Traveling between Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast has always been pretty hit and miss when it comes to food choices whilst in transit. This 400km or 4 hour stretch of the Pacific Highway has never yielded very much in the way of gourmet fare.
There is a Macca’s on the highway at Grafton, about 90kms on from Coffs, further along we come to Woodburn where previously there was nothing except an aging, greasy takeaway with pre-cooked food under heat lamps. Next up we had the fast food chains at Ballina but they have recently been bypassed by the new highway. After four hours on the road and very little in the way of food, we arrive at the Gold Coast.
Thankfully this has all changed with the opening of Pot Belly Pies on the Highway at Woodburn. It may be a small unassuming shop but they produce a mighty pie! The original store was opened in Yamba in 2008. The owners were thrilled at the demand for their pies and have since opened and franchised 7 stores.
When I asked why they felt they had been so well received by the public I was told it was because their pies were made with lots of good honest ingredients. They pride themselves in producing the best quality pie possible.
The pies are all produced in Evans Head (previously Yamba) and transported fresh to the stores daily to be baked off as required. Pot Belly Pies are now available in Yamba, Maclean, Byron, Woodburn, Grafton, Glen Innes & Gunnadah.
Whilst I was talking to the owner Mr GG spotted a Steak & Mushroom Pie in Pepper sauce which was just being removed from the oven. Straight away we noticed a difference between the Pot Belly Pie and a regular pie, the pie was fat! It was twice the height and had twice the filling as an average pie, perhaps this is where the name “Pot Belly Pie” comes from!
We continued to look through the menu, there were the usual flavours plus some amazing sounding gourmet selections. After making our choices we took our pies across the road to the park near the river.
Mr Gg’s Pepper Pie was piping hot! Lifting the lid we found large chunks of diced steak, visible pieces of mushroom and the delicious aroma of black pepper. The meat had obviously been slow cooked as the steak just melted in the mouth. The sauce was rich and the pepper added notable heat to this flavoursome pie. I also loved the crisp shortcrust base. the pie had come right from the oven so it had a delicious homemade crunch.
I chose the Surf and Turf. This pie had a light creamy gravy with three large king prawns amongst chunks of diced steak. the steak was the same melt in the mouth consistency as Mr GG’s pie and the prawn was perfectly cooked with the flavour shining through the light sauce.
Little Lock was feeling adventurous and liked the idea of the Mango & Sweet Chilli Chicken Pie. I must admit, I had been considering this flavour and was pleased that I would have the opportunity to try some of his.
When I took a peek under the light, soft, flaky pastry I saw slices of mango in a light creamy gravy which had clearly been doused liberally with sweet chilli sauce. My first bite was pure heaven. The chicken and mango was in a creamy coconut, Thai style curry and the flavour was amazing. This was my pick of the pies we tried.
Never one to hold back when he is on a good thing Mr Gg also sampled the Lamb and Rosemary Pie. This was another favourite of mine as the lamb was in a rich dark gravy which tasted exactly like the gravy you would make from your own lamb roast. The rosemary and mint was subtle but delicious, and the lamb again was the perfect consistency for this lush pie!
Each pie was like eating a home style casserole wrapped in a delicious pastry.
The only item purchased that I wasn’t able to try was the sausage roll. Miss A was guarding it well, and there wasn’t a crumb left over. I can say that the pastry was the same golden pastry which was on the pies and the roll itself was large and smelled divine.
No longer are we at the mercy of the large fast food chains for a meal on the go between Coffs and the Goldie. we can support our local pie entrepreneurs and enjoy a quality fast option with Pot Belly Pies.
Pot Belly Pies
111 River Street
Mob: 0459 574 611