Newest Review: ... It is very tastefully decorated which adds to the uniqueness and character of the place. It is covered with wood panelling and various p... more
Member Name: garymarsh6
Advantages: Traditional British food.
Disadvantages: Probably not suitable for vegetarians.
Where: 35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. London. WC2E 7LB.
Just off the Strand.
Nearest station: Charing cross.
Nearest tube station: Covent garden and Charing cross.
Rules Restaurant is London's oldest restaurant being over 200 years old. What is unique about Rules is that it serves up traditional English food using the freshest English ingredients including meat and game from its own Estate near Darlington, The Lartington Estate in Teesdale. When I say traditional English foods there is a curry of pheasant on offer for those who prefer something a little more exotic. I suppose it's a break with tradition and a move with the times after all curry is supposed to be the most eaten meal in the UK these days! Fresh fish and oysters are also on the menu.
Initially it was started by Thomas Rule in 1798 originally as an oyster bar who then later diversified into making game and oyster pies. It then developed into a restaurant. It has changed owners only three times in over 200 years.
On entering the restaurant you enter a reception area and there is an upstairs bar area where you can partake of the house speciality cocktails and to wait to be shown to your table or private dining room. The restaurants and private dining rooms are spread over three floors. On the ground floor there is a dining room that goes all the way back to the back of the shop. There are a number of stained glass tinted sky lights to let in natural light.
It is very tastefully decorated which adds to the uniqueness and character of the place. It is covered with wood panelling and various photos, pictures and drawings of the clientele who have frequented the place. The walls are also adorned by stag antlers one being used as a hat stand. There is also a big painting of Brittania with the face of Margaret Thatcher and for you younger members who may not be aware of who she is Margaret Thatcher was a formidable Primeminister who was in office from 1979 to 1990.
There are several private rooms upstairs for hire for intimate dining or to party dining. These offer discreet and intimate dining opportunities and are all tastefully decorated.
Previous clientele include famous actors, Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin, Clarke Gable, writers and poets for example Charles Dickens, HG Wells, John Betjemen, nobility including royalty. Prince Edward later Edward the 7th used to entertain Lily Langtry here in the upstairs private dining rooms.
On being seated we were immediately visited by the wine waiter and ordered pre dinner drinks and given the extensive menu to browse and make our choice. As game is seasonal the menus change according to season. It was a very extensive menu with some interesting things on offer hare, pheasant, hen, rib of beef, lamb, Deer, Duck partridge, grouse.
All the food was served in an unhurried and courteous manner, nicely presented and hot although I thought the portions a little on the meagre size. There was enough time between courses to enable the course to digest and to actually be able to talk without feeling rushed. Desserts were old time favourites such as Golden Treacle sponge pudding and sticky date and toffee pudding to name a few. The food was well cooked and tasted nice but I did not feel it was that special.
The waiters wore pristine white aprons and served the food in an unhurried manner however after the meal they served an espresso coffee which was stone cold and when asked if we would like another I asked if it could be hot this time as the first one was cold they gave it to us complimentary.
Just to whet your appetite here are a few things that are available on the menu.
First courses range in price from £7.50 up to £22.00.
Included in this section are oysters, dressed crab, potted rabbit or potted shrimps. Brown Windsor soup or game soup to give you some idea of what's available.
Prices range from £17.95 up to £27.50.
A variety of fish is on the menu such as bass, smoked haddock, and fish of the day according to the season. The meat dishes include lamb, beef, deer cooked in various ways steak and kidney pie, steak kidney & oyster pudding, hare and different types of game including partridge, woodcock, grouse, duck and teal according to the season.
Side dishes or salads or vegetables range from £3.75 to £7.25.
Desserts are all £7.50.
Sticky date and toffee pudding, Golden treacle sponge, chocolate pudding, bread and butter pudding, spotted dick and raspberry syllabub.
Cheese board. £11.95 -£12.95.
The cheese board offered a super selection of British cheeses including, Stinking bishop, Cropwell bishop blue cheese to name a few.
The wine list offers were from £21 up to a whacking £420
The cost of the meal is negligible bearing in mind the history of the restaurant and for me I found it far too meat based and stodgy British fare which these days is not really for me. I enjoyed the food the quality and the taste was excellent but I am doubtful if I would take anyone there again unless it was to show how traditional British food should be presented. I think that it certainly was an interesting evening, unhurried and it seemed to attract quite a lot of thespians after the theatres finished for the evening. It is certainly good for people watching.
It is advisable to make a reservation as not only is it a very popular restaurant it is in the heart of theatre land and gets booked up quite quickly. Open from Midday to 11:30 but only 10:30 on Sunday night.
The following link will take you to the web site of Rules.
Telephone bookings: 0207 836 5314
Quality of food. Excellent.
NOT SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS!
I am only rating this restaurant four because I dont believe that it serves the best of British food however it is right up there with some of the best because of its nostalgia.
Summary: A wonderful atmospheric restaurant full of nostalgia.