August 12 is known as the Glorious Twelfth – the official start to the game hunting season, which begins with red grouse. Whether you like yours roasted and served with the usual game chips and bread sauce, or prefer more avant-garde accompaniments to this most traditional of dishes, take your pick from the London restaurants that are upping their game this season.
Words: Nicky Evans
Tandoor-smoked grouse at The Cinnamon Club, Westminster
What: Vivek Singh’s flagship modern-Indian restaurant is a true pro when it comes to mixing tradition with innovation. This game season, the grouse will be transferred straight from the hunt to the tandoor, smoked and served with bitter fenugreek, corn stir-fry and tamarind-cumin jus for a truly subcontinental flavour (£38).
When: From 12 August until end September
Where: The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
The London Shooting Club’s first grouse of the season at Rabbit, Chelsea
What: Owners the Gladwin brothers have teamed up with The London Shooting Club to ensure their kitchen serves the very first spoils of this year’s season on the Glorious Twelfth itself, accompanied by candied beetroot, smoked onion petals, and blackcurrant-and-Armagnac sauce. (Grouse will also be available at siblings The Shed and Nutbourne later in the season.)
When: 12 August
Where: 172 Kings Road, SW3 4UP
Glorious grouse dinner at The Jugged Hare, City
What: This game-obsessed gastropub celebrates hunting, fishing and shooting year round; on the Glorious Twelfth, the new-season grouse will be rushed from Yorkshire to London to become the centrepiece of a five-course dinner with wine pairings (£85). Tuck into traditional roast grouse with game chips, liver pâté and spiced cabbage, plus other seasonal treats.
When: 12 August, 7.30pm
Where: 49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA
Smokin’ Yorkshire grouse at Kitchen W8, Kensington
What: At this gorgeous restaurant, the experience is perfectly choreographed to feel simultaneously like a neighbourhood night out and a Michelin-starred special occasion. This year, chef Mark Kempson will pair his roasted grouse with crispy bacon and seasonal treats, including smoked celeriac and pickled plums.
When: From 18 August
Where: 11-13 Abingdon Road, W8 6AH
Grouse by Phil Howard at Elystan Street, Chelsea
What: At chef Phil Howard’s cool, contemporary, and slightly more casual follow-up to The Square, grouse will grace the menu from 16 August. Howard’s take involves a roast breast with a croustillant of the leg, served with crushed celeriac and elderberries. Coming from this flavour wizard, it’s bound to thrill.
When: From 16 August
Where: 43 Elystan Street, SW3 3NT
North African-style grouse at Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Mayfair
What: You might have expected a serving of unadulterated tradition at The Connaught’s flagship restaurant during game season, but Hélène Darroze had other ideas: her celebration of grouse sees the bird roasted in ras-el-hanout and served with chickpea purée, confit onions, barbajuan (offal-filled fried pastries), medjool date sauce and grapes.
When: From mid-August onwards
Where: The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL
It doesn’t get much more British than game season, so why have a browse of our pick of the best British restaurants in the capital?
This article was published 11 August 2017