Game season this year started out a little like that scene at the end of Danny The Champion Of The World, the bit where the guns stand waiting for the birds to fly over them and absolutely nothing happens. And as a result of grouse being thin on the moors, it’s still thin on London plates too. But hopefully that’ll change in the coming weeks.
Grouse Season traditionally starts on 12th August, kicking off the game season and followed by partridge, deer and pheasant seasons, with a flurry of feathers and lead followed by beautifully roasted grouse in restaurants the following days. But this year, for various climate reasons, the season is late and only a tiny amount is grouse landing on London plates.
But as we head toward autumn, the natural ebb and flow of the seasons continue, mother nature’s cycle of birth, life and violent death by a hail of lead shot is unstoppable and continues as it has for millennia. And Game Season is a great opportunity to enjoy some of Britain’s tastiest produce, but also to engage with food more directly than simply slinging it into a Sainsbury’s trolley. Grouse, pheasant or partridge eaten over game season was likely living a relatively natural life just days before it’s expertly served on your plate.
So now it’s starting to get going, let’s give Game Season both barrels!
The Game Bird
The clue’s in the name… This is a restaurant sets out to achieve one aim, and gives it more than their best shot.
The clue's in the name...
The restaurant, at The Stafford London, kicks into overdrive this August and throughout game season, under the direction of Culinary Director Ben Tish, and will of course be championing some of Britain’s finest seasonal game.
When grouse isn’t available, give the pigeon a go!
Where: 16-18 St James’s Place, St. James’s, SW1A 1NJ
A Brudniski styled brilliance of banquettes, 45 Jermyn Street brings St James’s sophistication to game season each summer.
Settle into a booth and enjoy the combo of old-school-glamour-meets-modernity as you tuck into a menu of game season classics.
The Beef Wellington is a very notable alternative, though it needs ordering in advance, but I can attest to the fact it’s completely worth it.
Where: 45 Jermyn St., St. James’s, SW1Y 6DN
More Scottish than a Nicola Sturgeon painted blue, drinking a pint of North Sea crude oil and screaming FREEDOM! Mac & Wild is the quintessential Scottish dining experience in London, and that means that this really is the place to head for the Glorious Twelfth.
At least, we think it is… Covid made the company pivot successfully to meal kit and to close their Devonshire Square branch. But we’ve been unable to find out exactly when they plan to reopen their Fitzrovia restaurant. The website’s taking bookings for January, though, when game is still in season, so it really will be worth the wait.
Where: 65 Great Titchfield Street, London, W1W 7PS
La Poule au Pot are always one to visit during game season with meat brought to the Belgravia-slash-Pimlico restaurant straight from The Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Ideal for anyone looking to put a little social distance between themselves and the great unwashed of Belgravia…
The restaurant also boasts a swathe of outdoor space, if you’re able to go in the warmer months and ideal for anyone looking to put a little social distance between themselves and the great unwashed of Belgravia…
Where: 231 Ebury Street, Pimlico, SW1W 8UT
Like so many Mayfair residents, Corrigan’s Mayfair, has had some serious work done. Lockdown was an opportunity to spruce up and launch back onto the London scene looking fabulous, and the restaurant has certainly done that.
Game season at Corrigan’s Mayfair is always an event, with pigeon and quail available to flutter in if the grouse can’t make it.
Where: 28 Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, W1K 7EH
A does-what-it-says-on-the-tin restaurant, Roast is specialises in roast dinners. And what could be roastier than a full-on meal of British game?
Last year the Borough Market hotspot produced an Indian themed game dinner, let’s see if they can top that! Grouse tikka masala anyone?
Where: The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, Borough, SE1 1TL
As the season progresses we’ll be adding more and more restaurants and menus to this list, so if you know any great additions please do let us know…