Tuesday August 12 heralds the start of the game season, and these London restaurants promise to tantalise the taste buds by coming up with innovative menus, tastings and demonstrations…
1) Bibendum head chef Matthew Harris kicks off the Glorious Twelfth with roast Yorkshire grouse served on a brioche croute with foie-gras pâté, game chips and bread sauce (£36 for two courses). September then sashays into menus offering a broad range of gamey mains, including wild grey- or red-legged partridge roasted with ceps, Armagnac and prune-and-bacon rolls; Scottish saddle of venison with juniper, shallots and red-wine sauce; and roast mallard with spiced quince compote (pictured). October’s line-up includes hare ragù with papardelle, as well as pheasant and woodcock – the latter classically roasted with its innards and served with a split head so that the brain may be savoured, as is tradition.
2) For one night only – on August 12 – London Shooting Club and Notting Hill’s The Shed will team up to provide a game-centric three-course menu of rabbit cutlet, pigeon dipper and mushroom Marmite, as well as venison cigars and other small surprises (£55 per person). In addition to these gustatory delights, the evening will include a lively grouse-shooting overview by the club’s co-founder, Steve Jones.
3) For grouse with a glorious view, Ting at the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard is the place to be from August 12 to 20. Chef de cuisine Simon Attridge has created an Asian-inspired game-bird dish with a lime leaf-infused white-wine sauce, fresh coriander cress, daikon and radish. The earthy flavours of the grouse meat – sourced from the shooting grounds of Bolton Estate in Yorkshire – will be further enhanced by wine and champagne pairings selected by Shangri-La’s head sommelier Anne Lomas.
4) The City’s innovative Jugged Hare gets in on the game right from the get-go on August 12, with rich selections sourced that day from Ben Weatherall of the Yorkshire Game Company. The evening kicks off with a sloe and mulberry gin drinks reception, followed by a sumptuous grouse feast with matched wines. Menus later in the season feature game from select gamekeepers and riflemen across the UK, and dishes include the eponymous 18th-century slow-braised hare dish finished with a blood sauce, alongside salt-baked grey-legged partridge with skirlie and juniper jus, devilled game giblets on toast, and wild boar and black pudding lollipops. Masterclasses can also be taken in plucking, trussing and dressing various game birds (October-February; £150 per person), and there’s the option of five-course Game & Bordeaux dinners (November 12 and 19).
5) At Mark’s Grouse and Whisky Feast (£115 per person), on Wednesday August 27 at Hix Soho, diners can delight in Mark Hix’s inventive takes on this flavourful fowl. His menu includes grouse broth with Aviemore girolles, tagine with Sutton Farm squash, and his signature pudding, hedgerow pie. All dishes will be paired with a smooth selection of Talisker whiskies and Innis & Gunn beers.
Autumn is looking glorious indeed…