Monday, 12 September 2011

The Glorious Twelfth: Grouse Night

After moaning for 3 years that Victoria has no decent pubs, restaurants or attractions other than excellent modes of transport to leave it, I finally found the Boisdale. Shame I now work near Covent Garden. Well, no, not really a shame.

In celebration of the Glorious Twelfth, which refers to the 12th August - the usual date that grouse hunting season opens - I was invited to an all male evening of well-hung, supremely gamey, game eating.

The Boisdale is expensive at £35 for the grouse and a glass of Château Rahoul 2005, but then you're not going to eat grouse every day as I had been reliably informed and this was to be my first foray into eating this intriguing bird.

The Boisdale, "London's greatest highland haunt", is the perfect setting for grouse eating. Thick carpets, dark wood and deep red painted walls greet you as you arrive. Sauntering past the cigar humidor you descend past a live jazz band to one of two classic saloon bars for a warm up pint.

There's a reassuring grandeur in the restaurant that let's you know you've come to the right place for hearty, classic meat.

After deliberating over haggis and whisky starters, we ordered (6 Grouse deals please). 6 sturdy steak knifes and individual finger bowls were promptly presented. This restaurant means you to mean business.

The grouse arrived presented on a crouton base, streaky bacon slice top, small side salad, bread source and crisps. Goodbye Summer, welcome Winter. We dived in.

If there is a way to improve bacon, they found it. Roast, add grouse, drizzle with gravy.

The grouse itself was incredible. It is like nothing I had tasted before. The first sensation was the colour - a dark red that made it look like a perfectly rare steak. The next sensation was the taste. It was almost overpowering. It gave a heady rush that made me close my eyes and hope it wouldn't end. I am still disbelieving that this fine animal can fly.

I was then informed that the innards are the real peak of the gamey flavour and are best smeared on the crouton that the grouse was sitting on.  This was another level. Washing it down with the delicious, earthy Bordeaux wine, I was in heaven.

After the meal, we retired to the roof terrace for cigars, whisky and blankets. When in Rome...

After marveling that the desert menu had a savoury section featuring Scotch Rarebit with whisky (see below). We raised a toast to the Boisdale, the best thing in Victoria, and the majestic grouse. Until next year!
The 'Dessert' Menu

Check out the Boisdale site for more on the Highland way and grouse.


  1. My mouth is watering at your description of grouse.


  2. Thanks Orlando. Just a warm up for yesterday's pop up extravaganza! Thanks again for such a great day

  3. Great writing, interesting restaurants and food. Love it, this blog has the potential to be a great journal.

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    without delay. Really, you are fantastic!