Fair Game

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Rules, 35 Maiden Lane, London WC2 (0171-836 5314). Mon-Sat noon- 11.15pm, Sun noon-10.15pm. Game comes from Rules' own estate in the Pennines, and the cooking has unexpected sparkle. Start with hare soup with redcurrant jelly and Armagnac, or carpaccio of venison with white truffle oil dressing; then choose pheasant, wild duck, hare, grouse, partridge and even teal. £30-£40 without drink, unless you eat mid-afternoon. The 3-6pm pre-theatre special of starter plus main course is £19.95.

Rules, 35 Maiden Lane, London WC2 (0171-836 5314). Mon-Sat noon- 11.15pm, Sun noon-10.15pm. Game comes from Rules' own estate in the Pennines, and the cooking has unexpected sparkle. Start with hare soup with redcurrant jelly and Armagnac, or carpaccio of venison with white truffle oil dressing; then choose pheasant, wild duck, hare, grouse, partridge and even teal. £30-£40 without drink, unless you eat mid-afternoon. The 3-6pm pre-theatre special of starter plus main course is £19.95.

Belgo Bristol, The Old Granary, Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol (0117- 905 8000). Daily lunch and dinner. (And in London.) The witty Belgian theme restaurants are always game for a gimmick, but this month they have a menu more seriously devoted to game cooked with beer. Dishes include squab pigeon casseroled with white beer, asparagus, peas and smoked bacon; leg of hare, prunes and smoked bacon braised in Trappist ale. All this and 100 Belgian beers. Game starters are £4.25-£6.25, mains £9.95-£15.95.

Putney Bridge, The Embankment, London SW15 (0181-780 1811). Lunch and dinner daily. Award-winning for its architecture, the cooking is equally outstanding. It certainly gives game its due, with say, venison with chestnut puree, bitter chocolate and sour cherry sauce illustrating how chef Anthony Demetre gives classic French a cutting edge. The three-course dinner menu is £39.50.

The Star Inn, Harome, near Helmsley, North Yorkshire (01439 770397). Tues-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun noon-6pm. When a menu kicks off with salad of widgeon and cold smoked venison with fresh figs and elderberry dressing, you know it is serious about game. It continues with celeriac soup and confit of wild duck; woodcock with bubble and squeak; mallard with pumpkin confit and stewed raisins. Although autumn suits it, The Star shines all year round. £20-£25 without drink.

The Wheatsheaf, Main Street, Swinton, near Coldstream, Borders (01890 860257). Tues-Sun lunch and dinner. A pub with cooking of such quality that it stands out in Scotland, and has become more of a restaurant. Fish and game are chef-owner Alan Reid's enthusiasms, and the autumn dinner menu features roast loin of local roe deer with juniper berry and sloe gin sauce, and barbary duck on sauteed green veg with orange thyme jus. Blackboard specials too. Around £25 a head without drink.

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