Before we commence, a brace of lessons if you will – pull up a pew. Long term
sufferers readers of this site will know my backstory, one of puddings and pies and pastries of myriad concoction. The core of this piece is the iconic English pasty, something especially close to my cardiovascular system. I have eaten more pastys than you have burgers.
First up a lesson in language. This particularly PASTRY is pronounced PASS-TEE, not PASTE-TEE. A PASS-TEE is indeed a PASTRY, but please, remember, PASS-TEE, not PASTE-TEE. Got it? Good.
Lesson two, history. Much like maki sushi, the Cornish pasty story is one of function turned feast. Cornish pasties are notable by their hulking shell, an uncompromising half moon of butter and flour. Inside the traditional version you will discover a mix of firm veggies and meat. Back in the days of old, this would be a miners best friend; the crusty exterior acting as protective shield for lunch inside; some even went further, a duo of pockets, sweet and savory. Again, like sushi rice, eventually one enlightened soul ventured, “shouldn’t we just eat this too?” And lo, the modern day Cornish pasty was born.
The last pasty I recall around these parts was at Elizabeth’s, the anglicized tea room that started life at Trolley Square (see my first encounter here in 2008) before latterly moving onto 7th East a few years later.
Dough Miner is the work of Ken Roderman (daughter-in-law Marissa McEntire stars as GM) who oddly enough first encountered this British delicacy in…errr…Michigan? This was a new factoid even for me, but as Roderman explains, this was the destination for many ex-Cornish colliers and hewers when English tin mines ran dry; and as yours truly can attest, once a Brit washes up on your shore, we get to work on recreating Blighty for queen and country stat.
This tidbit of info signposts just how much Roderman has gone all in on his passion-project, ask away, the man has fallen down a pasty-shaped hole. How many crimps must a traditional pasty employ around the edges? What the hell is HP sauce? What exactly is a Tommy Knocker, and what are his plans for the World Pasty Championships? He has answers to it all.
Onto the food then, and the initial offerings are solid. There are a quartet of pasty options on the menu at launch. Each costs roughly ten bucks and will happily fuel you for breakfast and lunch combined. The four options available right now include:
- Cornish – traditional recipe with potatoes, carrot and turnip
- Breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, cheddar cheese, onion
- Veggie breakfast – as above, no meat
- Funeral potato – potatoes, onions and cheese
I quiz Roderman on his use of black pepper, and am encouraged by a knowing smile. I personally find traditional Cornish pasties overly forceful in this regard; and the kitchen team have clearly iterated through many a test meal. The pepper here is still warming, but rendered into the pastry shell itself, it’s a gentler touch. Similar concessions are made by subbing out rutabaga for turnip; a firm bite remains but there’s less of the bitter brassica’s funk and pungency.
Expect similar evolution and thoughtful tweaks down the road. A local creamery have been tapped to provide the cheese in the coming weeks. I randomly ask about a Turkey day leftover special the nods are quick and serious.
In addition to the pasties, you’ll also find donuts and coffee courtesy of Rimini. For those with a sweet tooth, know the they come out hot and fresh on the hour – not sadly stale from hours ago. Talk is already underway above a food truck, possible events, and partnerships. This particular Brit can’t wait to see what’s next.
Cor blimey guvnor.
945 S 300 W #101, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
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Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”. Want to know more? This is why I am the way I am.
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2 thoughts on “This new Utah cafe offers a very special English delicacy”
Yes! I tried PASSSS-TEEEEES in Michigan for the first time, too!
I had lived near Detroit for years and never encountered them but then I moved to a small, former mining town in the Keewenaw Peninsula (itself part of the Upper Peninsula of MI). Apparently, a lot of miners migrated there from England and the pasty was the meal of choice because they could grab it by the seam with dirty hands, eat it, and discard that part of the shell.
I hope these are good because although the ones I tried there were never particularly tasty (none of the food in that town was, actually) I always thought they had potential!
I thought these were pretty solid JMA, especially so considering they’re neither Brit-exptas nor prior restaurateurs. They’re still tweaking the precise recipes eery day, but I think they’re already very good examples, so the future looks bright 🙂