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

Cinnamon Club London restaurant bar game season

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

Rabbit London restaurant bar

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

Game season London restaurants 12 August 2016

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

Kitchen W8

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

Elystan Street London restaurant

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

The Connaught London restaurant bar

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