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When we got invited to check out the opening of Kanga’s brick and mortar store for Aussie Meat Pies we were super excited. We just missed their Kickstarter campaign and have been following them secretly ever since. Now Aussie pies in Toronto? This has got to be something new for us, isn’t it? And this is no imitation Aussie Meat Pies, we’re talking the real deal. So much, that we just have to quote Tom, Kanga’s resident Australian team member, “When I first tried it, it was like I was home.”
65 Duncan Street
Toronto, ON M5V 1Z4
Now what makes these Kanga Aussie Pies different than our regular pies? I would say there’s three key points that one can make:
1. Kanga has an all-butter puff vs the traditional flakey pastry.
2. It has a saucy, gravy filled interior
3. Aussie meat pies are a handheld pie.
But regardless if you’re a fan of Aussie pies or our regular pies, Kanga is definitely worth a try.
Attending the event, I got a chance to speak with the co-founders, Megan Chan and Erynn Mayes who shared a lot about their background, their experience and their passion. They both shared about how it all started and the story behind it all. Before Kanga, Megan and Erynn met when they were roommates over on exchange in Australia. Megan was a Chartered Accountant working with KPMG and Erynn doing finance and project management with Accenture. Over in Australia, they embraced the culture and noticed their affinity for meat pies. A question popped into their heads and wondered, why wasn’t this available in Toronto? That’s how the early essences of Kanga started; with both Megan and Erynn at home honing in on their skills and drawing up the recipe for the perfect pie crust. But it didn’t stop there, Megan also attended le Cordon Bleu and Erynn attended George Brown College culinary school while continuing to perfect the Kanga pie at home.
Getting the chance to speak with them each personally, I can feel their passion for great food, their commitment and a feeling of family… the Kanga family. They shared about how it wasn’t easy starting Kanga. A good example was while still working, in order to prepare for TUM and its 500 pies, they had to work until 2am each day for 2 weeks to meet the number. While speaking with Megan, she shared, “Sometimes in order to succeed, you have to go all in.” and Kanga was no exception. In order for Kanga to succeed, they had to quit their jobs. But don’t get this confused, it’s not a blind faith. It’s coming prepared, being committed and working hard.
Now how did the pies taste? I have no prior experience eating an “Aussie Pie”, but I have to say I definitely enjoyed Kanga’s. There was a nice buttery texture and the quality of the ingredients can be tasted with each bite. The fillings were generous, and I definitely enjoyed the gravy with each variety that I tried. If you’re a first timer for Aussie meat pies like me, the recommendations is to try the Traditional Aussie (minced beef in a rich beef and vegemite gravy) with some ketchup. That’s right, ketchup and it makes sense. You want that slight acidity to cut through the richness of the pie. So following along, I squeezed some ketchup on top of the pie so you can continue to strike that nice balance with each bite. Now I understand not everyone likes ketchup, but I too would also recommend it.
Lastly, what should you drink with your Aussie Pie? Megan and Erynn both recommended beer or soda. To double check the authenticity of this claim, I checked back with Kanga’s resident Australian Tom and he too agreed that they are doing it perfectly. That he wouldn’t eat it any differently. Beer or soda with Kanga’s pies? Sounds good to me.
Overall, I definitely liked Kanga Aussie Pie. There’s a huge variety of meat pies like Butter Chix and The Canadian (the girls making us proud) to vegetation options like Creamy Zucchini and Mates’ Masala (chickpeas and eggplant curry). I never thought I would be a fan of pies, I mean I enjoy them but this is something I would personally return to time and time again. My choice would be the Traditional Aussie meat pie and poutine. I really enjoyed this combo. Or if you’re up for a quick small bite, feel free to try their sausage rolls which were delicious or some of their baked pastries with some Australian favourites mixed in the bunch. Be sure to check out their website for all the pie varieties and “Eat Kanga”… cause I surely will. Don’t miss out.
The Damage: Depending on variety, prices range from 6.50-7.75 before after tax per pie.