The Game Bird Review: ‘We are Certainly Game for a Return’

Michelin-starred Lisa Goodwin-Allen adds finesse and flair to the new menu at The Bird Game at The Stafford in St James’s with elegant riffs on British classics…

Photo: The Bird Game

The beautiful Stafford Hotel has graced historic and elegant St James in London for over 100 years, and is something of a grand old lady of the district. 

But now its popular dining room The Game Bird has been given a fresh twist with the arrival of celebrated Michelin-starred Lisa Goodwin-Allen, who has overseen a new menu which showcases the finest British produce and supports many artisan producers, drawing on Lisa’s experience from Michelin-starred Northcote in Lancashire.  

The Stafford says that: ‘Together, Lisa and Executive Chef Jozef Rogulski have created a menu overflowing with an innovative combination of familiar favourites and delicious surprises’, and we were not disappointed.

We entered The Stafford on a chilly autumn evening and found the welcoming Game Bird restaurant tucked just to the left, a stylish jewel of a room with colourful furnishings and artworks which create a splash against the neutral décor and the fine wood panelling of the imposing old bar. 

Over a nostalgic Sidecar cocktail we examined the menu, which is a mix of the traditional and the unexpected. 

We could have started with a selection of H. Forman & Son smoked salmon, served tableside from the restaurant’s bespoke trolley, which looked impressive, or an interesting sounding GalaPie’, with pressed pork, beer onions and brown sauce, or Lancashire three beets, with frozen Dorset ash goat’s cheese and roasted hazelnuts.  

After much deliberation and slow consumption of the Sidecar, we chose the crispy day boat turbot with warm tartare sauce which was exceptional and very pretty on the plate, and a melt in the mouth disc of hand cut aged beef tartare with charcoal mayonnaise. 

As a Lancashire girl myself I couldn’t resist the Dover sole with potted Southport shrimps and sea herbs for the main course

My husband chose Jacobs Cross Lamb, sticky belly, with wood roasted leek and sheep’s curd. It sounds odd but tastes divine.  

It was a tough choice as the mains menu also features the fabulous sounding butter-poached Native Lobster, with basil & champagne, as well as the Game Bird’s quirky take on good old fish and chips – Orkney scallops tempura with fries.

Both sole and lamb were cooked to perfection, bringing an imaginative touch to well-loved dishes. 

To finish we shared an unusual dessert, the blackcurrant crumble soufflé with liquorice ice creamand couldn’t resist their plate of cheeses which created the perfect end to a memorable meal at The Game Bird.   

The charming sommelier recommended excellent wines to pair with each course.  

The Stafford has a 380-year-old working wine cellar as well as the famous American Bar, so the drinks menu here is as notable as the food.  

The menu is a refreshing take on old favourites and exciting new flavour combinations, all based on fine British produce. 

And although The Stafford itself is an elegant five star property, the restaurant is anything but  stuffy.

The atmosphere in The Game Bird couldn’t be more relaxing or warm, with just the right level of soft jazz background music and attentive friendly service.  

We are certainly game for a return visit to this flavoursome and elegant restaurant in a lovely part of town.

Featured in the display cabinet on the wall of the restaurant hang some of the meats which can be enjoyed for Sunday lunch, which sounded tempting.   

The location makes The Game Bird an ideal spot for a romantic pre-Christmas dinner or even a sophisticated post shopping treat.  

Address: The Stafford London, 16-18 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NJ  
Reservations: 020 7518 1234;