get bored and headed inside for a look. You could see into the kitchen, the whole feel of the place was like a school camp ground and the type of facilities they would have there.
But, you know me, that’s not a worry, it’s about the food and maybe I would see the charm of the place once I was biting into what I’m told are great pies.
So I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
And I waited.
I must admit my patience was wearing a little thin, but I still had a good pie, mash, peas, and gravy to look forward to.
So I waited some more.
I watched others go to the counter and enquire about when their order would be ready so I gave the staff a break by not doing the same. I watched as plate after plate of Fish & Chips went out, all freshly cooked to order. Large order after large order was served when my single meal still wasn’t prepared.
I do get the theory of serving in order of purchase but I also think if all the pieces of a meal are sitting in warmers just waiting for someone to order them then a single order should be pushed out asap. While the larger family orders are served after the fried food is cooked.
Anyway. I waited… and waited,
Finally after a good 35 minutes or more I was buzzed!! Hooray!!
I went to counter, slid my buzzer across it and waited to be handed my food… but I wasn’t. Another guy, really nicely, said “Sorry, but your order isn’t ready yet. We were just wondering if you wanted the pepper steak pie or the plain beef?” I informed him it was the beef, took the buzzer back, and sat down again.
More timed ticked by. Another 5 minutes. Frustration levels rising as they shouldn’t have to ask what I wanted, I’d ordered already.
He then made his way out of the kitchen sheepishly towards me. He apologised and then said unfortunately the guy out the front had sold my pie to someone else.
I guess it was sold as a take away pie as they both must come from the same pie oven. He asid they had other flavours available and started listing them off but by this time I was quite frankly over it all. Plus I really did want to taste their beef pie. That’s the first pie I like to taste from any new pie shop to see how well they do a standard pie.
I just asked if I could have a refund. He said yes, he could do that for me.
So he took me over to the counter and proceeded to process my refund. He handed me $15 dollars and apologised again.
Again there was frustration, with a little understanding. It was a public holiday and they had a few signs around informing customers of a 10% surcharge due to that. On any other day $15 is what I would have paid, but not today, I paid a 10% surcharge so had to ask for that back too.
I’ll notch that up to every other day not being a public holiday, be a little annoyed that I had to ask for it, but also give him a break for it. He happily refunded it, depite being confused as to how to do it on the system.
A little annoyance in regards to the surcharge, and I know it’s a win for me, but they charged me $1.30 as a 10% surcharge on $15… I’m not sure who’s working that maths out.
So all in all I spent about an hour at Pie in the Sky, after going an hour out of my way to get there, and didn’t even get to try their food.
I wasn’t sure how to score this at first, but for the sake of consistency I will give it a score.
Maybe Pie in the Sky had charm, maybe once you eat their pies you get the charm that is their setup. Maybe Pie in the Sky has great pies, maybe they have other great food. Maybe my experience is a rare occurrence. Maybe the outside dining area isn’t always filthy. But that’s all I have to go on.
So I’m going to give it 1 mark for both existing and for the staff member who served me at the end. Within this 1 point I’m including the way I saw another staff member interacting with customers in a good way… But another staff member stopped them from getting any higher then 1 for service.
Therefore, in total, I give Pie in the Sky, Cowan, 1 bitter disappointment pie out of 10.
Pie in the Sky
1296 Pacific Highway, Cowan NSW
02 9985 7018