Restaurants: Stuff the turkey

Turkey's off this year, as Nikki Spencer reveals

"Turkey's a dirty word in the kitchen," according to Tess Fisher, restaurant manager at The North Pole in Greenwich. And they're not the only ones to give the big bird the elbow this festive season. Take a look at the Christmas menu of any self-respecting modern restaurant this winter and you're likely to find everything but roast turkey and the obligatory stuffing.

In fact any bird but turkey seems to be the rule at many establishments. There's "pastilla pigeon" at Momo, capon at One Ninety Queensgate and roast partridge at American sister restaurants Montana in Fulham and Canyon in Richmond.

Chef at the North Pole Jason Wild explained: "Over the years I've had more than my fill of turkey dinners and I think most other people have, too.

"Generally people go to their mum's or their relatives' houses on Christmas Day and eat turkey. So I think that when people go out at this time of year they want to escape from all that."

On the menu at the North Pole instead is stuffed quail, rack of lamb and pan-fried duck breasts although it's not all Bah! Humbug! - there are some festive touches. The duck comes with cranberry and the rack of lamb comes with a chestnut and herb crust and you can round off your meal with a Christmas-pudding parfait.

So what's Wild going to be tucking into this Christmas? "I'm not sure. I'm off to Benidorm," he reveals.

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