Pub's 'upsetting' reindeer meatballs spark controversy

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Reindeer balls: pub also serves ostrich, buffalo and boar
Reindeer balls: pub also serves ostrich, buffalo and boar

Related tags: Newspaper, Meat

A Kent pub has sparked controversy by serving meatballs made from reindeer meat to mark the festive season. 

The Jolly Sailor, Canterbury, introduced the dish as part of a drive by its kitchen team to serve less traditional meats with a 'Wild Food' menu. 

However, Mail Online ​reported yesterday (13 November) that some locals had been displeased to see reindeer served, with one mother-of-two telling the national newspaper she thought it would upset children.

She told the newspaper her children would be "horrified" to think they were eating Father Christmas' loyal companions.

But chef Will Bettles told The Morning Advertiser (MA) ​he "wasn't bothered" by the comments.

"Needless outrage"

He said: "There's a lot of people who aren't concerned about it and are very happy to try [reindeer]. I think it's very needless outrage.

"If you look at where [the meat] has come from, it's a very widely available meat and people eat it on a day-to-day basis.

"It's a lot healthier for people and a lot healthier for the environment. [Reindeer] have to be free-range farmed or wild."

Ostrich burgers

Other dishes on offer at the pub include buffalo burgers with garlic may and ‘wild’ rocket; pulled boar buns with coleslaw and rocket; and ostrich burgers with chilli mayonnaise and lettuce.

But the Jolly Sailor isn’t the first pub to make a point of working with more out-there meats.

Other meats

Earlier this year, London gastropub the Jugged Hare served squirrel and bacon croquettes to customers​.

Chef at the Moorgate pub, Stephen Englefield, told MA​: “[Squirrel] is similar to wild rabbit, darker in colour and a little bit sweeter and nuttier.”

Squirrel Croquettes at the Jugged Hare

The croquettes were served alongside hazelnut mayonnaise, which Englefield said complemented the sweetness of the squirrel meat.

Englefield also revived 18th​ century delicacy ‘Mock Turtle stew’ at the pub – a dish that contained large snapping turtle.

His interpretation, while lacking in turtle meat, incorporated veal tongue, brains, cheek, jowl, hoof, meatballs and blood sausage. 

Related topics: Menu Ideas

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