By Hook or by Rook I Will Eat This Bird Pie; Reporter Ed Harris Is the First Person to Try out an Ancient Dish Being Revived in London

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THEY are six inches long, known for their intelligence, and according to an old wives' tale can smell approaching death.

Most importantly, they are delicious.

Fledgling rooks are the latest unusual delicacy to appear at a London restaurant and the chefs are confident they will be the next trend. Braised in chicken stock and baked in a pie, the rooks are being served at one of London's leading restaurants to showcase native British produce.

The decision to put them on the menu at Conran's Butlers Wharf Chop House has angered the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

They are concerned at the treatment of the rooks, which are shot in the head with an air rifle at four weeks old after being raised on a farm in Lincolnshire.

RSPB spokesman Grahame Madge said killing young rooks for food was "ethically" wrong. "We don't see how it can be acceptable to shoot young birds in the nest simply to make a pie," he said.

Despite the protests, Craig James, 26, head chef at the restaurant, expects the pie to be a popular choice on the lunch and dinner menus. …


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