You know you’re in for a good meal when the waiter provides a bib in the likelihood that your foie gras, truffle and oozing garlic butter-stuffed chicken Kiev could become a messy business. Of course, the bib in question was a chic, black leather apron that is perfectly in keeping with the restaurant’s new look – part of a wider concept overhaul that was overseen by chef James Durrant.
Now called The Game Bird, the restaurant – which is located inside London’s discreet Stafford Hotel – is a thoroughly British affair with a menu that nods to the chef’s Cheshire roots and uses produce from around the country. Expect homey classics from the belly-filling steak and ale steamed suite pudding to the signature roast pigeon dish and even a smoked fish trolley with offerings such as the Chalk Stream trout gravadlax or the Lincolnshire smoked eel, sliced table-side for added theatre.
This is all reinforced by the restaurant’s spruce-up, courtesy of local studio, Rosendale Design, who highlighted the original 17th century bones of the building with handsome wood panelling, leathers and rich velvets in muted, stately tones, pepped up by chairs upholstered with a floral motif and a display cabinet showcasing the day’s produce.
The other factor indicative of a good meal is a wait-staff that has stood the test of time. Make sure you ask for Riccardo or Sylvain, both decade-long veterans at the hotel who, if you ask nicely, will also show you around the restaurant’s 300-year-old wine cellar and museum that is peppered with war memorabilia from when the hotel served as a club for American and Canadian officers.