Vegans look away now, because the rest of us are going to give game season both barrels. ‘Glorious twelfth’, the day that fires the starting gun on the British game season, is also a great reminder that while the world may stand still in the face of the pandemic, the natural ebb and flow of the seasons continues, 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.
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.
Here are some of the best places to head this game season for an authentic British game experience …
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 restaurant, at The Stafford London, will be kicking 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.
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 this 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.
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.
And you won’t be disappointed, because if last year’s anything to go by the restaurant will again be sourcing the finest wild highland grouse, and serving it on a bed of actual burning wild heather to mark the beginning of the grouse shooting season. What’s more, with their in-house virtual shooting range, you can even shoot a virtual left-and-right (or an over-under if you’re a city banker) before having it cooked specially for you.
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.
With great outdoor space, it’s also 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
L’ortolan is wonderfully special. A short journey out of town, it’s Reading’s only Michelin starred restaurant and under Head Chef Tom Clarke, the game really is afoot.
Formerly cheffing in Buckingham Palce and Windsor Castle, not to mention Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir, if anyone knows about game then it’s going to be Clarke, which makes his roast grouse breast with confit leg, celeriac and blackberries utterly unmissable. Paired with an Antonio Carpano vermouth and tonic, this is an exquisite way to experience the very best of game season.
Baluchi At The LaLiT London
A stone’s throw from Tower Bridge, The LaLiT London’s restaurant, Baluchi, will be serving a glorious six course dinner to make the most of the Glorious Twelfth, while mixing in Indian flavours to create a fresh and different approach to game season. The menu includes grouse served with black cabbage poriyal, tandoori turnip and blackberry and moilee sauce; as well as clove smoked partridge with black spice, wild mushrooms and pancetta; and sula spiced venison with quinoa khiehdi.
Where: 181 Tooley Street, Borough, SE1 2JR
Corrigan’s Mayfair hasn’t reopened yet, apparently September is slated. But the annual Corrigan’s Mayfair game season dinner is a night up there with Burns’ Night as an annual event, held last year in September the dinner included four courses, canapés, coffee and petit fours and came with optional wine pairings from head sommelier Jolanta Dinnadge. Watch this space, we’ll let you know as soon as we do!
Where: 28 Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, W1K 7EH
A does-what-it-says-on-the-tin restaurant of the highest degree, Roast is the place for a London roast dinner, and what could be roastier than a full-on meal of British game? The restaurant still remains shut post-coronavirus but we’re sure that as soon as their doors swing open they’ll be all over game season!
Last year the Borough Market hotspot produced an Indian themed game dinner, let’s see if they can top that!
Walk into one of London’s many fine Indian restaurants and demand a serving of grouse tikka masala and you’ll find yourself sorely disappointed; not so at Roast. The Borough Market hotspot has released the dish, accompanied by an Isle of Wight tomato pachadi and Cornish sag aloo mids, fusing the classic British ingredients with Indian flavours, all while honouring the game season.
Where: The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, Borough, SE1 1TL