24 March 2017 | 8 °C

The Glorious Twelfth: London's Restaurants Are Game

Ben Norum
By Ben Norum Last edited 79 months ago
The Glorious Twelfth: London's Restaurants Are Game

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little does he know

The glorious twelfth is upon us, and as of today the game shooting season has officially started. It is now legal to shoot ptarmigan, common snipe and the one that everyone gets excited about, grouse. It’s also a sign that shooting seasons for partridge, duck, goose and pigeon* aren’t far off.

Whilst rural areas celebrate the sport of shooting and the money they can sell their kills for, almost all commercially shot game in the first week of the season makes its way to London, where chefs are eager to be first to plate it up no matter the high cost.

Rules in Covent Garden is the oldest establishment in London to serve game, and given that they actually own the Lartington Estate in the High Pennines and have been shooting there today, they’ve got one up on other restaurants. As you read this, they will be personally transporting their kills back to London ready to be served up to diners eager to be amongst the first to try the new season’s grouse.

Other spots hot off the mark who’ll have grouse on this evening’s menu include The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, Mayfair’s The Square restaurant and Racine, where chef Henry Harris will be serving it up with an Armagnac gravy, bread sauce and a foie gras crouton.

The not quite so speedy Corrigan’s of Mayfair will start to serve game from tomorrow, as will Le Pont De La Tour in Shad Thames. The Galvin brothers aren’t even attempting to compete, instead holding off for a few more days to allow the grouse to hang and for the flavours to develop. The same is true of the Renaissance pubs group who’ll be waiting until next week before launching a series of game specials at their gastropubs in Clapham, Battersea and Kennington.

They’ll no doubt also be keen for the prices to drop a little. This will fluctuate depending on market value, but anything from £27 to £45 a bird is to be expected in London’s restaurants for the next few days. Within just a week or two, this price will have more than halved as the initial rush dies down.

* you're not allowed to shoot the pigeons at Trafalgar Square

Last Updated 12 August 2010