Anyone who has traveled to Australia or Great Britain is probably familiar with their iconic dishes like savory meat pies. A month ago, I would’ve wished you luck in your search for authentic tasting pub fare in the U.S. Not now. Australian-born Steve Phillips, and his American wife Aimee, have painstakingly brought their love of these delicacies to Ft. Collins, Colorado where they often serve homesick Aussies, Brits and anyone else longing for traditional pub food.
Steve learned his family’s pastry secrets while working in their successful bakery on Australia’s central coast. This came in handy once he and Aimee decided to move to the U.S. in hopes of opening a restaurant offering traditional Aussie pies; pies that one day their American patrons will love as much as Australians themselves. After scouring the Colorado landscape, they ended up in the busy Campus West area of Ft. Collins, right next to the University of Colorado, and Waltzing Kangaroo was established.
After creating a clean, bright, and open-kitchen floor plan, they planned the menu. They decided this venue would feature the best of everything, including a tantalizing selection of beef, chicken, lamb, and vegetable pies, as well as savory rolls, side dishes, and sweets.
Unsure of how their affordable, slow-cooked gourmet pies would be received, they took the plunge and opened their doors in March 2016. To their amazement, the line went out the door and they sold out before the end of the day. “We were bombarded,” says Aimee, who found that so many people loved their experience that they became regulars after day one.
The secret to the Phillips’ early success comes from their commitment to using quality ingredients and spices imported from Australia and making everything from scratch. In fact, each pie takes days to prepare. Pies start with roasting bones and vegetables for a stock that cooks 11 hours. After the base is strained, the meat is cooked in a gravy stock for another five hours until it falls off the bones. Other ingredients are added and the combination is placed in a handmade puff pastry and baked to perfection. The result is a rich and flavorful taste that turns customers into instant fans, judging by the early 5-star reviews on Yelp.
The most popular pies at Waltzing Kangaroo are steak and gravy; Guinness®, steak and mushroom; and lamb and rosemary. Other popular items are the chicken in Mornay sauce and sides like sweet potato mash and bright green mushy peas.
Wanting every aspect of their eatery to be a fair dinkum (Aussie for tried and true) experience, Steve and Aimee import Bundaberg Ginger Beer from back home. If you’ve never had a good ginger beer, don’t miss this bold flavor experience.
For dessert, try their profiterole pastry filled with crème pâtissière, which is dipped in chocolate ganache, or their vanilla slice, a creamy vanilla custard placed between light puff pastry with a tart lemon curd icing.
Both Steve and Aimee also wanted to offer true Australian coffee espresso, something they missed from Australia. Working with a local, custom roaster and some trial and error, they finally found a successful recipe. Coffee aficionados can now savor something special in Colorado that they would normally have to fly 25 hours to sip.
There is something about cool weather and comfort food that seems to go together. Waltzing Kangaroo has tapped into a collective, culinary desire and is gaining in popularity with every bite of steaming, savory pie.
FTC Disclosure: This was a sponsored visit. Opinions herein belong to the author.