Guide

Twelve of the best places in the North to eat wild game

Wild game is one of the healthiest meats you can eat. It’s lean and full of nutrients like omega-3, vitamins and iron and – because it’s wild – it’s free from some of the more worrying things we associate with farmed, supermarket meat like antibiotics and hormones. There is a minimal carbon footprint involved in eating locally sourced game in season too.

If all this isn’t reason enough to get your game face on, it’s also delicious, versatile and seasonal. ‘Tis the season when grouse, partridge, pheasant, venison and their ilk appear on our restaurant menus so we have put together a list of twelve of our favourite places in the North to tuck into something a bit different.

  • Book Now Cheshire

    The Church Green

    British

    Aiden Byrne’s countryside pub where excellent meat comes as standard. Rump of texel lamb, for example, and a huge, British wing rib, (clocking in at 32oz) are typical dishes at the local legend’s acclaimed gastropub. Byrne’s CV is nothing short of stellar: he was awarded a Michelin star, aged just 22, for his menu at Adlards Restaurant in Norfolk. The Church Green is a homely kind of operation, run by Byrne and his wife Sarah, and offers a rare chance to eat this famous chef’s food in relaxed surrounds. A winning bet.

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  • Book Now Derbyshire

    Fischers Baslow Hall

    Modern British

    Fine Michelin-starred dining with local foraged aspects in homely, romantic surrounds. Using the fruits of the region when everyone else was importing from abroad, Fischers stuck to its guns and now does it arguably better than anyone else in Derbyshire. The refreshingly brief menu lists key ingredients, riffing on a kitchen garden theme. Lettuces and herbs are plucked from the kitchen gardens and there’s an old-fashioned wine list to match the standards at the pass, as well as a bespoke wine room. Décor is chintzy (in a good way) with contemporary wallpaper and polished trimmings. This Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms in a Grade II listed Derbyshire Manor House is a destination restaurant. Extras include lunch deal, foraging courses and a chance to visit the 12 bee hives that reside in the hotel’s grounds.

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  • 10 Book Now Lancashire

    The Freemasons at Wiswell

    British

    Cooking goes from strength to strength at this adventurous food pub. Roaring fires, cast-iron fireplaces and pictures of fantastically proportioned livestock lend a cosy vibe to the renovated cottages which make up what’s often been described as the original gastropub. But don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a static operation. Steven Smith’s menu sees powerful flavours handled with ease. Expect something really special.

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  • 12 Book Now Leeds

    Home

    Modern British

    Inspired British cooking from Masterchef graduates. Home is the brainchild of Masterchef finalist Liz Cottam, and business partner Mark Owens, formerly head chef at Ilkley’s veteran Michelin star, The Box Tree (also in our Top 100). While Home has only been Home, so to speak, since 2017, this compact British restaurant is already a favourite of national food critics. Follow a trail of tea lights up several floors into a moody room, filled with simple creature comforts. Crisp white table clothes set the scene for five lunchtime or ten evening courses. A genuine Northern light.

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  • james-martin-manchester
    Book Now Manchester

    James Martin

    British

    A fine dining restaurant inside a casino with a celeb chef name above the door? Alarm bells. Yes, there’s a big-name celebrity chef on the massive billboard outside, but this is not an ostentatious venue. Typical dishes include Yorkshire wagyu with malt-glazed cheek, celeriac mousse with candied pecans and white chocolate and whisky croissant-and-butter pudding with single malt ice cream. The wine list takes in both bargains and account busters, and there’s a fun bar too.

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  • 18 Book Now Cumbria

    Lake Road Kitchen

    European

    A wild-maned toddler of a restaurant, bound for great things. Lake Road Kitchen is an exciting place to eat. The baby of former Samling chef, James Cross, is one of the leading lights in the Lakes foraging trend, serving mostly food grown in Cumbria, as well as aged retired Dairy Holstein txuleta (steak). A whole cauliflower, steeped in pine and goat butter is one of Cross’s signature dishes. Meaty mains draw on a winter palate that could include vension (Holker Estate fallow deer), Norweigan salmon, arctic cloudberries and black winter truffles. Desserts could include baked sweet woodruff custard and sour cherry crumble. Wines from the Northern European region could include white Furmint, Slovenian varietals and British sparklers.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    The River Restaurant at The Lowry

    Modern British

    The Lowry Hotel’s River Restaurant is Manchester’s classic fine dining restaurant. Huge names that have run the kitchen include Marco Pierre White, while diners could include Jose Mourinho or Kylie. Having recently undergone a major refurbishment, executive head chef Dave Ashton has revamped the menu with updated classics like Cheshire farm lamb rump with lamb fat carrot and braised rib, or venison loin with Lancashire blue, salsify, pear and dark chocolate sauce.

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  • Book Now Cumbria

    Old Stamp House

    Modern British

    Regional cooking in a heritage space by one of Cumbria’s most promising chefs, Ryan Blackburn, whose menu at the Old Stamp House is perfect for making an impression. Local meats include Herdwick hogget from Yew Tree Farm and pheasant from Cartmel Valley. The simple, whitewashed space, with contemporary, unshowy furnishings was the former workplace of poet William Wordsworth who was based here ‘as distributor of stamps’ (hence the name) from 1813 until 1843.

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  • Book Now Leeds

    Ox Club Headrow

    British

    Sumptuous, grill-based cooked from the Belgrave gang. After years of neglect, former textile mill Headrow House has been transformed into a mixed-use arts and events space incorporating three bars, one beer hall, a live room, two roof terraces and a cocktail bar. The Ox Club is the restaurant on the ground floor where the successful team behind Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, together with chef-proprietor Ben Davy have created a contemporary grill house and kitchen.

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  • 21 Book Now Lancashire

    Northcote

    Modern British

    This elegant dining room is where chef-patron, Nigel Haworth, earned his stripes as an instigator of contemporary British fine dining. Today, Michelin star chef and one of BBC2’s Great British Menu winners, Lisa Allen, heads up the kitchen. Expect a roving, regional smorgasbord, tempered with classic techniques and contemporary flavours. Things have changed on the looks front and following a huge cash injection, the surroundings are light and sumptuous, which is part of the allure – not least to Michelin inspectors. There’s a private dining room sponsored by Louis Roederer and the cellar, complete with some exceptional New World options, is fit for the pickiest of tasters. Bottles are hand-picked by Northcote co-founder and expert sommelier, Craig Bancroft.

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  • 11 Book Now Lancashire

    The White Swan at Fence

    British

    Some folk in the village stlll refer to it as “The Mucky Duck’ and you can still order a pint of Timothy Taylor’s at its very pubby bar but over the past three years the Swan has established itself as a destination fine dining spot thanks to 20something chef Tom Parker. From up the road in Burnley, at 16 he begged a start at Michelin-starred Northcote, becoming a protégé of Lisa Allen and scooping a Young Chef of the Year award. That prodigious talent is evident throughout the short menus here, which change daily on the back of produce turning up on his doorstep.

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  • Book Now Manchester

    Wood

    Modern British

    Simon Wood’s debut modern British restaurant is perfectly pitched. The eponymous restaurant of Simon Wood, MasterChef winner and a local lad from Oldham, is an accomplished affair. Food is cooked by both Wood and head chef, Mike Jennings, formerly of Grenache in Worsley. The décor – muted natural tones in a glass-clad new build – places the focus of any meal on the fine, Italianesque (yet often locally sourced) food and wine on offer.

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