The Game Bird at the Stafford Hotel

This year for my Terrence Higgins Trust Supper Club I chose as our restaurant of choice, The Game Bird at the Stafford Hotel. I really like game and I’d read that Jay Rayner, the brilliant Guardian restaurant critic, highly recommend this place.

We met pre-dinner at the hotel bar, it’s quite a small bar so unfortunately there wasn’t any free space for us inside so we ended up sitting outside on the terrace, thankfully it was heated. The outside area at the Stafford is lovely btw, a really quiet pleasant space in what was the old stables back in the day. It’s off the busy St James Street and is a little haven that not many people seem to know about. It’s a wonderful spot for a drink during the summer, can highly recommend it. Unlike all the restaurants I’d been before for The Supper Club we were seated in the main restaurant which is painted in a pleasant if not terribly exciting shades of grey. Sophisticated and elegant, but just a tad boring. I would have preferred to have been in one of their private dining rooms to be honest, though the restaurant was at least quiet.

All the food is all covered in the ticket price, so we ordered a dozen oysters for the table pre-meal. We had six Colchester rocks and six Porthilly rocks. Both were delicious, the Porthilly were larger than the Colchester, but maybe not quite so sweet. I love oysters and don’t get to eat them often and so they were a real treat. For my actually starter I had dressed Devon crab. A classic dish, it was excellent. There were so many good options I struggled to choose, but I knew I wanted something fishy and the crab was the most expensive starter and thankfully I wasn’t paying so wanted to get my money’s worth! Then for mains I ordered the signature game bird that the restaurant is named after, this consisted of roast pigeon, parsnips, cabbage, braised leg and ‘bullshot’.  On the specials menu there was a Beef Wellington for two, which was presented and carved at the table. It looked amazing, I was very jealous of my dining companions who ordered it. I’m not a massive mushroom fan though so although I love beef fillet I avoid Wellington because of the mushroom duxelle. For dessert I ordered the sticky toffee pudding soufflé with pecan ice cream. I have a bit of a sweet tooth and sticky toffee pudding is probably one of my very favourite desserts so I was really intrigued to try this. I wasn’t disappointed it was delicious, surprisingly light with just a hint of sticky toffee.

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