Features

The best places to eat game

Roe deer at The Woodsman

As the shooting season for some UK species draws to a close, Good Food Guide editor, Amber Dalton, picks the best places to eat game

While pigeon, rabbit, muntjac and, erm, squirrel may be hunted year round, you won’t find wild pheasant, partridge, duck or goose on menus much beyond the season’s end next weekend. So head to one of these great restaurants for some of the best - and most imaginative - game dishes around.  
 

RULES
Covent Garden, London | British | £50
London’s oldest restaurant – established 1798 – could easily have fallen into touristtrap territory, but it continues to delight with its repertoire of well practised
dishes, intimate clubby spaces and congenial atmosphere. Game is a particular draw here, whether in a main of braised wild rabbit, crown of wild duck, or roast red leg partridge with creamed leeks. Save room for the likes of steamed syrup pudding with custard. rules.co.uk


THE CINNAMON CLUB
Westminster, London | Indian | £75
With its polished parquet floors and wallto- wall leather-bound books (it was the
Old Westminster Library, after all), this aristocratic Indian never fails to impress.
Game has featured on the menu since it opened in 2001. Our GFG inspector was
thrilled at the marriage of Anjou pigeon breast and ‘brilliant’ peanut and pumpkin
chutney, and there’s praise too for Balmoral Estate tandoori venison loin with fenugreek potatoes. cinnamonclub.com

 

HARE & HOUNDS
Aberthin, Glamorgan | British | £30
Settle in by the open fire of this village pub with dried hops above the bar, real ales on tap and photos of local teams, and order a snack of venison mince on duck fat toast. In the dining room proper, an open kitchen hints at the serious intent behind the stoves. There’s a no-nonsense philosophy to big-flavoured dishes of roast woodcock, breast and leg of mallard with bacon and beetroot, or a rib-sticking
bone marrow and game pie. Finish off with buttermilk pudding with honeycomb
and Bramley apple. hareandhoundsaberthin.com

 

THE BELL INN
Langford, Oxfordshire | Modern British | £30
This whitewashed village hostelry is home to a beautifully restored boozer with rooms, where steak nights and happy hours are a boon for lucky locals and the Oxfordshire-brewed ales are kept in good order. Alongside a roster of classic pub 
food – a half-pint of shell-on prawns, burgers and battered fish – come enticing mains of venison shepherd’s pie for two, or whole roast partridge from the nearby Barrington Park Estate. Sleep it off in one of the eight upstairs bedrooms.  thebelllangford.com

 

THE WOODSMAN | GFG BEST NEW ENTRY 2020
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire | British | £40
Within a timber-fronted, 17th-century building you’ll find this smart-casual restaurant set in a stylish modern extension. In charge of the menu is executive chef and renowned hunter-gatherer Mike Robinson who brings the joy of cooking outdoors indoors. At the heart of the operation sits a wood-fired oven, the source of much of the kitchen’s output, including a sharing dish of roe deer shoulder, cooked low and slow and served with deer gravy and The Woodsman’s signature ‘dirty mash’, heavy with butter and cream. Partridge from the nearby Ragley Estate comes with bread sauce, while a starter of wood pigeon is perfectly offset by a cep purée and bitter leaves. Flag down the passing drinks trolley for a barrel-aged Negroni. thewoodsmanrestaurant.co.uk

 

BENEDICTS
Norwich, Norfolk | Modern British | £39

A pleasingly low-key shop conversion on an attractive old city centre street is home to this compact restaurant where classic British ingredients pepper both the à la carte and tasting menus. Start perhaps with Norfolk game pâté en croûte and follow
with local roast partridge, matched with earthy salsify, pickled pear and hay jus. Don’t leave without trying the near-legendary Nanny Bush’s winter trifle, a winning dish from the BBC’s Great British Menu. restaurantbenedicts.com

 

SKOSH
Micklegate, York | Modern British | £25
There’s an Asian slant to dishes at this modern, small plates restaurant where plump, steamed dumplings might be filled with venison and celeriac, and served in a
limpid pork broth laced with black rice vinegar. Pigeon tikka is two gloriously sticky meaty skewers imaginatively paired with a lime pickle purée and a tangle of vanilla-infused kohlrabi slaw. Craft beers and well-chosen wines suit the food perfectly.  skoshyork.co.uk

FHIOR
Broughton St, Edinburgh | Modern Scottish | £40
Meaning ‘true’ in Gaelic, this labyrinthine venue aims for authenticity in its cooking.
Admire – then devour – beautiful dishes that make the most of the Scottish larder. Seafood and game are mainstays of a menu that, depending on the season, might usher in sika venison butchered on site so not an ounce is wasted, or partridge legs, first confited, then fried and served, crispy claws ’n’ all, as a bar snack to be dipped in fermented blackcurrant and miso sauce. fhior.com


Fancy cooking up a game feast for yourself? Waitrose & Partners have a selection to suit all tastes. Shop now

 

Prices given are the average spend per person for a three-course dinner without drinks