The British game season kicks off with a bang on August 12, as the Glorious Twelfth marks the arrival of red grouse onto dining tables.
Despite some fluctuations in grouse numbers in certain areas, there is a prevailing sense of optimism due to a favorable warm and dry spring this year.
This has allowed grouse to breed in healthy numbers across the moorlands of northern England and Scotland, potentially resulting in a surplus of harvestable grouse to sell.
A Beloved British Ingredient: Grouse in the Spotlight
Grouse is a highly seasonal and quintessentially British ingredient cherished by chefs.
Mark Kempson, the chef at Kitchen W8 in Kensington, expresses his fondness for grouse, stating that its deep and aromatic flavor reflects its status as a free-range bird foraging in the moors of North Yorkshire and Scotland.
Grouse’s Culinary Journey: From Plate to Palate
The young, early-season grouse are particularly valued for their succulent meat and delicate, gamey flavor.
Traditional preparation calls for roasting the whole bird to a pink hue and serving it with a medley of accompaniments such as game chips, grouse liver pâté, bread sauce, and braised red cabbage.
Some chefs advocate for aging the meat for a few days to enhance its flavor.
However, due to the Glorious Twelfth falling on a Saturday this year, many restaurants plan to feature grouse on their menus in the following week.
Exploring the Grouse Menu: From Classic to Innovative
It’s advised not to delay in savoring grouse, as the meat of older birds can become tough and intensely flavored.
For those seeking a milder introduction, opting for grouse breast over the whole bird is recommended.
Additionally, London restaurants offer a diverse range of preparations, from the traditional British approach to innovative Indian spicing.
Establishments like Kutir, Yaatra, and the Cinnamon Club offer options to cater to varying tastes.
London’s Culinary Landscape: Grouse on the Menu
London boasts a variety of restaurants serving grouse this autumn, ranging from traditional British fare to creative Indian-inspired dishes.
As the season progresses, it’s advisable to verify the presence of grouse on the menu before visiting and consider making early reservations to secure your meal.
Prices may also vary based on availability.
Here are some notable restaurants featuring grouse dishes:
– Ganymede: Offering a “Grouse Supplier Supper Club” and various grouse-based dishes from August 17 onwards.
– The Jugged Hare: Featuring a hare-based dish alongside traditional grouse offerings.
– No. Fifty Cheyne: Serving roasted grouse with a terrine of leg meat, potato, bacon, and more from September 1.
– The Cinnamon Club: Showcasing a chargrilled grouse breast with Indian spicing from August 16.
– Kitchen W8: Serving roast Yorkshire grouse with ancient grains and other accompaniments from August 16.
– Kutir: Presenting tandoori grouse marinated with Indian spices from August 12.
– L’Escargot: Serving grouse à la anglaise with pommes gaufrette and more from August 15.
– 45 Jermyn St.: Offering whole roasted grouse with rowanberry jelly from August 17.
– Boisdale: Featuring Highland grouse with traditional trimmings from August 15.
– Yaatra: Presenting a star anise-flavored confit grouse leg and other dishes from August 12.
– Gladwin Brothers group: Offering whole red Yorkshire grouse with a variety of accompaniments from August 15.
– La Poule au Pot and Maggie Jones: Serving roast grouse covered in bacon and other game-based dishes.
As the game season unfolds, the arrival of snipe, partridge, pheasant, and woodcock ensures a continuing array of delectable options. Embrace the culinary adventure and enjoy the flavors of the season!