Clark’s v Victoria Park Pies: We tried two of Cardiff’s most famous pies to see which is better – Ed Gilbert

Clark’s v Victoria Park Pies: We tried two of Cardiff’s most famous pies to see which is better – Ed Gilbert

When it comes to Cardiff cakes, none are more famous than Clark’s cake.

Established over a hundred years ago in 1913 by Mary Clark, this family-owned business is known throughout the city for its iconic oval-shaped mince pies.

From their last remaining store on Bromsgrove Street in Grangetown, the cakes are distributed to fish and chip shops around Cardiff, where they are a regular fixture in warmer cabinets alongside saveloys and croquettes.

Read more: Dorothy’s v Tony’s: We tried two Chippy Alley institutions’ special dish to see which is better

Nicknamed ‘Clarkies’ or ‘Clarksies’, the pies even have their own slang, with ‘Clark’s tash’ being the nickname for when you burn your upper lip on hot pie filling.



Clark’s Pies store in Bromsgrove Street

However, there is also a second patisserie in Cardiff run by descendants of the Clark family.

The Victoria Park Pie Company, which traded as a Clark’s Pie store from 1931 to 2011, is run by Ceri Dutch-John, the great-granddaughter of Mary Clarke. This Cowbridge Road East based store was renamed over 10 years ago to differentiate the two separate family businesses.



The Victoria Park Pie Company was renamed over 10 years ago

With two different outlets selling their own versions of Cardiff’s most legendary cake, I thought I’d try both to decide which is the best.

The plan was to order a large, hot mince pie of each and see how they compared.

This is what I found.

clark cakes

The store



The store has a historic look

Located on a corner of Grangetown Street, there is something genuinely historic about the look of the Clark’s Pie store. It wouldn’t look out of place as a display at St Fagans.

The retro feel continues inside the store with its warmer cabinets stocked with baked goods, beige wallpaper, and traditional brand-name menu.

The price

£1.65 for a large cake. It’s a bit of a bargain really.

The appearance



The golden dough had a slightly rough texture.

With its classic oval shape, the dough top had a nice golden brown color and a slightly rough looking texture. Once removed from its foil tray, a ‘Clarpie’ stamp was barely visible at the bottom of the cake.

Flavor



This was a very tasty cake.

The proof is in the food and it was a very tasty cake. The thick, crispy, slightly crumbly dough was well filled to the brim with hot minced meat in sauce.

Fortunately, the pie had cooled a bit on my ride home, so I didn’t end up with a Clark tash.

However, I did find the whole batter a bit heavy and I think the minced meat would have benefited from a lighter touch with the salt shaker.

victoria park foot company

The store




The exterior of the Victoria Park Pie Company has a much more contemporary look with a colorful logo featuring an illustration of Mary Clark.

However, the interior of the store has a cooler, more minimalist feel than Clark’s store and a less abundant display of cakes, as hot items are kept in the back of the store.

The price

£2.30. It’s 55 pence more expensive than Clark’s, but I still think it’s good value for a large cake.

The appearance



The dough had a smoother appearance, which made it look more attractive.

Another appetizing golden brown, the oval Victoria Park Pie was topped with an edible rice paper label celebrating the company’s 100+ year history.

The cake had a softer appearance than Clark’s, which I think made it look more appealing.

Flavor



The minced meat had a nice meaty and spicy touch.

Deeper stuffed with ground beef in a darker colored sauce than Clark’s Pie, a cut revealed that it also had thinner dough walls.

Taste-wise, this was another lovely cake. The dough was light and crispy and the hot minced meat in a thick sauce had a nice meaty and spicy touch.

final verdict

These are very good classic mince pies and are true Cardiff institutions well worth a visit.

However, it was the lightness of the Victoria Park Pie Company pastry and the more balanced seasoning in the ground beef that won me over.

But, with a price difference of 55 pence, I imagine many people’s allegiance will still lie with the cheaper and more famous Clark’s Pie.

If you’ve tried pies from Clark’s and the Victoria Park Pie Company, let me know which one you prefer.

I really hope this doesn’t cause as much controversy as when I pitted Dorothy against Tony.

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