A five-minute walk from JR Saga Arashiyama Station there is a bit of Britain smack in the heart of west Kyoto.
A one-man pie factory run by Gerry O'Donnell is on a side street not far from Marutamachi Dori a short distance from the tourist area of Arashiyama. Piemaster Gerry himself is originally from rural northern England.
Prior to arriving in Japan, he spent 23 years in Canada. He has now been in Kyoto 14 years; much of that time has been spent teaching English.
One night, though, he made a few pies for a friend - who said they were indeed lovely and that he should sell them.
Gerry didn't know quite what to make of this, but at the behest of the friend they took a few samples to a local cafe. The reaction was the same. And thus a business idea was born.
While still working days at the English language school grind, Gerry cooked at night.
His client base expanded to pubs, department stores, and cafes. His side business was becoming more and more of a real business.
When he was told of an impending - but undesired - transfer to another branch of the language school, he took the plunge and became a full-time piemaster.
With funding from his brother and a Japanese source, he set up the factory where he still works six days a week.
He began with a basic menu of pub pies, which included beef and beer, curry meat, meat & onion, chicken mushroom, vegetable and cheese.
In recent years, though, Gerry has moved on to dessert pies as well. If the above list does not have your mouth watering, read on:
blueberry & custard
strawberry & custard
peach & custard & vanilla
Other new pies include quiche lorraine, beef and portwine, and tandoori chicken.
Online/fax ordering and delivery are possible.
Crystal Court Saga, 1F 6-7 Setogawa-cho
Saga, Tenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
Open: 9AM-6PM (Closed on Sun.)
A five-minute walk from JR Saga Arashiyama Station.
Photos: ©Trevor Mogg
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Monday, August 30, 2010