Best Beloved

'My son, when you find a Hedgehog you must drop him into the water and then he will uncoil, and when you catch a Tortoise you must scoop him out of his shell with your paw.' And so that was all right, Best Beloved.
- Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling

Wellbeloved is a film by Stewart Morgan, celebrating the pies made by Deptford butcher Wellbeloved. He says:

"The reputation of the Steak Pie - that staple of traditional British cuisine - has become diminished. More glamorous dishes make the headlines; more photogenic recipes are illustrated on television and scores of inferior, industrial pies occupy the shelves of supermarkets throughout the land. It is time to look beyond these brightly lit aisles and discover the true ingredients of the perfect Steak Pie: Experience, Care and Dedication. It is time to go to Deptford."

Click here to watch Wellbeloved on the website Talking of food.

16 comments:

JPM said...

Love that film. Well done to the director. Great to see Bill Wellbeloved profiled. A true gent. And a business we hope will not be run out by the large chains.

Toby said...

They are bloody good pies.

Chris Wheal said...

Really enjoyed that. After 32 years as a vegetarian I turned up there last year and asked what he recommended I start with (lamb chops I had). I've been going back ever since.

I had turkey for Christmas last year for the first time in 32 years - having several different dinners at various places - and the turkey from him was by far the best (free range and very easy to cook).

A duck I ordered recently was superb. And his free-range smoked bacon cannot be beaten. It does not shrink like supermarket bacon and it's not sliced like a Rizla paper either. I could go on...and on.... and on.



Most of the meat I've had from anywhere else would make me think about going vegetarian again.

Simon said...

My wife is Australian. Bill's are the only pies she thinks worth eating in the Northern Hemisphere. High praise indeed!

Headhunter said...

Are their pies made with decent, crunchy suet pastry? Problem with most steak (and steak and kidney) pies available these days is that for some reason, manufacturers insist on using dreadful puff pasty which is like eating ash... No consistency whatsoever...

Headhunter said...

Wow, I've never heard an ex veggie wax quite so lyrical about lamb chops, turkey, duck...

terrencetrentderby said...

Once you've gone black...

Headhunter said...

Good to know but since when were Australians the world's greatest pie critics?!

Max Calò said...

Really nice video. I love Wellbeloved, it's not that local to me but I do go out of my way to buy my meat there.

Tamsin said...

Like the Kipling quote (like all your quotes actually). But so tragic - the little girl he wrote the Just So Stories for died at the age of about 9 while the family were living in America (read Merrodown knowing that and try not to cry) - then a few years later his only son was killed early on in the War and one of those dreadful cases where the body was never found - "missing presumed dead..."

pie eater said...

I enjoyed the film. Nice portrayal of the reflections of a traditional butcher at work. This business seems to be a vestige of a world we have all but lost to the corporations. It wasn't so long ago that we had such shops in Brockley and our shopping parades are a shadow of what they once were. Those pies certainly look worth a trip to Deptford,

Brockley Nick said...

I think it is a world that is returning. People once again value what goes into their food and are prepared to pay a premium for it. In the last few years, Brockley has gained a cheesemaker, a breadmaker, a coffee company and many other local microbusinesses, devoted to good food. It's also gained a farmer's market and a produce market. It's not "corporations" that decide whether these things should exist - it's consumer power and how we choose to exercise it.


Of course, those artisan food makers have to put up with snide remarks about hipsters and gentrification being chucked at them, by many of the same people who mourn the loss of the previous generation of businesses.

Monkeyboy said...

yep, hes selling something people want at a price they want. not as cheap as Iceland, not as expensive as The Butchery at brockley market. Both independant, both skilled, both passionate about what they do, both will give advice on what to buy and how to cook it. not different at all other than an arbitary price point, one deemd acceptable by some but not others. i use both depending on what im after, neither has the right to exist, both compete for the custom. they aint charities.

pieeater said...

Having just partaken of a dinner centred on Wellbeloveds pies, I can report that the price, quality and the one-person size gives it the edge over the Market offering for me. However, the latter also do very fine apple pies and quite a range interesting variants on the traditional pork pie and scotch egg. So, I will use both.

Brockley market traders tend to flirt with the pain threshold with some of their pricing, which makes finding traditional places that also do quality at a keen price, is worthwhile. There seem so few of them that have not fallen to the march of the supermarkets.

I hear Nunhead is worth a trip.

Headhunter said...

I don't think this is entirely accurate, the "corporation", AKA major supermarkets have managed to drive the cost of food to incredibly low levels. The cost of food takes up a smaller part of average income than ever before and we are now used to paying rock bottom prices for what we eat.


In the past we ate less and wasted less because we had to pay a higher percentage of our income for food from smaller, independent shops - a separate baker for our bread, separate butcher for meat etc.


Now, as Nick points out, this world is returning, so inevitably are higher prices. If you want to buy your meat, veg, bread etc from a friendly, local neighbourhood shop, you have to do this with the knowledge that this type of retailer is never going to be able to offer the supermarket prices we are now used to. Despite this, many here accuse these retailers of pure profiteering and catering for a the new gentrified population....


I've never bought a pie from Wellbeloved and I'll take your word for it that his prices are low for good quality but I'll wager that I could get a good quality "Tase the Difference" pie from down the road in Sainsbury's for cheaper...

Brockley Nick said...

A lot of the time, established businesses own their premises outright or pay very low rents, for whatever reason. Therefore, they can survive on low revenues and low margins on their products.


There are not many local businesses around here that are making fortunes for their owners, I'd wager.

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