Collingwood’s hole-in-the-wall gnocchi joint Good Gnocchi was around for a good time, not a long time. After its lease expired in December, the Langridge Street shop lay dormant.
But as of March, pillowy potato pasta has been swapped out for buttery, golden pastry as Wonder Pies & Deli moved in.
It’s by Scottish-born chef Raymond Capaldi – who’s cooked at London’s Dorchester Hotel, the Sofitel in Melbourne (where he started the Academy Sofitel cooking school), Richmond’s Fenix (which he co-owned with Gary Mehigan), and Fitzroy North cafe Marmalade & Soul – and his partner, PR consultant Jodi Crocker.
In 2017, Capaldi swapped white-linen tablecloths for a factory, and launched wholesale pie business Wonder Pies. In 2018 he opened a his first pie shop, Wonder Pies & Deli, in the CBD.
Now Capaldi brings the quirk and colour of the city eatery to a second spot in Collingwood. “I love this little area,” he says. “And the way the shop looked, and how we could do it up … but keep the magic in it.”
The glow from a neon “Pielicious” sign bounces off the room’s glass surfaces and white subway tiles, and wooden stadium seating and inbuilt tables allow for quick pit stops.
In the cabinet is a plethora of pies. The Nice & Cheesy Does It is filled with macaroni, bechamel, cheddar, mustard and Cheezels, while the Piesagne has layers of pasta, wagyu beef and bechamel. One comes filled with confit duck and an orange-infused sauce; another is made with butter chicken, big on ginger and masala. If you’re stopping by in the morning, go the breakfast pie, which is filled with free-range eggs, smoked bacon and cheddar.
There’s also a plant-based mince, carrot and potato pie for vegans, but traditionalists will still find chunky beef and gravy pies; classic, beef-and-lamb sausage rolls; and a Cornish pastie with braised beef, potato and vegetables.
Capaldi’s pies are sturdy – his recipe has been tried and tested, with a light shortcrust pastry on the bottom and a crispy rough-puff pastry on top, so when you take a bite it won’t collapse and crumble in your hands. The pastry is made using organic flour, and vegetable oil instead of butter, so the pie cases are all vegan.
As at the original, there are vibrant salads here – think brown rice, pesto, pomegranate and sunflower seeds; or pickled beetroot, za’taar and dill – and Capaldi says the CBD location acted as a testing ground for Collingwood.
“We’ve learned with the traditional beef [pie], there’s a certain type of person that likes mince pies – not chunky,” he says. “Even though it’s a really good chunky pie, they go, ‘You know what, I like my mince pie.’ So, we’ve brought [a mince pie] on.”
Capaldi recently employed two pastry chefs, and they’ve filled the dessert cabinet with house-made, jumbo-size chocolate Royals; Gaytime doughnuts with salted-caramel icing; and jam-doughnut bread and butter pudding.
A take on the classic vanilla slice is more like a mille-feuille (a delicate, layered French pastry) with the vanilla custard encased in the centre.
“We just wanted to make sure that every cake we do is nostalgic, with a little twist in flavours that people are not expecting,” Capaldi says.
You can pick up charcuterie, terrines and pickled vegetables, and take-home meals too, such as Wagyu lasagne; truffle-flecked mac and cheese; and the Wonder Box, which serves four and includes a family-size pie, buttery mash, confit carrots, salad and apple pies with custard for $99.
In light of Melbourne’s renewed stage-three lockdown, Wonder Pies & Deli Collingwood is open for takeaway only, and the factory, located at 4b Kim Close, Bulleen, is open to the public, too, Monday to Saturday. The city store is currently closed.
Wonder Pies & Deli
128 Langridge Street Collingwood
03 9416 3713
Mon to Fri 9am–4pm
Sat & Sun 9am–2pm