Game On: Where to Get Partridge, Deer and More

By Mary Anne Evans  |  November 25, 2013

It’s those cold winter days that bring on the urge for a tasty partridge, wild duck, woodcock, deer or that hard-to-pronounce and rare bird, the ptarmigan (you lose the ‘p’). Here are five restaurants where you can check out the seasonal game on offer, some of which no doubt comes courtesy of avid followers of Downton Abbey.

  • Fulham: Harwood Arms

    This gastropub in Fulham really does live up to its claim of bringing ‘the country to town’. Smart and sassy diners - who include some of London’s top chefs - tuck into autumnal dishes like a mixed board of wild game from Berkshire as a starter, followed by grouse from North Yorkshire served with buttered greens, potato and malt. When it’s booked up, we sit at the bar for the likes of scotch egg freshly cooked inside a venison and sausage case, a bar snack that has achieved legendary status.

    Walham Grove, SW6 1QP; 020 7386 1847

  • Westminster: Cinnamon Club

    Get the Indian take on game dishes in this spacious, double-height former library that has become the local canteen for Members of Parliament and government ministers. Vivet Singh’s twice-marinated grouse goes into the tandoori oven; his venison is flavoured with Rajasthani spices and comes with a ginger and onion sauce. And his venison pickle goes with everything.

    The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith St., SW1P 3BU; 020 7222 2555

  • City of London: The Jugged Hare

    The former City of London pub is called after an 18th-century dish that involves the now deeply fashionable, slow-cooking method - and with that name you know you’re in good hands when it comes to game. Stuffed-game birds and deer heads provide the decor, while culinary excitement comes from dishes like cured venison on the bone and the hunter’s sandwich of sourdough bread stuffed with pigeon breasts, grouse breasts, venison steaks, vegetables and cheese. A must-try is the exemplary and authentic jugged hare, where the juice is thickened by the animal’s blood. 

    49 Chiswell St., EC1Y 4SA; 020 7614 0134

  • Covent Garden: Rules

    The red plush interior with its walls covered with old oil paintings of long-forgotten Victorians and heroic battle scenes hasn’t changed since Charles Dickens was a regular. Tradition rules in the kitchen as well with all the game and exemplary beef coming from their own estate in the Pennines. Seasonal autumn dishes include roast crown of pheasant; roast wild duck with red cabbage, roast square and black currant jus; gratin of hare; and roast red leg of partridge with savoy cabbage, pear and chestnut.

    35 Maiden Ln., WC2E 7LB; 020 7836 5314

  • Credit: Patricia Niven

    Smithfield: St. John

    You get what you see in this white-walled, industrial-style restaurant - a great welcome from friendly staff, plain wood tables and chairs, and a menu that is a bare description with no trimmings. Short daily-changing menus mean market-led dining, so one day you might get grouse with a sprig of parsley, and another day it might be braised venison cooked in red wine with swede.

    26 St. John St., EC1M 4AY; 020 7251 0848