Tuesday evening I was honoured to be invited by local brothers Will and Calum Thompson of Eat Wild to attend their Glorious Twelfth Grouse Night which was held in their relatively new restaurant in Cirencester.
The 12th of August or "The Glorious Twelfth" as it has become known is the start of the shooting season for Red Grouse.
Red Grouse or Lagopus lagopus scotica, is a medium-sized bird of the grouse family which is found in heather moorland in Great Britain and Ireland. As we don't have heather moorland in Gloucestershire the boys had managed to source their Grouse through a family friend on the Yorkshire/Durham border.
In addition to their small but perfectly formed restaurant in my home town, Eat Wild are suppliers of premium wild meat and game. Through their website and via local farmers markets the boys retail , their They also offer bespoke private and event catering solutions tailored to your requirements.
The restaurant itself offers the ultimate casual dining experience, using the finest local ingredients and working with the best artisan producers to bring you real food at real prices. The boys can often be found foraging the local area for items to add to the menu. The decor of the restaurant is best described as quirky and eclectic. Graffiti rutting stags adorn one side whilst taxidermy is scattered throughout. The tables are up-cycled cable drums and the display behind the main counter is an old piano!
It's fair to say I really admire what Will and Calum are trying to do. How many people in their twenties do you know who run their own restaurant and a very cool one at that? No wonder they were awarded ‘Local Food Champion’ for the Midlands region in the recent Countryside Alliance awards! I've eaten here a few times now and the food is amazing. Will's Venison Chilli is particularly good!
Guest were welcomed with cocktails served in Eat Wild's signature Kilner Jar glasses before being shown to their tables to see the evening menu. Each course was served with a matched wine supplied by local independent wine merchant Tom I'Anson Wines.
Our main course of Grouse & Smoked Bacon burger did not disappoint! (well apart from my other half who was rather jealous that he'd missed out.) Here it is in all its glory....
The evening was a fitting celebration of the start of the shooting season and everyone (me included) really seemed to enjoy themselves. The atmosphere and the food spoke for itself. I'm really looking forward to seeing similar evenings when other wild game comes into season!
A big thank you to Will, Calum and their Dad, Graham for both the invitation and making me feel so welcome!