The demand for exotic meat is growing, with ostrich, zebra and alligator seen increasingly on London menus. But a new favourite is fast emerging among chefs and it’s a meat you’ll find in any garden or park. Foodies are raving about squirrels. But how would you feel about eating the fluffy-tailed rodent? For a limited time, adventurous diners at The Cinnamon Club in Westminster can order squirrel curry.
Conservative MP Mark Field was among the first to try the dish: “It was very tender,” he said. “I was half expecting it to have a tail still on it. You wouldn’t know it was squirrel unless you were told,” he added.
In a bid to protect the dwindling number of red squirrels, the UK’s five million grey squirrels are now facing a cull. Some believe eating the surplus is an ethical way to even out their population.
"Rather than throwing away all the squirrels, we decided why not cook them and serve them as a delicacy,” said Shankar Chandrasekaran, chef at The Cinnamon Club.
"People in London are getting fed up with chicken, lamb, venison. Our customers are always asking us if we have anything new, so we thought, why not"
"It tastes almost exactly like rabbit", said Shankar.
“We marinate the squirrel with ginger, garlic, lemon juice and chilli and we cook it in the tandoor, a traditional Indian oven,” he said.
It was a hit with Mark Field, who said he’d happily return for seconds. But he admits his family wouldn’t approve: “I have two young children who love squirrels,” said Mark.
"I do tell them they’re fluffy vermin, but they would say this was terrible,” he said.