It was a sight to behold. Representatives of four political parties: David Farrar, National-supporting blogger; Mike Heine, Act-supporting VSM proponent; Tim Wang, (meat-eating) Greens supporter and Victoria student; and Kieran Brown, Hostel RA and Labour supporter, sitting around the Salient pool table, sharing pies and laughs while blindfolded in the Salient Great Pie Review.
The plan sounded like a bit of fun. Take the four party members, blindfold them, feed them pies from around campus, and watch as the hilarity begins. It came together beautifully. One pie was thrown back at our faces after one reviewer’s repulsion. Another actually caused agreement: the “grand coalition” pie, if you will.
Our reviewers wanted to know how they were to rate the pies. Serious statistical concerns were raised when reviewers asked if Salient wanted ratings on the way down and then again on the way up. Luckily, all contributors managed to keep their pies down. However, with the blindfolds on, they seemed unable to eat without smearing mince all over the table.
We tried to get a plain mince pie from each cafeteria on campus. Vicky’s didn’t have any mince pies in the pie warmer and so we asked them to cook one up, while Café Salem only had a mince and cheese pie available. None of these places were told that we were buying these pies to review them, and all pies were taken off the shelf by myself, thus ensuring bias free results.
The first pie up was a GoodTime Classic Mince ($3) from Vicky’s (Mount St Café). This pie scored high marks from our right-wing friends, who were impressed with being able to taste meat – it’s not clear how this is unusual – and Mike Heine, who was pleased by the peas. On the left were a couple of tougher reviewers, who attacked the pie for sloppy pastry. “Solid mince flavour,” said Mike Heine, who was backed up by David Farrar: “I could taste meat.”
Greens: 7/10, Labour: 6/10, National: 7.5/10, ACT: 8/10
Next pie was the GoodTime Metro Mince ($1.80) from The Quad Kiosk, which was slammed by all members of our panel. Kieran was unable to eat more than a tiny bite, before holding it at arms length and saying “get rid of it!” He also complained that it tasted like the cooks had dropped oregano into the pie. Our panel mentioned the pastry was smooth and needed to be a lot crisper. David said it was more soup than pie, and tasted like it had been genetically modified. Mike Heine gave the pie a bonus point for being genetically modified. Kieran and Tim declined to follow suit.
Greens: 3/10, Labour: 2.5/10, National: 2/10, ACT: 2/10 +1 GM
After giving our panelists time to swallow and remove residue pie flavors, we pulled out the GoodTime Classic Mince ($2.60) from Mena’s Dairy on Salamanca Rd (down past SJS). Although this is the same brand and flavour as the pie from Vicky’s, I had been told to ensure I got something from Mena’s as it is such a popular store. This pie received high marks all around – slightly higher than the same pie from Vickies – and received matching eights from both David and Kieran, causing David to label it the “grand coalition,” a “mainstream” pie. A rift emerged between Labour and the Greens, with Tim calling the pie gross, while Kieran giving it a high score.
Greens: 6.5/10, Labour: 8/10, National: 8/10, ACT: 7.5/10
The fourth pie was the most expensive: Trisha’s Pies Mince and Cheese ($4) from Café Salem (Anglican Chaplaincy). This was a huge disappointment, with all reviewers rating it a hangover-only pie. Kieran said that you would only eat it to maximise calorie intake, David said it was stingy, and Mike said it was too soft, suitable perhaps for the munchies. The marks were again uniform, with all reviewers giving it half or below in a solid C- performance.
Greens: 4/10, Labour: 5/10, National: 5/10, ACT: 4/10
Our final pie was the Big Ben Mince ($1.60) from UniStop. This pie was the cheapest in the test, and was only slightly behind the two GoodTime Classic pies. At around $1 cheaper, this pie may also have been overheated before the test, causing some reviewers to take points off for being too hot. While cheap, Big Ben impressed our reviewers, who thought it was a GoodTime pie. All gave it marks solidly near the top of the rankings. This pie also seemed to attract favour from our minor-party representatives, who perhaps tasted that it was an underdog, and felt a connection.
Greens: 7/10, Labour: 6.5/10, National: 6.5/10, ACT: 7/10
This review showed that the quad is not a good place to grab a pie, and that a short walk to other pie stops offers cost savings and better taste. The score winners were the GoodTime classic pies, and while others should not be sneered at, the overall winner of the Salient Great Pie Review is the Big Ben Mince pie from Unistop. This pie punches well above its weight and is great value for money for students who need food during a tough day of “study.”