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Monday 12 August marks the Glorious Twelfth – the start of the grouse shooting season – and UK chefs will celebrate with dishes that showcase the rich, dark meat of this beautiful bird, as well as other game dishes. Find out where you can enjoy roast grouse – be it with traditional bread sauce, game chips or something more avant-garde – and book a table via SquareMeal.co.uk.
For the coming season, The Avenue is upping its, um, game, serving not only a traditional whole-roasted grouse with braised red cabbage, chestnuts, parsnip crisps and bread sauce, but also a four-course grouse tasting menu with matching wines (from £45/£70 with/without wine).
This intimate Knightsbridge bistro will hail the start of the grouse season by hosting a special evening in association with the London Shooting Club. The grouse theme will see executive chef Gary Durrant demonstrate how to prepare and cook the bird, and Rupert Bairamian of wine importer HallgartenDruitt suggest Burgundian pairings for grouse dishes. Guests can then sit down to a four-course menu starring a traditional roast bird with all the trimmings (£60).
This year, chef Vivek Singh and the Cinnamon Kitchen team are shaking up the City with The Butcher Bar (opening 20 August). Anise will be transformed into a traditionally styled butcher, complete with meat hooks, stuffed animals and a wealth of meaty delights. The prize ‘kill’? The Butcher’s Block (£18pp) – a sharing platter featuring beef, venison and grouse brought to the table on a traditional block and served with a single cleaver.
Richard Corrigan’s Mayfair restaurant is trying something new this year: diners of the hunter-gatherer persuasion will be able to bring in their own grouse or game kills for the chef to prepare for family and friends. The à la carte menu will also feature classic game dishes including pies, roasts and stews as the season progresses, plus specials such as spiced venison tartare, or wild boar with caramelised quince and scratchings.
Chef-patron Jeff Galvin’s 2013 game offering is North Yorkshire grouse shot that morning, served in the classic style with Savoy cabbage, game chips and bread sauce. The dish can be ordered on its own from Monday 19 August, or as part of a special set menu on the Glorious Twelfth itself – accompanying dishes will include signatures from the restaurant such as ballotine of Landaise foie gras, and lasagne of Dorset crab with girolle-mushroom velouté (£95pp including matching wines, coffee, petits fours and a signed copy of Galvin: a Cookbook de Luxe).
From 13 August until 10 December, The Dorchester’s much-loved Grill restaurant will feature three grouse dishes on its seasonal à la carte menu, all made with birds from the Yorkshire Moors. Diners can enjoy traditional roast grouse with cabbage, bacon, game chips, Cumberland sauce, and liver toasts, all drizzled in rich game gravy, or something a little different – perhaps ballottine of grouse with garlic sausage, wild mushrooms and Norfolk cauliflower, or grouse pie with foie gras, black pudding, beets and game jus.
As its name suggests, traditional British game is at the heart of this buzzing Chiswell Street gastropub when in season. From 1 August, the kitchen will kick off the game season with its namesake: jugged hare, slow-braised 18th-century style in a tall jug, then drizzled with a sauce made from its own blood. From then on, it’s open season on all things gamey – from salt-baked grey-legged partridge with skirlie and juniper jus, or snipe kiev with pickled cabbage, to devilled game giblets on toast – all served in a fun, innovative style. Expect daily changing specials, too, including black grouse, moorhen and golden plover – some shot by the pub’s owners, Tom and Ed Martin.
The famous game bird is making a comeback to Le Café Anglais’ menu for another year: diners can look forward to the plumpest, highest-quality grouse sourced from the English and Scottish moors and hung for three to four days to ensure the juiciest meat. Chef Rowley Leigh and his kitchen team will then spit-roast the birds to order and serve them with fried potato chips and gravy (£26.50).
Game fan and ex-Bentley’s chef Brendan Fyldes will serve roast grouse with game chips, seasonal vegetables and game gravy. His kitchen will receive its grouse delivery directly from the Scottish Highlands on the morning of 12 August, in a bid to be one of the first London restaurants with grouse on the menu.
City gastropub The Oyster Shed will celebrate the grouse season from 14 August onwards, when the menu will feature roast grouse with grouse-liver pâté on toast, game chips and watercress (£21); siblings The Phoenix and The Prince Albert will also follow suit. Meanwhile, over at The Builders Arms in Chelsea, grouse breast stuffed with apple, foie gras and minced veal will be served with grouse-and-potato croquettes and grouse jus.
The grouse at London’s oldest restaurant will be sourced, as ever, from its Highland estate in the High Pennines. As is customary, roast grouse with all the trimmings will be a fixture on the menu from the evening of 12 August throughout the game season – but the kitchen is also shaking up its offering this year, with seasonal specials such as warm grouse salad peppering the à la carte menu as the shooting season progresses.
Chef Adam Byatt knows his game and takes the season seriously. Diners at his Clapham flagship can pre-order Yorkshire grouse with game chips, watercress, bread sauce and redcurrant (£35), or indulge in a £60 game-tasting menu that brings the best of the British countryside to the table – from game terrine on toasted brioche to pot-roast English partridge.
Other great restaurants serving grouse and game:
Please note: Some of the restaurants listed above will not serve grouse until later in the season; please check before you book.