Herbed spring pea & lemon risotto? Pah! You didn’t really think I’d gone all posh did you?
The Gabba, a warts n’ all bastion of Aussie sporting supremacy. Home, down the years, to the likes of Lindwall, Border, Hayden and latterly, err, Johnson. Gutsy blokes need gutsy grub. In addition to the soft-cock fine dining on offer in the Members Stand, there’s proper tucker for the blue-collar boys too.
Having cocked a snook at the array of pork-knuckles, bockwursts and rissoles on offer at the marvellously authentic German club across Vulture Street (as well as the Member’s Lunch in the ground), we sought out something for lunch as authentically Australian as, well, their recent cricket failures.
Having been here for four weeks now and not got round to trying one, it was to time to get involved. Four N’ Twenty Meat Pies, it was time to come to Papa.

In a bad week for bad meat, it was a job to focus on the task in hand. Was I about to, as implied by the name, chow down on two dozen pastry encased Turdus Merula? Or would it be the meat of the moment; horse?
Just as I was about to bite my way into my imagined meat roulette I was abruptly halted by the Leddy brothers. “Whoa there H mate, what are ya doing?” Aw, look ya can’t have an Aussie pie without tomato sauce…..”

Heavens above. What madness is this? Why would you take a perfectly presentable, lovingly crafted meat pie and slather lashings of rich, red ketchup all over it? What sort of evil mind comes up with that? Furthermore, why is it, like shortening and sticking ‘ie’ on the end of every other word, the accepted norm over here?
Wrestling with this awkward clash of cultures, I found myself drawn towards the squeezy bottle of Tommy-K and while I turned over these conundrums in my overworked mind, the bottle, as if on auto-pilot squirted out a thick jet of sugary, scarlet goo on my pie top.

There’s no picture for prosperity of this seminal moment in my pie eating life, but the Leddy boys seemed impressed that the dollop atop my lunch looked like a dead ringer for a tomato-ey silhouette of Australia (with the omission of Tasmania, sadly). This ceremonial nonsense rather took my mind off what lied within.

Beef, not horse or indeed blackbird. What a relief! But not as I was expecting. No chunks, no onion, no finery, just a glorious concoction of mince and gravy. It was as delicious as the Australian batting collapse unfolding in front of me and the perturbed twenty thousand Queenslanders present.
While the Gabba is something of a fortress at Test level, its record in shorter forms of the game is rather sketchy. Even the unusual combination of the omnipresent tomato sauce couldn’t distract me from the fact that the home team were getting absolutely buried in their own backyard. In fact, maybe that’s the way us Poms should approach the pie plus tomato sauce conundrum;

Best Served Watching The Aussies Getting Dicked

I finished my pie with a flourish, licking keenly every last fleck of pastry from my sated chops. So simple, yet so good. I’m sure the Australian selectors must wish Mitchell Johnson was this uncomplicated.
There’s a good chance Four N’ Twenty pies, like Lionel Richie and Sharpe novels will end up in the corner of my conscience labelled ‘guilty pleasures’. I enjoyed this taste sensation so much, I went back for another, this time, at Leddo’s insistence, topped with heaps of barbecue sauce.

Maybe, as long as Australian sporting misfortunes are happening in front of me, anything goes…. Now then, anyone know where I can get a witchety grub omelette?

Epilogue. Australia, having been bowled out for 74, went on to lose the third Commonwealth Bank One Day International to Sri Lanka by five wickets inside twenty overs. The Leddys and I went on to a nice meal at an Italian Restaurant on Brisbane’s Southside with the rest of the family.
Grazie mille Mr & Mrs Leddo, a lovely gesture and a lovely occasion.