Surrey’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

Game on

August 12 marks the Glorious Twelfth and the start of the game season. Game is a fabulous resource of the great British countryside and celebrated and championed by many renowned chefs. Claire Zambuni looks at some of the best places to enjoy this healthy and sustainable food source in Surrey and London.


The Swan Inn, Claygate, Surrey
José Pizarro, The Swan Inn is based in the Surrey town of Claygate and has a true British pub feel. José Pizarro is renowned for his three critically-acclaimed restaurants and tapas bars in London’s Bermondsey and Broadgate and this venture is the fourth in his stable. However, Pizarro has given some pub classics a Spanish twist, as well as serving some famous José delicacies such as tortilla and hand-carved, 100% 5J Jamo Iberico. We asked José to tell us a little about why he loves cooking with game. “Boar is a fantastic meat,” he says. “The taste is unparalleled because the boar roam around the woodland, eating flora and fauna – very happy pigs! It is very popular in Andalusia and a regular feature on our menu at The Swan Inn. I love game and generally my favourites are rabbit (available all year round), partridge and wild boar.”

Two of the dishes José plans to serve at The Swan Inn this season, venison filet with wild mushrooms and chestnuts and partridge, are featured in his book Andalusia: Recipes from Seville and beyond.

José prides himself on The Swan Inn being in the heart of the community – a Spanish bar where many of the locals meet. The innovative and authentic food served is a talking point as it has fast become a go to restaurant and bar in the Esher area.


The Duke of Cumberland Arms, Henley, Fernhurst
Simon Goodman, chef and owner of The Duke of Cumberland Arms, is passionate about serving seasonal game throughout the year. Perched on a hill with breathtaking views, this is everything a great country pub should be. It is a gem, located on a hillside with wonderful views of the lush South Downs’ flora. With a fine dining restaurant, this pub is set in the heart of a rural community. Simon himself is a keen shot and is part of a syndicate at a local pheasant shoot.

Simon is passionate about communicating the many benefits of game: how good game is for you being high in protein and low in fat, as well as locally sourced. It truly is a harvest from the British countryside surrounding The Duke of Cumberland Arms and he notes how much it has grown in popularity over the past few years.

Simon says: “Game is such a varied product and can be cooked in all manner of ways. We demonstrate this at our regular Game Tasting Evenings at The Duke of Cumberland Arms held throughout the season where we showcase a ten course tasting menu with several different types of game.”


London round-up

The Jugged Hare, Barbican
The Jugged Hare is a pub venture from Ed and Tom Martin, the brothers behind a number of smart pubs, bars and restaurants around London. Based in the Barbican, it describes itself as the capital’s leading game restaurant. The menu is a celebration of the best seasonal produce that the British countryside has to offer: venison from the grill, Devonshire river trout and rabbit all make an appearance, alongside more classic gastropub fare such as pork belly and beef burgers. An open kitchen and charcoal grill contribute to the lively atmosphere! Expressing its passion for game, the team at The Jugged Hare told us: “Game is everything to us – championing British ingredients and suppliers and providing high quality culinary experiences is what it’s all about. We also believe that game is healthy and want to help change perception around it. Initiatives this year include our gourmet dinner series that we run more or less bimonthly. Still this year, we’ve got our grouse dinner, game and Bordeaux, and have previously hosted venison and Languedoc wine dinners. Two years ago, we had a bit of fun with game and made KFP – or Kentucky fried pheasant – which was excellent! We have also made a grouse gin served with pickled bilberry and lavender which we served last year and was a great success. We also always make a big deal of being the first restaurant in London that will be able to serve grouse following the Glorious 12th thanks to our relationship with our suppliers.”


Corrigan’s Mayfair
Since opening in 2008, Corrigan’s has seen a steady stream of accolades coming its way. Irish chef Richard Corrigan combines the earthiness of his rural upbringing with contemporary flair and style to create a menu that is not only reflective of the seasons, but also of the very best game and wild food. A seasonal lunch menu at £34 for three courses is a great way to sample the celebrity chef’s work.


Mac and Wild, Fitzrovia
The door handle of this Fitzrovia restaurant – a decommissioned (one hopes) shotgun – hints at the delights that lie within. Starting life as a streetfood venture, Mac and Wild brings the very best of Scottish produce and cuisine to London: a daily ‘shotgun special’ sees a wild bird always on the menu, complete with traditional game chips and gravy, while the Venimoo burger harks back to Mac and Wild’s streetfood days, combining one venison patty, one beef patty, cheese, bearnaise sauce, pickles and caramelised onions into one heartstopping experience – side salad optional. And what better to go with game but one of the bar’s whiskey flights?


Rules, Covent Garden
A stalwart of the London dining scene for hundreds of years, serving traditional British food and specialising in game cookery, there’s almost nowhere better to get a taste of game. There’s something pleasingly carnivorous about the phrase ‘haunch of venison’ and finding it on a menu is often a sign of a good meal to come!



The British Game Alliance
Up your game consumption as soon as the season begins. Pheasant, partridge and grouse all contain more protein and less fat than chicken and can be sampled from restaurants and supermarkets across the UK. The British Game Alliance (BGA) was formed 18 months ago and continues to promote game meat as a healthy, nutritious and tasty food source to the public with the help of its Eat Wild campaign. The BGA ensure it’s high welfare and sustainable too! To find the nearest stockist of BGA assured game meat, visit
Venison fillet with wild mushrooms and chestnuts, José Pizarro The Swan Inn, from Andalusia: Recipes from Seville and beyond by José Pizarro, published by Hardie Grant
Photo copyright: Emma Lee
Stacks Image 91712

Simon Goodman’s pigeon pie recipe

Simon Goodman is chef and owner of The Duke of Cumberland Arms and says: “Pigeon is great to cook at any time of year and the combination of pigeon with wild mushrooms in this recipe is like autumn on a plate. I think it is so important to use seasonal local produce; there is nothing like getting up on a fresh autumnal morning, pulling on the wellies and heading off shooting to escape from the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen.”

Two pigeon breasts
200g wild mushrooms
500g puff pastry
50g butter
One tablespoon olive oil
One clove garlic
One pinch salt
One pinch pepper
150ml red wine
20g pea shoots
One egg
One tablespoon wholegrain mustard

• To make the pigeon stock, fry off chopped onion, leek, celery, carrot and then add the pigeon carcass, cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any impurities from the top of the pan. Then allow the stock to simmer for 20–30 minutes.

• To make the puff pastry parcel, roll out the pastry and cut two rectangles. Cut out the centre of one and place on top of the other and egg wash. Place in oven until golden brown and then leave to one side.

• Reduce the pigeon stock and red wine by half resulting in a sauce-like consistency, then add wholegrain mustard and leave to one side.

• Fry off the wild mushrooms in butter with garlic, salt and pepper. Fry the pigeon breasts skin side down in a combination of butter and oil for two to three minutes, turning until both sides are golden brown and leave to rest.

• Place the puff pastry parcel in the centre of the plate, fill with wild mushrooms and place slices of the pigeon breasts on top. Pour the red wine and mustard sauce around the parcel and garnish with pea shoots.