Feels like summer only just started, right? Nope, that’s just 2020 playing tricks again. Despite the heatwave, we’re actually hurtling towards autumn and the first sign of that in the food world is the Glorious Twelfth.
In the UK, August 12 is the first date of the game shooting season. It’s a serious matter: partly because getting your guns out and killing anything before then is illegal, but also because it heralds the entrance of a much-missed wild meat onto the country’s restaurant menus.
Grouse – a small, low-flying game bird that feasts on the heather in the moors of Yorkshire and Scotland – will return to the capital’s restaurants this week. The strong-flavoured, tender meat is traditionally served roasted with game chips (crisp-like lattices of deep fried potato), bread sauce, watercress and more hearty trimmings, but as ever, London restaurants are getting creative.
From grouse fettuccine to a dinner served with a spectacular view of the city skyline, here’s where to eat the coveted bird from the Glorious Twelfth onwards.
The Game Bird
The name ever so slightly gives it away, but The Game Bird at the Stafford hotel in Mayfair is well and truly on board for the Glorious Twelfth. The restaurant will serve roast grouse in the traditional style, serving it with game chips, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, pâté en croûte and watercress for £38 a portion. The dish will also be available on the restaurant’s menu for the rest of the season.
The Stafford, 16-18 St James's Place, SW1A 1NJ, thestaffordlondon.com
Boisdale of Belgravia
The Belgravia location of the Scottish-inspired restaurant isn’t just serving one grouse dish this season – it’s serving a five-course tasting menu, with each dish featuring a slice of the coveted bird. The £59.50 menu will include the likes of grouse terrine with gherkins and toast, and a grouse ragu with wild mushrooms and organic fettuccine. Alternatively, diners can enjoy a £29.50 portion of roasted grouse with game chips, bread sauce, liver pate and more. They’ll have to wait though – grouse will only be on the menu from August 20, and those wanting the tasting menu will need to give 48 hours notice.
15 Eccleston Street, SW1W 9LX, boisdale.co.uk
Farm-to-table champions the Gladwin Brothers will be serving up a grouse feast at their Notting Hill restaurant The Shed. As part of a six-course menu on August 12, chef Oliver Gladwin will serve 100 of the season’s first grouse – driven straight from the Yorkshire dales that day – served with heritage vegetable crisps, beef dripping sourdough toast, cherry and red wine jus and a watercress salsa. Grouse dishes will then go on the menus at The Shed and Soho sibling Sussex for the rest of the season.
122 Palace Gardens Terrace, W8 4RT, theshed-restaurant.com
The Jugged Hare
Game-centric restaurant The Jugged Hare is always excited about the Glorious Twelfth, but expect celebrations to be even more jubilant than usual. August 12 will be the first day the City spot has reopened post-lockdown, and will see it serve the first grouse of the season from the Yorkshire moors that evening, alongside traditional trimmings of liver pâté en croûte, bread sauce, game chips, savoy cabbage and a bacon and game jus .
49 Chiswell Street, EC1Y 4SA, thejuggedhare.com
Grouse tend to spend most of their time on the ground, but you can enjoy this one 31-stories up London’s tallest building. This week, Aqua Shard is matching its spectacular views with a luxurious three-course grouse menu. From August 12-19 will serve a £55 spread of grouse consommé, pearl barley, foie gras and braised mushrooms with cabbage; roasted red grouse breast with blackberry and beetroot puree and sherry sauce, before finishing the evening with a sharing portion of dark chocolate souffle with rice pudding ice cream.
The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9RY, aquashard.co.uk
La Poule au Pot
This popular French bistro in Belgravia is swapping its European inclinations to embrace a purely British dish this week. From August 15, La Poule au Pot will serve grouse from the Yorkshire Dales alongside its daily vegetable selection and a generous splash of game sauce. The dish will also be available all day, so diners can tuck into the luxurious treat at lunchtime too.
231 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UT, pouleaupot.co.uk
And if you don’t feel like heading out…
Mac & Wild x British Game Alliance
Scottish restaurant Mac & Wild has teamed up with the British Game Alliance to bring the grouse experience into foodies’ homes. Available to order via Restaurant Kits – the new online hub for restaurant-designed recipe boxes recently launched by Mac & Wild’s founders – the DIY kit includes all you need to cook your own Scottish grouse with toasted brioche loaf, dirty chicken jus, charred red pepper and spring onion, all in your own kitchen. It’ll be available to buy from August 12 until the end of the season.
UK delivery via restaurantkitsuk.com