Before our dining companion, AFAR contributor and The Observer deputy editor Emma John, scanned the menu, she murmured with restrained excitement, "I hope they have grouse." Little did I know we were only a few days past the Glorious Twelfth (August 12th), the traditional opening day for hunting red grouse. Apparently, London restaurants informally compete to see who can get the game bird on their menus first. Indeed, Newman Street Tavern was offering a brace of grouse, and Emma and I split the enormous portion while my wife, Robin, dug into beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas. The modern-rustic restaurant takes tradition seriously--in the ambience (wood on wood) and the victuals (crab, lobster, fish, steaks, lamb)--but is quite of the times when it comes to fresh ingredients and execution.