It’s truly amazing how the smell and taste of food can transport us back to particular memories. I most recently noticed this when smelling mint sauce and I was transported back to Sunday Lunches with my grandmother. Yesterday, as I stepped inside the Wild Game Co I was transported back to holidays in Shropshire. Why? The smell of beef dripping! Yesterday was fairly cold and stepping inside the Wild Game Co was like coming home; a coat hanger for my coat and a very homely warmth. The interior is simply a comfortable place to sit. And all the while the smell and sounds of the kitchen waft through. (Can a sound waft? I hope it can).
To the food. The menu is really great, and truly to my taste. Just 6 main courses and 3 sides. Simples. There are three burgers which all look really great; I was very curious to try beef bacon, but that will have to wait for another time. Then there were a good selection of venison steaks, served either with chips, as a chateaubriand for two people or a salad. The salad was “very good” according to my friend, and the presentation-beautiful. Then the side dishes. Those who have eaten with me in a restaurant before know that, when it comes to side dishes, I am obsessed. Really obsessed. Dangerously so. So I decided to order all of them-why not?
First there were the beef dripping fries. Meaty, salty and crispy- they were brilliant. And I was suddenly in Shropshire 8 years ago, which was a bit weird. A small salad followed; pearl barley, beetroot, feta and curly kale. Confession time-I find feta hugely overrated, but here it worked really well. It wasn’t those unchewable cubes that are normally find but tiny little crumbles which added a depth of saltiness that was needed for the beetroot. Then on the top were shards of crispy kale-as crispy as seaweed. The star dish was the hearty portion of ‘stovies’. These transported me back to Scotland-lumps of braised venison, soft new potatoes and onions so soft, translucent and sweet. It was a food hug.
What I really like about this restaurant is the fact that they have a real respect for the meat they are serving. The venison is cooked really well. Secondly, it would have been so easy to charge outrageous amounts for venison, because it is less common, but (for example) the venison burger is cheaper than the beef burger. Hurray! Lastly, walking in feels like coming home to memories of food (well, it does for me, anyway). If more restaurants could do that, well…
The Wild Game
Pricing: Burgers from £6, Steak from £8