The Pie Man - British expat on the hunt for Dubai's best pie


The Pie Man - British expat on the hunt for Dubai's best pie

Scott Grayston reveals his passion for seeking pastry perfection

Scott Grayston Pie
Scott Grayston is on the hunt for Dubai's best pie Image Credit: Thomas Wragg, Gulf News

“A man on a mission to find the best pie in Dubai!” reads Pie Man DXB’s bio on Instagram – an account dedicated to uncovering the finest British classic the Emirate has to offer.

Meet the man behind it all, Scott Grayston, a 32-year-old Yorkshireman who works in sports marketing and public relations for 160over90, while also managing one of the country’s best amateur football teams, API Rovers.

By day the Englishman is busy organising content pieces with the likes of golf star Tommy Fleetwood and F1 sensation Lando Norris, but as the sun sets he transforms into a culinary explorer, occupying one of Dubai’s many eateries seeking pastry perfection.

“I was inspired to start the channel by a page on Instagram called The Yorkshire Pudding,” Grayston revealed when I joined him at his latest pie review in JB’s Gastropub.

“He reviews Sunday roast dinners, takes a picture and writes about them. So, I thought I could create some engaging video content and base it around pies which are one of my passions and favourite types of food.

“I set up the page and received great feedback, so we’ll see where this rollercoaster of a journey takes me.”

Pie and mash has long been considered a classic dish in Britain. Once dubbed ‘London’s original fast food’, the meal was originally popularised in the eastern docklands area of the capital during the Victorian era.

Back then, pies were very different to the ones us Brits enjoy today, with the first and most common filled with eels as they were cheap and caught right from the Thames. In the modern day, pies contain all kinds of fillings, from savoury delights such as steak and kidney and chicken and mushroom to sweet treats like apple and cherry.

“I absolutely love a pie,” said Grayston.

“It’s a staple food of Britain and there’s such a great mixture of pies. You’ve got chicken, beef, steak and fish to name a few, there’s even sweet ones so you’ve got such a wide range to choose from. I’m just hoping I can find the best one in Dubai while keeping my followers entertained as I go on the hunt for the ultimate dish.”

Prior to joining the Pie Man on his latest review, I had a good scroll through his account, which he launched in October last year, and found he has currently visited 11 restaurants on his journey to find the ultimate taste of home.

A typical review consists of Grayston, who is usually joined by friends, giving his followers an introduction to the venue before digging into his pie, which is backed with some hilarious commentary over the top.

Each video ends with the channel’s trademark, the Pie O’ Meter, which provides a score out of ten for the Pie, Price and Place – or the three Ps as Grayston tells me.

“The three Ps is what I base my review on,” he says.

“I review the quality of the pie and the sides, which can be chips, mash and veg, but especially the gravy as that is such a pivotal part of the meal for me.

“I’ll also give the restaurant a separate score and the price. Dubai isn’t the cheapest place in the world so I keep an eye out for offers and promote that in the Pie O’ Meter at the end of the video.

“I also try and bring a load of mates into the videos as well and they’ve sort of become characters on the channel which has been fun.”

I’m the latest ‘character’ in his newest video as we both dive into a beef brisket pie served with mash, gravy and veg at the venue in Jumeirah Beach Residence.

If I had any doubts about Grayston’s passion for pies, they were soon put to bed after he broke into the pastry and exclaimed “mmmm gravy!”

After both devouring our dinner, which Grayston enjoyed but revealed there was room for improvement, we get talking about the growth of the channel, which currently has close to 400 pie enthusiasts glued to his reviews after a few months of launching.

Pie Dubai
The Pie Man demolished his pie at JB's Image Credit: Thomas Wragg, Gulf News

“I’m hoping to get to 1000 followers by the summer,” he says.

“I know that’s a bit of a push but let’s see, it’s one of those things that could just blow up overnight. I’m just enjoying making cool content and eating pies regularly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t branch out from pies in the future. As long as there’s an appetite for the content, I’ll keep on going and maybe review different foods and events.”

While his followers may not have reached epic heights just yet, that hasn’t stopped Grayston becoming somewhat a celebrity in the restaurant scene across the Emirate.

“Staff have been star-struck a few times when they’ve seen the Pie Man entering their restaurant!” he jokes.

“On three occasions I’ve been recognised by staff in the restaurant when going to review their pie. One waiter even shouted 'Pie Man' across the room, he couldn’t believe I was in there and asked me all about my content and how my reviews were going. Some places are even reaching out to me now to come and sample their pie and I have a collaboration with Just Food lined up.

“It’s quite funny being called the Pie Man and it always creates a laugh between my mates.”

With 11 venues already conquered, of which Toad in the Hole at Topgolf Dubai is currently ranked highest on the Pie O’ Meter, Grayston is keen to keep the momentum rolling and revealed his plans for the future of the Pie Man.

“I’m an international man of mystery so I want to review pies all over the world,” he says while laughing.

“There are probably around 40 places in Dubai that sell a pie, but a lot of those offer two or three different kinds. So once I’ve finished with them, I want to travel to other countries and see how their pies and culture differ to what we have over here.

“It doesn’t just have to be a restaurant either. Pies can be served everywhere from festivals to football matches and even the cinema in Dubai sells them! I could go and watch the new Wonka movie and have a pie – what a life. There’s lots of possibilities in the future, let’s see what happens...”

You can follow the @piemandxb on Instagram to keep up with his pie-eating journey in Dubai!

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