Five Of The Best Places To Eat Grouse In London
Roasted grouse. Photograph courtesy of Wiltons
To mark the Glorious Twelfth and the start of the season, here’s the final word on where to scoff the bird.
Coquettishly shy in its natural habitat and difficult to farm, the grouse is a stubborn bird. But, knowing the sheer hard work involved in shooting a grouse (lore has it a man must walk a mile for each grouse he shoots) makes the first, tender taste of the meat all the sweeter.
If you’re not prepared to put in the relentless graft on the moors come the start of the UK grouse shooting season on 12 August, you can take advantage of the race among urban restaurants to get the first of the season back to the city, plucked, prepared and, as tradition dictates, roasted and served with bread sauce, breadcrumbs, game chips and gravy.
Here are the best places in London to sample grouse from sundown on the evening of the Glorious Twelfth.
Photography courtesy of Wiltons
One of London’s oldest restaurants ensures that their first grouse of the season (shot in North Yorkshire) are served up by 8pm on the 12th. This year a double magnum of Château Labégorce Zédé 2005 has been purchased to be served by the glass to diners alongside the classic grouse dish on opening evening.
The Cinnamon Club
Photography courtesy of The Cinnamon Club
Breaking with grouse convention may make the game traditionalists splutter into their chablis. But The Cinnamon Club’s Eastern style grouse is a gloriously unctuous creation made with Tandoor-smoked breast of grouse with bitter fenugreek, corn stir-fry and tamarind-cumin jus. Bravely, and perhaps recklessly, the restaurant is also offering up a Shikaar breakfast consisting of curried grouse and venison mince with a fried egg and Bombay spiced vegetables.
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
Photography courtesy of Claude Bosi at Bibendum
With less than a third of the fat and twice the protein than you’d get in a roast chicken, grouse is also unusually high in calcium and iron. The garnishes and sides however usually render the full grouse experience more hearty than healthy. From 14 August, you have the option of a more restrained approach in the formal upstairs dining room Bibendum where the grouse is served with girolles, sourdough bread sauce and sweetcorn and curry purée. Or you can keep it old-school by heading to the downstairs Oyster Bar where the grouse is served up with game chips and bread sauce.
Photography courtesy of Boisdale
This haven of haggis and tartan (now in with three other London locations) is such a game fan that owner Mr Ranald Macdonald (don’t worry – there’s not a Happy Meal in sight) organises the Boisdale Shooting Cup for chefs each year. Their roasted grouse comes from wildest Berwickshire in the Scottish borders and is served with game chips and liver parfait, redcurrant jelly, bread sauce, game crumbs, watercress and gravy. This year they’re offering it alongside a glass of Château Rahoul Bordeaux, all for £29.50.
The Jugged Hare
Photography courtesy of The Jugged Hare
Grouse may not be a dish normally associated with pub fare – it’s hard to picture it alongside a pint of lager near a dart board. But The Jugged Hare, in the heart of the Square Mile, is the Anderson & Sheppard of City gastropubs, serving up grouse from the evening of the 12th onwards. Opening night diners get a five-course dinner with matching wines, which includes grouse liver pâté.