This winter, Kensington’s Royal Garden Hotel has kicked off its dining masterclasses in its Park Terrance restaurant, hosted by the hotel’s Executive Head Chef Steve Munkley.

The masterclasses at The Royal Garden Hotel started at the end of October with a game masterclass where we were taken through how to prep, pluck, cook and serve this season’s favourite birds with live demonstrations. I was very excited for this.

We were greeted with glasses of champagne, always a nice treat, and a selection of birds in various states of prep. Steve then talked us through the different types of game birds and the varying flavours, how to pluck and gut them, and, most importantly, how to cook them to achieve the best flavour.

Whilst he was demonstrating, another chef was cooking little samples for us to try. Not one for the squeamish, but incredibly insightful.

Following the birds, we then moved on to venison – and the best way to butcher, cook and enjoy particular cuts of venison.

Again, a very interesting portion of the evening but I’m not sure how often I’ll be transferring this particular skill at home.

Following the masterclass, we were then taken into the main dining room where we could enjoy a three course menu with wine and get to taste some of the game birds we had just seen.

Now by this point I was already starting to feel quite full after all the little samples that had been coming around but I managed to persevere. Brave, I know.

The mallard was of course pink, tender and perfectly cooked, the scallops were sweet and soft and served with five-spice pork. The baileys parfait was tasty, but I have never been able to understand biscuit’soil’. Yes, it’s meant to add texture, but I find it often dries out a dish.

It was great to see a chef so passionate about produce, and not only using seasonal ingredients on the menu, but also educating and celebrating it with a group of like-minded people.

The only shock was when asked how much game they have on the menu; the reply was not a huge amount as it isn’t very popular. People aren’t interested in game because they are scared of it, apparently, and worried the flavours will be too strong. There are so many different types, from lighter quail, to pigeon, to partridge.

My only criticism of the evening was that it was all watching and no hands-on. Now, I know that for some it may have been a step too far, but I would have liked to get a bit more involved.   

While the game masterclass isn’t on the cards again for a while, they do have a schedule of upcoming sessions that are certainly worth looking at. These include:

  • Champagne dinner with Roederer, 23rd November
  • Focus on tea, 8th February
  • Master the macaron, 22nd February

Royal Garden Hotel, 2-24 Kensington High Street, London, W8 4PT