The Glorious Twelfth, which falls on 12 August each year, marks the beginning of game season in the UK. For around five months, many restaurants add game to their menus: a term referring to meat from an animal typically found in the wild rather than raised on farms – that includes venison, pheasant, partridge and more. Grouse shooting is a hotly debated topic (and you can read more about the different arguments here), but some believe it’s the most ethical and sustainable type of meat as it’s free-range and wild. So which chefs are cooking it best? Read on to discover the best restaurants for game season in London.
The Best Restaurants for Game Season
Phil Howard and Rebecca Mascarenhas’ Elystan Street is an elegant neighbourhood restaurant in Chelsea serving pared-back European fare. From 24 August (when ‘the birds are plumper, better flavoured and better value’, according to Howard), the eatery will be getting involved with game season with a new grouse dish, served with potato galettes, celeriac purée, elderberries and bacon.
43 Elystan St, London SW3 3NT, elystanstreet.com
Mark Kempson is a big fan of game, so it’s no surprise he goes big at his Kensington restaurant W8 come grouse season. From 16 August, head there for roast Yorkshire grouse served with ancient grains, smoked bacon and hedgerow jelly. Later in the season (from 9 – 22 October), there will be a special Celebration of Game menu on offer, with more details to come in due course.
11-13 Abingdon Rd, London W8 6AH, kitchenw8.com
The Cinnamon Club
British produce and Indian flavours have always been a delicious combination. Showcasing this to perfection is Vivek Singh’s modern Indian restaurant in Westminster Library, which will be serving a special smoked grouse breast with Achari spices, Tawa mince with fenugreek and mustard greens.
The Old Westminster Library, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BU, cinnamonclub.com
Named after the largest moon of Jupiter, Belgravia hotspot Ganymede serves British cuisine amid relaxed surroundings. On 17 August, the restaurant is celebrating game season with a Grouse Supplier Supper Club, featuring a three course menu from chef director Oliver Marlowe. The evening will begin with a starter of grouse, pork and pistachio terrine ahead of the main: a succulent roast grouse and pastilla leg with game chips. Finish with a crème brûlée served with whisky-laced ice cream. That’s not all though: a number of game specials will be on the menu throughout the season, including a grouse pâté starter, and a roast grouse breast main served with truffle, hispi cabbage and sautéed fois gras.
139 Ebury St, London SW1W 9QU, ganymedelondon.co.uk
Chef Amit Bagyal cooks up a storm at Yaatra, a modern Indian restaurant in the Old Westminster Fire Station. To tie in with game season this year, the team has brought back the tradition of ‘savouries’: an age-old tradition which acts as a palate cleanser after the sweet pudding. Diners will be able to enjoy a rarebit grouse dish: shredded grouse on sourdough topped with rarebit cheese sauce. Alongside this, there’s a star-anise flavoured confit grouse leg served with a spiced grouse croquette and topped with a coconut sauce.
4 Greycoat Pl, London SW1P 1SB, yaatrarestaurant.com
The Gladwin Brothers’ Restaurants
The ethos of the Gladwin brothers’ collection of restaurants is local and wild, so of course they like to get involved with game season. From 15 August, a whole grouse will be added to the menu of all their restaurants, such as The Fat Badger in Richmond and Rabbit in Chelsea. The special dish will be doused in brandy jus and liver pate, then served with blackberries, trompette mushrooms and crispy game chips.
Multiple locations, gladwinbrothers.com
Excellent British produce sits at the heart of new Mayfair restaurant 20 Berkeley, led by chef Ben Orpwood. Game will be added to the menu this season in the form of a roasted grouse with confit leg agnolotti, served with pickled cherries and blackberries – designed to be paired with a glass of Barolo or Pinot Noir.
20 Berkeley St, London W1J 8EE, 20berkeley.com
The Game Bird
Game is the star of the show at The Stafford’s restaurant. Dishes go beyond the classics, with inventive, hearty creations such as roast pigeon with turnips and barley risotto, and later in the season, game pithier with foie gras.
The Stafford, 16-18, St James’s Pl, St. James’s, London SW1A 1NJ, thestaffordlondon.com
The Jugged Hare
The clue’s in the name: game is a central part of The Jugged Hare, a gastropub on Vauxhall Bridge Road. Each year, the restaurant adds a number of grouse dishes to the menu – this year, that includes things like Norfolk squirrel croquette; Suffolk hare loin with king oyster mushroom wellington; and smoked Yorkshire grouse breast with confit grouse leg. It’s kicking off the season with a special dinner on 16 August, and other game-focused events will run throughout the autumn.
49 Chiswell St, London EC1Y 4SA, thejuggedhare.com
Cooking At Home
We’ve also compiled our favourite game recipes so you can make the most of the season at home:
- Tom Kitchin’s Grouse Sausage Rolls
- Countess Carnarvon’s Beater’s Stew
- Date, Saffron & Pigeon Tagine
- Wild Venison Steaks with Creamy Porcini Sauce
Main image: Getty Images