Game has returned to London's menus, and our favourite chefs are celebrating with a glut of creative new ways in which to eat it
Published: Thursday 29th September 2016
It's already that time of year again, when the evenings start to draw in and it's getting a tiny bit nippy, when we don our hunting gear and brave the drizzle to find some game to shoot.
Well, we don't personally, but some people do, with the happy result that the menus at our favourite restaurants are full of rich, delicious meats that we rarely see of the rest of the year, cooked in all sorts of seasonal ways, whether it's in sashimi or baked in clay.
It's proper seasonal eating, and that's why we love it. Tuck in.
Collaboration is a definite buzzword in food right now, and nowhere more so than at the vaunted Lyle's restaurant in Shoreditch. Chef James Lowe continues to invite some of the world's best, most exciting cooks into his kitchen – and he's got an extra-special edition to celebrate the British game season. He'll be welcoming Luke Burgess of Tasmania's Garagistes; Rafa Costa e Silva of Rio de Janeiro's Lasai; Angela Dimayuga of Mission Chinese Food in New York; Joaquin Cardoso of Carolta in Mexico City and Daniel Puskas of Sixpenny in Sydney. Disclaimer: we don't actually know who all of these people are, but judging by previous dinners, this one is set to be breathtakingly good.
Stevie Parle has put a new twist on one of the most popular dishes at Craft London, his restaurant on the Greenwich Peninsula: clay-baked duck has become clay-baked grouse in honour of game season, served up with damson, watercress and whisky. What makes this so delicious, you ask? That'd be the way the ancient cooking technique of baking in clay seals in the flavours, letting the bird steam while it roasts and infusing it with the flavours of the spices that accompany it. Sign. Us. Up.
Doesn't that dish look disgusting? No, it doesn't, and that's because it's rich, decadent grouse served with polenta and trendy Jerusalem artichoke, all from the experts in traditional British cooking at 45 Jermyn St. Sit back, tuck in and top it all off with a perfectly mixed drink from the restaurant's famed martini trolley.
Ben Murphy is undoubtedly a chef to watch, having won the Restaurant of the Year award with his new opening The Woodford. And game season is the one of the best times to do so thanks to the arrival of new ingredients to inspire creative dishes. You'll find us tucking into woodcock, pigeon and veal, as well as hare and mallard, before falling into a food coma on the lengthy journey from E18 back into central London.
It's game, but not as you know it. The acclaimed Japanese restaurant is doing things differently this year and serving grouse four ways. There'll be grouse sashimi, pan-seared grouse with wasabi salsa, roast grouse with truffle teriyaki and more. Just don't eat it all at once. Or do, and roll all the way home.
They might not celebrate the Glorious Twelfth across the Channel, but that hasn't stopped French chef Gregory Marchand joining the fray with his first menu dedicated to game. He's getting stuck in with two grouse dishes – a terrine and a roast with chanterelle mushrooms and sumac – and putting a new twist on the French classic Lièvre à la Royale, to create a lighter version of the traditional offering of wild hare with foie gras and sauce poivrade, while elsewhere, there'll be a venison loin and a venison shoulder ragu. Game faces at the ready.