Pie Harbour

Special thanks to Pie Harbour for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Pie Harbour opened a new outlet at Automall this month. The shop is near Coffeesmith. This marks its third branch after the ones in Gurney Paragon Mall and Queensbay Mall.
Pie Harbour started its business operation as a takeaway shop in Jelutong. Since the opening of the Gurney Paragon outlet, the original premise has been dedicated as Pie Harbour's central kitchen. This reduces kitchen capabilities required at each retail outlet, freeing up more floor space for the dining area.
Pie Harbour is the brainchild of a low-profile individual during his study abroad in Australia. Observing the lack of quality pies in the Malaysian market, he seized the opportunity to introduce a brand here to proselytize his philosophy on quality pies. Such a perfectionist he is that it is not uncommon for entire batches of pies to be discarded just because they do not satisfy his stringent expectations.

The pies at Pie Harbour are unlike the bottom-crust pies that immediately comes to mind. Instead, the pies here are conveniently bite-sized similar to finger food. Despite higher packaging cost, food presentation is also designed à la "fast food" style. This allows Pie Harbour to cater to takeaway and delivery orders.
The mainstream pies have savory fillings: either chicken, beef, lamb or seafood. Each of these of pies can be upgraded to a set meal for additional RM6.00. The set meal includes a serving of Garden Salad, a cup of Mash Potato and a bottle of juice (3 choices are available). Starting from RM1.00, juice can be replaced with a specific type of café coffee or tea.
It is worthwhile to note that Pie Harbour uses butter despite its higher cost over margarine. The rationale is that butter provides better-sought fragrance and more delightful texture than what margarine can offer.
Besides pies, Pie Harbour also offers other types of confectionery such as muffin, croissant, mousse, lamington and cookie. Except for juices, most menu items are made in-house at the central kitchen.
Since my previous visit to the Queensbay Mall outlet, Pie Harbour has developed deeper into naval themes in line with its brand name. To illustrate this point, employees' uniform closely resembles a sailor suit, while the ordering tag takes the form of a mock sailing ship.
Let's delve into the pies, shall we? My foremost commendation goes to the pastry itself. Unlike the hard crust which pies are often associated to, Pie Harbour's pie pastry is light and multi-layered, so soft that pastry flakes off easily upon touch.
Thickness of the pie pastry is well-balanced. Not too thin that it is punctured easily, nor too thick that the texture is dominated by dry pastry.

As for fillings, the Steak & Cheese Pie (RM9.90) is blessed with tender beef with delectable savory sensation. Strong flavor of beef is complemented with melted cheese to yield a gratifying snack.
As for the Tomyam Seafood Pie (RM9.90), the fillings are shrimp and crabsticks flavored with tom yum paste. Flavor from tom yum spices is reasonably prominent, making this pie an ideal choice for people who love stronger flavor.
The Garden Salad is made from shredded cabbage, carrot strips and cherry tomatoes in Thousand Island dressing. I feel that the dressing dominates the salad; I prefer less heavy dressing for more balanced flavor.
The Mash Potato is quite delectable that this side dish can stand out on its own right. Pie Harbour makes the mashed potato in the traditional way: boiled potatoes are mashed by hand (with help from kitchen machinery). This is opposed to using pre-mixed dehydrated powder form approach which other fast food restaurants adopt to save manpower.
As a result, Pie Harbour's version has rougher texture than those served at most fast food restaurants, giving true sense of what genuine potatoes taste like. So special is this side dish that an increasing number of customers patronize Pie Harbour just to order this side off the bat. The Mash Potato is available in à la carte manner for RM3.90.

Outside the mainstream pie choices, there is another class of sweet pies with fruity fillings: banana, apple or yam. The Yam Pie (RM4.90) is Pie Harbour's bestseller in this category. The consistency of yam paste in this pie is similar to that of mooncakes, with the notable difference that the former still retains the fibrous texture of its key ingredient.
Consuming the Apple Pie (RM4.90) is quite gratifying too. Unlike the McDonald's version, the level of sweetness is deliberately toned down to a point where one can enjoy the baked apple fillings. Just the way an apple pie ought to be.

As for beverages, we tried the Dual Hazelnut Signature Latte (RM9.90) and Tiramisu Coated Signature Latte (RM9.90). Although I am fine with milky composition in latte, I feel that the amount of steamed milk should be reduced in proportion to espresso. Admittedly, latte is not Pie Harbour's strongest suit.
Despite the fast food appearance, a set meal at Pie Harbour is quite fulfilling. This is most likely attributed to the "heavy"-feeling pastry of its pies.

Name: Pie Harbour
Address: 29C-01-08, Automall Penang, Lebuh Sungai Pinang 5, 11600 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-291-2534
Business hours: 9:00am-12:00am (Sunday-Thursday), 9:00am-1:00am (Friday-Saturday, public holidays)
Website: http://www.pieharbour.com
Coordinates: 5.39812 N, 100.32967 E
Directions: From Lebuhraya Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu, take the Sungai Pinang exit and head east. Drive to the end of the road, then turn left. Automall is within a short distance on the left, while Pie Harbour is one of the shops on the ground floor. Street parking and indoor mall parking are available.

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