The Jugged Hare, 49 Chiswell St, London EC1Y 4SA www.thejuggedhare.com
The Jugged Hare, a pub and restaurant in Moorgate specialising in seasonal British game, spit-roast meats, wild fish and shellfish, is celebrating National Pheasant Week from Monday 14 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Sunday 20 November with a unique and spectacular pheasant dish.
When you first step into The Jugged Hare, you’re be faced with a busy pub bar Ã¢â‚¬â€œ especially if, like me, you’re visiting on a Friday night. However, once you squeeze past the city workers celebrating the weekend, you’re welcomed into a beautiful and surprisingly large dining area. It’s decorated with stuffed game birds, low lighting and a beautiful open kitchen framed with a copper serving station and when you step in from a cold and drab evening you feel instantly warm, welcome and cosy.
As we knew we had game coming for our mains, we enjoyed two fishy starters. My sizzling queen scallops with garlic and bacon were simply divine. Soft and sweet, with a slight saltiness from the bacon, there were impeccably cooked. My favourite part? They left the roe on, which to me is the sweetest part of a scallop, making this a perfect start to the evening.
My dining partner tried the Scottish langoustine with mayonnaise. A simple dish but, again, perfectly executed. The langoustines were packed full of the deliciously sweet flavour you expect.
Then, onto the star of the night Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the Finger Lickin’ Pheasant Bucket. Head chef Stephen Englefied has devised this meal as an alternative to a traditional roast pheasant, taking inspiration from the fried chicken trend.
A whole fried pheasant, served in a paper bucket, with creamy slaw and thick cut chips is, on the surface, a simple dish. I wasn’t sure whether the strong game flavours would work fried but I was so, so wrong. It was sublime. The batter was crisp and not at all greasy, the slaw was creamy and the thick chips crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, and salty.
The wine the pheasant was served with did surprise me. Traditionally, I would always serve game with a red but, our hostess recommended a Greek Santorini. A full bodied, dry wine with hints of fruitiness. However, it complemented the pheasant and left me impressed by the knowledge of the team at The Jugged Hare.
Needless to say, after eating our way through a pheasant each, we were pretty full. So, rather than over-indulging in a dessert each, we shared a pear, apple and almond crumble served with a velvety and warming custard.
The fruit in the crumble was cooked just right, and the apple still held a slight sharpness that created a good contrast with the sweet pear. Topped with the custard, it was a great way to end a meal on a wet Friday.
What impressed me the most at The Jugged Hare was the care with which the chefs treated each ingredient, which was clear for all to see thanks to the open kitchen.
The Finger Lickin’ Pheasant Bucket is certainly not one to be missed for game fans in London. Be warned thought, it is only available for a limited period, so head down to The Jugged Hare between the 14 and 20 November for a right finger lickin’ feast.