It must must have been a first. Whoever heard of a mouse eating a squirrel? I didn’t set out to boldly go where no rodent had before, but the lure of the pâté-gently spiced and served with fennel and homebaked-sourdough toast- proved impossible to resist. I was in Notting Hill, seeing the shooting season out in style. The Ark, that Tardis-like restaurant at the top of Kensington Park Road, has been reborn as The Shed, a little piece of rus in urbe complete with corrugated iron and tractor parts.
Its co-owners, Richard and Oliver Gladwin, come from a farming family and had thrown their weight behind the Countryside Alliance’s Game to Eat campaign with a special end-of-season menu. Diners perched on seats half-inched from John Deeres, sipping Sussex Reserve (the Gladwins have a vineyard back in Nutbourne) with their wood-pigeon salad. The squirrel was just the start of it: every course (or ‘drive’, as per the menu) was a delight. Pheasant bullshot, rabbit cutlet with wood sorrel, meltingly tender venison -this was game to conjure with.
* Follow Country Life magazine on Twitter