Saturday, November 21, 2009

November 21, 2009: Natural Tucker Bakery

Our post on the delights of Funky Pies prompted a comment from Craig suggesting that there were more top-notch vegan pies to be had in the inner-north. Following his lead, I made my way to Natural Tucker Bakery on my way home from a wander through Banyule Flats (where I added Latham's Snipe to my bird list!) to check out how they measured up.

Things didn't start well - at 11:30am there were no hot pies available (I'm not sure if they'd already sold them all or if they hadn't got around to heating them up yet), so I grabbed a couple to take home. The pies come in four varieties: curry, tofu-topped, chilli and vegetable and, at $4.95 each, these fall somewhere in between La Panella and Funky Pie price range. I went for one curry and one tofu-topped (which was Craig's specific recommendation). In their uncooked state the pastry doesn't look all that impressive - it actually looks like vegan pastry, whereas La Panella and particularly Funky Pies produce awesome pastry that happens to be vegan.

After twenty minutes in the oven, the pastry puffed up a little, but it was still a long way short of the flaky goodness I was hoping for. The tofu-topped pie is an intriguing invention, with a thin layer of some sort of tofu-based product forming the lid. I'm not really sure what to make of it - it's better than the pastry, but a little odd nonetheless. The filling is a chunky mix of vegies and lentils that does its job well without blowing your mind. The curry pie has a fairly similar filling, with a very mild curry flavour adding a bit of punch.

Neither of these really measured up to my expectations, which have been inflated by a series of awesome vegan pies. I think I'm basically looking for something to replace meat pies in my diet, so pies like these that are full of chunky vegetables, while no doubt healthier, are never going to tick all my boxes.

Address: 809 Nicholson Street, Carlton North
Ph: 9387 3930
Price: Pies - $4.95


  1. Hi Cindy,

    I can appreciate your response - I didn't think to mention that they don't attempt the flaky pastry thing, or to compare with a "meaty" pie. I simply think they taste good and leave one feeling well. I'll have to try La Panella. Thankyou again for a brilliant site.

  2. Hi guys, love your dedication to all things meat-substituted! Can't say those vegan pies look all too appetising but am sure they taste quite okay :) Btw, funny you should mention here that you've notched up another bird cos I was wondering whether you can help identify a pair that have nested in our backyard! Details and some pics in email. Cheers!

  3. I applaud your dedication to the veg pie!

  4. I kind of like the tofu topped pie but find the pastry of the fully encased ones too "bready" and heavy.

  5. PS: Hey Michael, how are your broken bones healing?

  6. Craig - thanks for the recommendation, we're always excited by suggestions from readers.

    Towz - call on me whenever you need bird-nerdery undertaken. Happy to help.

    Lisa - everyone needs a calling. I guess mine is veg pies.

    AOF - I'm more or less healed, still not entirely mobile, but a lot better than I was a few weeks ago. I even got back on the bike today!

  7. i haven't had one in ages, but i found these pies to be really boring and way too earnest

  8. Unfortunately I wasn't there for this pie tasting! I think I'll drag Michael back once more to sample them for myself. They look a bit like the Unimelb Co-op's pies, which I like (though they serve a different purpose to the fatty, flaky wonder of Funky Pies).

  9. I was in Friends of the Earth on Smith St today, and noticed they had a sign up saying they'll soon be open Sundays, serving Funky Pies and salad for lunch. Thought you guys might be interested.

  10. Hey Ruth, thanks for the tip off! I don't think anything could get Michael to Friends of the Earth faster than the promise of a Funky Pie for lunch. :-)

  11. Cindy, foe are open on Sundays for lunch now, and the Funky Pies with salad are $6 (I think, they might possibly be $8).