The Game Bird at the Stafford Hotel in Mayfair: A British yet European-inspired menu delivered with a delicate touch
One doesn’t have the chance of visiting a refined restaurant like the Game Bird every day. Despite their fame for the roasted pigeon (the “Game Bird” itself) and their taste for decoration skills, their entrance is sort of secretive. You can gain access via a passage next to Green Park Underground station, or through the doors of the classy Stafford London Hotel.
We were very well looked after by an experienced front-of-house team, all of them connoisseurs of the origins and techniques of each creation in the menu. As such, it was a great opportunity to let ourselves be guided by their recommendations.
For starters, we got a delicious selection of smoked salmon and eel, all sourced within the UK, smoked and finished differently: from beetroot juice to lemon to a very interesting version with sprayed whisky. We got told that this practice is used in order to enhance the flavour of the savoury salmon, which it indeed accomplished. As an effortless side for the smokey protagonist, we sampled the Wye Valley asparagus. Fresh and tender, it was served with shaved parmesan, brown butter and a perfectly poached egg.
We couldn’t help but order The Game Bird as the main this time. We were curious to discover if the taste matched the expectations, considering this was our first time trying their roasted pigeon. It’s a difficult flavour sensation to describe: lighter than the more common red meat, it might come off as a bit weak if you are after beef-like intensity. It’s beautifully presented – with special care taken over the texture contrast between the foie gras, the crunchier rhubarb and the stronger black pudding with the pigeon meat – and definitely worth a try despite not being our number-one recommendation.
Speaking of more comfort dishes, we picked the cottage pie as a second main. Predictable, homey and delicious, with tasty meat and a juicy centre. It’s nothing you haven’t tried before, but a welcome option in a fine-dining restaurant that mixes traditional British cuisine with European-inspired plates.
Lastly, our personal favourite, the dessert. The Game Bird happens to have quite a vast selection of puddings on their menu, which didn’t help with the choosing process. All of them look incredible, and if they are prepared with half of the expertise that was employed in cooking the Grand Marnier Soufflé, this is probably one of the best places in London to end your dining adventures. Spongy yet creamy on the inside with a great combination of orange liqueur and chocolate sorbet, this was a dessert to enjoy. We endeavoured to make it last but regrettably, we managed to polish it off quite quickly. We accompanied this with a glass of champagne and some sweet port wine.
The Game Bird offers a refined dining experience with a calm atmosphere, classy decoration and a diverse selection of dishes to choose from. If you’re in central London, it’s a nice spot to lose yourself in the delicacy of European gastronomy. It’s yet another proof that Brexit should never happen.
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at The Game Bird at the Stafford Hotel, 16-18 St James’s Place London SW1A 1NJ, call 020 7518 1234 or visit their website here.