Game in London
I'm new to game and would like to try it since it's in season. And I have a birthday and anniversary coming up so I could slip in a hint here and there...
What sort of meat would you suggest for someone who's new to game? I see the word "gamey" being thrown out a lot, but honestly I have no idea what that tastes like. I've had pigeon in Hong Kong before, but didn't find it much different from duck!
So far I've come up with a few restaurants on Chowhound and on Time Out that seem to get come up consistently for game, i.e. St John, Hereford Road, Harwood Arms, and Rules. My searches have also turned up The Ledbury, Le Cafe Anglais, and Galvin at Windows. I'm a student, so ideally wouldn't want to pay more than 30pp without wine (I don't drink alcohol). Is this possible at all? (I'd like to add that I've never eaten in a fine-dining establishment in London, so please forgive me if I'm being woefully ignorant about this whole process.)
Also, I know the Ledbury, le Cafe Anglais and Galvin all have set lunches - are they available on weekend lunchtimes as well, or just Mon-Fri?
All comments appreciated! Thanks!
Try the Harwood, for that budget you should be OK, as it is a pub and it is owned by someone who shoots game on his own estate. As game is seasonal it tends to be best to try places with lots of specials or those with true "daily" menus i.e. really based on what is good that day. "Game" does cover a wide range of tastes, and of course wild game is really the true taste (where your HK pigeons wild?), the Harwood had reasonably priced Grouse when I was there in Sept, probably has pheasant now it's in season, always has venison (but farmed I think) and usually rabbit. If you are lucky they may have hare, that is a real treat.
I doubt the pigeons we've had were wild, but I can't say for sure. Thanks for the suggestion though, it's looking to be my best choice right now because of its price range and the fact that the owner shoots the game for the restaurant! How early in advance would I have to make a reservation for say, a Saturday around 7? A week or two?
A week or two should be more than fine (although check to see if Chelsea are playing at home as the pub is at the back of the ground). They are very nice people at the Harwood so let them know what you want to do and they will look after you. What ever you do don't miss the Venison Scotch Egg
Pheasant is your first stop, I suggest. Not directly comparable to pigeon, more like drier (leaner) chicken, with a flavour next step along the chicken breast-chicken thigh-organic chicken thigh progression. A bit of roast chicken and a bit of roast lamb on the same fork is close-ish, maybe?
Also the places which serve game tend to be quite toppy and partridge and especially grouse may stretch your budget rather more than pheasant.
Nothing woeful at all about your questions! And none of those nice restaurants will be daunting, just pleased to see you.
re: Robin Joy
Dry chicken doesn't sound very appetizing, to be honest, but maybe the flavour will make up for the texture. Thanks for the lamb/chicken description, that's quite helpful! Hopefully I won't embarrass myself at the restaurant (or maybe they'll see a newbie right off the bat, who knows), that would be a shame for my first time!
Why not make yourself? I bought some really nice pheasant at the Marylebone Farmers Market on Sunday for 3.50 each. They were fat and juicy and easily did two people each. This is how I did them which worked really well:
Stuff them with sage and thyme.
Seal them in a roasting tin on the hob with a bit of oil.
Roast on one side for 10 mins at 180.
Roast on other side for 10 mins (still at 180).
Turn breast up, baste and cover with pancetta. Cook for another 30 mins basting it every so often.
Take out, rest it under foil for 15 mins and DONE.
Bread sauce, roast potatoes, gravy, mmmmmmmm.