Traditional British food at Rules, London’s oldest restaurant
While there are no set rules on how to choose a restaurant for the GLC, one of the founding ideas is to explore new possibilities. Given this, my choice for the fifth GLC was controversial in that I’d been before. However, not all GLC members had had that pleasure. So my choice was the legendary Rules.
My first visit to Rules had been a few years ago and had been impressed by the sumptuous red décor littered with pictures of all things British, along with the cosy, traditional, living-room feel. Rules was established by Thomas Rule in 1798 and is renowned for traditional British food and classic game. All dishes are sourced from their own estate in the High Pennines, so GLC 5 was set to be another meat-feast.
We started the evening with the obligatory martinis in the upstairs cocktail bar. The bar itself felt a little tagged-on, however the martini’s were second-to-none and it gave us plenty of time for banter.
A London food blog secret
Now I’ll let you into a little secret; the GLC responds very well to booths and Rules has an abundance of them. So, placed in our favourite habitat we perused the choice of reds and selected our dishes. As a pre-starter we ordered Jersey rock oysters (£13.50 for half dozen) which were exactly as they should be and set the mood for an evening of gorging.
Knowing where the ingredients are sourced from certainly informs your choice. For starters, we opted for Dorset dressed crab (£15.95), which was wonderfully delicate and flavoursome. The rabbit rillette (£10.95) was nicely rich and the accompanying pickled onions were a welcome touch. Other starters sampled were the Uig lodge smoked salmon (13.95) and the classic potted shrimp. Unfortunately, my previous choice of jugged hare was off the menu this time, as was the grouse for two, due to the seasons. However, the Rules estate provided plenty of other choices.
The braised rabbit was irresistible, especially as it was served with black pudding and a cider sauce. Slow cooked dishes are another GLC favourite and the short rib of beef with roast shallots simply fell off the bone when you looked at it. Other mains included the Venison, pheasant and the pork cheeks. Pork belly and black pudding was the obvious dish for Dickie Dolan with his pork-belly fetish. The mains ranged in price from £19 to £32 and were worth every penny. With a short pause for breath, we tackled the crumbles, sponge puddings and naturally the Cropwell Bishop Stilton, washing it all down with a rather unnecessary (but very tasty) bottle of port.
Rules is without doubt one of the finest and most consistent restaurants in London. While some venues struggle with the blend of ambiance, experience and quality, Rules hits all three square on. It’s a wonderful restaurant and I can’t wait to go back!
Game: A Cookery Book by Tom Norrington Davis
If you want to try some game recipes, “Game: The Cookbook” has established itself as the new benchmark on the subject, featuring game in all its forms.
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23 Maiden Lane
020 7836 5314
We spent: £95 p.p.