Every year restaurateurs and chefs get excited in the run up to the Glorious Twelfth, and this summer is no different. Marking the beginning of the grouse shooting season, and therefore the start of the wider game season, August 12 is when summer menus begin to slip inexorably into heartier, more flavoursome, autumn fare.
Here’s our pick of restaurants marking the occasion.
The Game Bird
The Game Bird at The Stafford Hotel opened in March this year and now really gets to live up to its name. Going all in, they’re launching into the game season with a plateful – roast grouse, game chips, bread sauce, braised legs, and grouse pâté en croûte. thestaffordlondon.com
Chef Stevie Parle, known for his commitment to sourcing, growing and producing ingredients for his Greenwich restaurant Craft London will be roasting the first grouse of the year this Saturday, serving it alongside game pie with fermented cucumber and parsley root. craft-london.co.uk
The people who join the epic queues outside Padella at Borough Market are no fools. Widely regarded as one of the best places to get good pasta in the city, those lines will surely only grow even longer with the reappearance on the menu of last year’s firm favourite, pappardelle with grouse ragu. padella.co
Highbury’s favourite neighbourhood restaurant, Trullo, will also be giving grouse an Italian twist. Alongside the more classic roast grouse and chips with quince aioli, you’ll also find roast grouse with potato and porcini al forno, and grouse tortellini in game broth on the menu. trullorestaurant.com
The Canary Wharf restaurant is taking a different spin on celebrating the game season, launching a series of supper clubs called The Nest. Each features a menu especially curated for the dinner by head chef Jeremy Trehout focusing on a different game bird for each week – grouse for August, followed by partridge in September, and pheasant rounding off The Nest in October. plateau-restaurant.co.uk
Claude Bosi at Bibendum is adding Scottish grouse to the a la carte menu and as an option to the restaurant’s seven course set menu, hanging fire ever so slightly, to start from August 24. His twist is to serve the bird with girolles, sweetcorn and curry puree, and a sourdough bread sauce. bibendum.co.uk
Berkeley Square’s high end Indian restaurant Jamavar launches a game menu at the end of the month with an eastern vibe – expect venison anda samosas, roe deer boti, and quail kempu made with curry leaf oil, samphire, pachadi and buttermilk on the menu from August 28. jamavarrestaurants.com
From Tuesday next week, head chef Alex Harper at West End restaurant Neo Bistro will be serving up roast Yorkshire grouse, with an equally seasonal accompaniment of wild blackberries, a cocoa bean truffle sauce and summer savoury. neobistro.co.uk
Outside London, Bel and the Dragon
If you’d like to get closer to where the fowl fly, the team at Bel and The Dragon led by head chef Ronnie Kimbugwe will be serving grouse with game chips, bread sauce and jus at their Cookham inn, following a local shoot. belandthedragon.co.uk