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Friday, July 14, 2006

Hannah's Pies, Ultimo (supplier to Harry's Cafe de Wheels)

curry tiger, hannahs pies

The meat pie is an Australian institution. Hot, meaty and holdable in one hand (the other's for your stubbie), the meat pie is the brickie's breakfast, the football fan's belly warmer, and the best lunch a bloke could hope for.

In Sydney, the most famous pie vendor is Harry's Cafe de Wheels. Open until 4am on Saturday and Sunday mornings, this little pie cart on the wharf has refuelled many a bleary-eyed seedy-feeling patron. Originally opened in 1938, the pie cart became the hippest feed in town when it was famously visited by celebrities Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum and Marlene Dietrich. Even Colonel Sanders couldn't resist its pies (three of them in a row apparently) and the clever folk at Harry's Cafe made sure they took photographic proof of all its famous fans.

But Harry's pies all come from Hannah's Pies, its factory in the inner city suburb of Ultimo. Located across the road from the Powerhouse Museum, it does a brisk trade with tourists, school kids, uni students and hungry office workers.

hannahs pies

queue of men at hannahs pies

queue of women at hannahs pies

powerhouse hotdog
Powerhouse Hot Dog

Hot dogs were apparently added to the menu in the 1970s, primarily to meet demands from visiting American sailors. At the top of the line is the Powerhouse Hot Dog, one of the most carb-filled hot dogs I think I've ever seen. First the hot dog bun is smeared with a heavy scoop of mashed potato, dolloped with a trough-load of chilli con carne beans and mince, garnished with onions, topped with a hot dog and then drizzled with a melted cheese sauce and a final red squiggle of tomato sauce. Wow.

pie, sausage roll and custard tart
Meat pie with sauce, custard tart and sausage roll with sauce

I was told that the meat pie was tasty, the sausage roll was meaty, and the custard tart was just like the good ol' days: a crisp baked crust, a pale custard within and dusted with the finest sprinkling of nutmeg.

curry tiger
Curry Tiger
Curry meat pie with mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy

I opt for the curry tiger instead, a monolith of carbohydrate-fuelled goodness. A curry pie is layered on top with a thick mattress of mashed potato, a pillow of mushy peas and filled with a lake of gravy.

curry pie
Curry pie, unadorned

As an alternate mouthful eater (and uncontrollable photographing foodblogger) I knock off the pea and mash clothing to reveal a naked curry pie underneath.

curry tiger innards

To the snickers of my fellow lunchers, I lift the lid to reveal the innards of my humble meat pie: there are chunks of real beef inside, cooked slowly so the meat is tender and the fibres fall away easily. The curry is quite spicy too.

All in all, top nosh. The pastry bottom was a little gluey in areas, but the top was flaky, the filling was meaty, and the mash, peas and gravy... ooh.... winter comfort food doesn't get any better than this.


Hannah's Pies
562 Harris Street, Ultimo, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9211 2506

Harry's Cafe de Wheels – Woolloomooloo
Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9357 3074

Harry's Cafe de Wheels – Haymarket
Hay Street, Haymarket, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9281 6292

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Harry's Cafe de Wheels Haymarket
Harry's Cafe de Wheels, Woolloomooloo
12 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 7/14/2006 11:58:00 pm


  • At 7/15/2006 1:51 am, Blogger Jen said…

    Wow I never knew that there were "other" Harrys, except for the one at W'mooloo. Thanks for the great write up!

  • At 7/15/2006 8:25 am, Blogger PiCkLeS said…

    how funny, we walk past this many times and Jacky only just bought a 'hot dog de wheels' from here the other day and exclaimed that they tasted exactly the same as Harry's...well now we know =P

  • At 7/15/2006 11:26 am, Blogger ragingyoghurt said…

    argh! the tiger!! i love the mushy peas and potato and gravy... in fact once i went to harry's w'loo and just had a plate of potatoes, peas and gravy.

    that deft gesture as the server presses a hollow into the pillow of peas with the base of the gravy ladle, before tipping its contents in... genius!

    for a while there was also a harry's outlet next to the underground entrance to DJs in the city. but i suppose they miscalculated the draw of stodgy pies on the fashionable-matriach crowd.

  • At 7/15/2006 1:36 pm, Blogger SoRMuiJAi said…

    I've never been a fan of Harry's pies. The meat pies they have at Harry's tend to be too peppery for my liking. I like my junky mince "meat" four and 20 meat pies!

    I definately want to try their hot dogs though....especially if they taste exactly like Harry's! It'll save me the drive! But then one of the reasons why Harry's taste so good might have to do with the hot food eaten by the cold sea!

  • At 7/16/2006 10:23 am, Blogger ragingyoghurt said…

    oh! i remembered something about mushy peas that a friend of mine once told me about; his father worked at a mushy pea factory. they are made with dried peas, which after rehydrating are so unappetizingly grey that green colouring is added to make them, um, better. thanks for the peas-in-a-can tip. i'll have to look out for it.

  • At 7/16/2006 11:33 am, Blogger Anastasia said…

    We used to go there for lunch when I worked in Ultimo - yum!!
    i read that they make approx 5000 pies a day - amazing!!

  • At 7/17/2006 11:22 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    yummo, must get me there pronto!

    been too long since my last tiger.

  • At 7/20/2006 10:06 am, Blogger Veruca Salt said…

    Dave advises that a coffee shop in Kings Cross station also sells Harry's pies & sausage rolls

  • At 6/28/2008 12:25 pm, Blogger yan_ange said…

    How weird! I walk by this joint literally every day on my way into work down the street. I have been to Harry's but never this original place! You have definitely tempted me to try now!

  • At 7/08/2008 11:41 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi yan_ange - Ahh why go to Harry's when you can go straight to the source? Hope you've had a chance to enjoy a pie by now :)

  • At 1/07/2009 5:06 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Take it from someone who was in on the action - it's usually around 180 dozen pies per day. Bigger days can get up to around 200-220. Usually half of these are the standard meat pies, with curry and chicken/mushroom coming in as next most popular. Then there are the sausage rolls and pasties, unsure exactly on numbers for these.

    Bakery is only open four days per week though.

  • At 1/07/2009 8:03 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Anon - Ooh now that is quite a lot of pies indeed! I've always had an obsession with food production lines... factory tours are my all-time favourite thing to do :)


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