Review: Escape Rooms and Pie at Pieminister Nottingham
Imagine completing The Crystal Maze but being rewarded with a tasty pie at the end. It's a beautiful dream right?
Wrong, It's a thing, kinda. Because did you know that Nottingham's Pieminister has it's very own escape rooms? It was news to me, I mean I'd been there several times before but I'd assumed the worse thing that could happen was trying Cricket Pie for the Nottingham Post (a taste will be burnt on to my tongue until my dying day)
Little did I know that right above me, folk were trying to escape from the Demon Barber Sweeney Todd!! I was invited along to experience one of the rooms, an idea which came about purely because they had an empty space to fill (the rooms that is - not inviting me) The rooms are now an attraction for team building events, stag parties or in fact anyone with a sense of adventure.
Now thing is, I can't tell you too much because that could give away clues, what I can say is that it's a great idea for something different to do. The props are authentic and the plot has been cleverly devised in order that you must solve the clues to secure your escape and not be baked in a pie!
You're not thrown straight in. You and your team will have a briefing before you start - basically the do's and don'ts. We shared the experience with two other bloggers who we'd never met before. I would suggest you do it with people you know. I wanted to work out the clues methodically (Does that make me anal? Maybe) whereas they wanted to turn the room upside down looking for keys. The two methods don't really work together and you do need to take note of the clues for things you might need to remember later in the experience. (In other words, Im right - insert smug face emoji) So my advice - Stop, read the clue, think it through and work together or allocate tasks.
Despite the chaos we completed the first part of the task - mainly thanks to the help of the staff in the control room who will kindly flash up a clue on the screen, which is ordinarily counting down, if you're struggling. We eventually escaped with just 6 minutes on the clock to spare.
After all that brain work, It's back downstairs for pie (after the customary photos of course). If you've never been to Pieminister, their story begins way back in 1867, when one William Gillard starts a family pie tradition by making sauces, pickles and pies in London. That tradition is carried through the family to Jon Simon, one of the founders of Pieminister. Jon comes to Nottingham in 1992 to study Furniture & Product Design and meets girlfriend, Romany. He persuades his tutors that he should go to Australia for 'inspiration', however it’s down under that he discovers that Aussie pies are far better than the ones back home!
In 1997 Jon appears on Channel 4 show ‘Wanted’ and wins enough money to buy his own pub. His girlfriends brother, Tristan Hogg is bought in to run the kitchen. With Tristan’s culinary skulls and Jon’s vision, the pub becomes known for serving great food. In search of fame and fortune, Tristan works as tour chef, cooking for the likes of the Rolling Stones, Pet Shop Boys and Robbie Williams. In 2000 he moves to Australia. Having talked about setting up a pie company with Jon prior to his trip, Tristan dreams up the name Pieminister while eating a pie on Bondi Beach (What a story) The following year, Tristan returns to the UK and he and Jon begin to turn their pie dreams into reality with Pieminister.
So, back to the evening in question and the menu – how does it work? Firstly you choose from a range of humorously named pies. The names are pretty self explanatory but the menu provides information on each. For example the ‘Moo’ is British beef steak & craft ale pie. Then there’s the Kevin – Chestnut mushrooms, tomato, quinoa, baby onions and thyme, not forgetting the Kate & Sidney. This is what my Dad used to call steak & kidney when I was little. It was one of my favourite foods until I got old enough to realise what kidney was!
If you're on a diet, I can't see that there is a particularly healthy option, so see it as a 'Sod it' meal. Don't get me wrong, they do gluten free pies and vegan and vegetarian, oh but that menu...and the dessert menu.... Pie Heaven! I finally decided on The Fandango, one of the newer pies on offer, which is filled with Free range British Chicken, chorizo, olives and butter bean. Our server then pointed out the new Patties and it seemed rude not to try them too, so I can highly recommend the Chana-Rama -Filled with Spicy chickpeas and spinach (Diet starts tomorrow)
Pie decided upon, it’s time to pick your meal. The classic pie and two sides is £8.95 For those slightly hungrier, the next step up is the Mother Earth, then the whopping Mothership.
For those with an even bigger appetite you can add sticks-those being Pigs on a stick, Halloumi, Onion Rings or a Parsnip & kale fritter.
No meal in my world is complete without a pudding, or maybe a pie! There’s a choice of soft serve sundaes for 4.50 each, Choose from a range including Apple Pie, Mud Pie, Pecan Pie, Cherry Pie and Clockwork Orange. Delicious.
Overall a unique experience, and one I'd definitely do again.
Disclaimer: My food and experience was gifted but my views and extra pounds are my own.