Ground: The Amex Stadium
Competition: 2015/16 Sky Bet Championship
Result: Brighton 5 – 0 Fulham
Pie: Chicken, Gammon & Leek
Comments: What a difference a year makes! This time last season Fulham were starving off relegation fears by stumbling past a Blackpool in disarray and Brighton were limping towards the finish line after an underwhelming campaign. Twelve months on Fulham are still battling off relegation while the Seagulls have flown to the dizzying heights of promotion contenders under Chris Houghton. With the two clubs on such massively opposing trajectories it was no surprise when that Brighton thrashed Fulham 5 nil. What a difference a year makes…
Brighton’s football may have superbly reinvented itself but it’s pies sadly hadn’t. On my last trip I was delighted to discover they had the novel idea of introducing guest pies to their roster of overpriced hot dogs and warm beer. Normally I’m lumped with balti or steak, so to be afforded the choice of a potentially untried pie was a welcome relief. Last year’s taste sensation of BBQ pulled pork was replaced by a dubious concoction of chicken, gammon and leek. The combination sounded like a botched ready steady cook ingredients bag, but the fact it was new pie filling was more than enough incentive to depart with my £4.10.
First impressions were good as the pie arrived in my lap nestled snugly in a garish pink bag, this was Brighton after all, emblazoned with the local maker’s logo; Piglets Pantry. Sourcing your pies from local business is always worth big bonus points from me. Sadly, diving in the bag I was met with a crust that felt reinforced with granite. Brighton had made the fatal error of roasting their pies early and then neglectfully letting them cool to the temperature of a seaside breeze. That leaves you with a crust so dry and hard you’d be better of using it build a shed then actually eat it. I’d waited till half time to get my pie, so more fool me for allowing them more time to irrigate the moisture out of their food.
It’s a shame that the pastry was so off, because the filling was surprisingly delicious, Fresh chicken met pungent salty gammon in a leeky led liquid to make for a subtle treat. Rather than overbearing curried spice that fills most pies, this one had a delicateness to its arrangement that meant no flavour ended up overbearing. Gammon and leek aren’t my favourite accompaniments, I recall a fatally dry effort at Woking, but credit to Piglets Pantry this was lovely stuff.
Brighton have all the right ideas with their pie offerings, perhaps THE model to follow for all football grounds, but if you can’t keep them fresh and edible then you might as well have a guest boot as a guest pie. No matter how disappointing the pie was, it won’t beat the total abjection and shame at seeing Fulham ship 5, including the classic penalty and set piece header goals. As the popular hateful FB page goes; Get in the fucking sea Fulham.