Jesse Dunford-Wood’s menu at the Mall Tavern in Notting Hill is so quirkily British, it’s hard not to hear Vivian Stanshall’s voice in your head as you read it.

One of Jesse’s big loves is game. You can even book for hands-on classes around the long chef’s table. For us, he is preparing pigeon with sweetcorn fritters, and creamed, sweet and popped corn. ‘Game with something sweet is a classic autumn dish,’ says Jesse. ‘That often means berries or fruit. These sweetcorn fritters are a Rowley Leigh idea from Kensington Place.’

Pigeon with sweetcorn fritters, creamed, sweet and popped corn

Ingredients, to serve four

  • 4 oven-ready wood pigeon, from any good butcher
  • 300g hot chicken stock
  • 50g butter
  • 2 ears of sweetcorn, trimmed
  • Chopped thyme
  • 50g popping corn
  • 100g washed cavolo nero

For the fritters

  • 2 eggs
  • 150g milk
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 200g cooked sweetcorn
  • 5g sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped tarragon
  • 1

    Smother the birds in butter, chopped thyme, salt and pepper, and bake in a hot oven for about nine minutes. Leave to rest for a good 10 minutes somewhere warm.

  • 2

    Heat up the butter and stock, season well, then put in the whole sweetcorn and cook for five minutes until tender. Take out and carefully shave off the tender kernels. Set aside.

  • 3

    To make the fritters, mix the eggs and flour together, add the milk, then the corn, lastly the chopped tarragon, sugar, salt and pepper.

  • 4

    To cook them, heat up a frying pan with a little butter, and spoon in the mixture, checking as it colours and bubbles. You can either make little ones, two or three per person, or one big fat one and quarter it.

  • 5

    Either in a pan or in a microwave, pop the corn and season well with butter and salt.

  • 6

    Warm up the shaved sweetcorn kernels with some cavolo nero, wilting it with some butter in a pan.

  • 7

    Place your fritters on a plate, then add the pigeons, either whole or just the breasts, arrange the cavolo nero and sweetcorn on top, pour over a little juice from the cooked birds, and lastly add the warm popped corn.

  • 8

    This works well with quail, too. And you can substitute any dark greens for the cavolo nero, such as spinach. For a heftier meal, serve it up on some creamy polenta.


Mall Tavern, 71 Palace Gardens Terrace, London W8 4RU (020 7229 3374; www.themalltavern.com)

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