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Legendary Restaurants You Should Know:
Rules of London

Established in 1798, Rules is the oldest restaurant in London. Thomas Rule, who opened the restaurant, began it as an oyster bar, and today, nearly 300 years later, oysters are still on the menu. Also on the menu are a host of traditional, but upscale, English fare and the restaurant's other specialties: wild game, pies and puddings.

Rules of London restaurant

Rules, established in 1798, is the oldest restaurant in London.

Rules is Renowned for its Game

Though located in the heart of London's Theatreland, Rules gets its game from an estate (the Lartington Estate) in the High Pennines, which the restaurant owns. This allows the restaurant to control the quality and treatment of the game served. In fact, the game seasons play a large part in shaping the restaurant's menu, which is constantly changing with new in-season game specials.

Interestingly, the present owner of Rules, John Mayhew, inherited the Lartington Estate from his great Uncle Norman Field -- who was the nephew of Marshall Field, the man behind Chicago's famous chain of department stores (which has now been taken over by and renamed Macy's.)

Rules prides itself on the fact that their game are a healthy alternative to traditional meat and poultry products. The game is free-range and not given pesticides like traditionally raised animals. Further, they say that wild game has 5 percent to 7 percent fat, compared to 25 percent for lamb and as much as 45 percent for prime beef.

Legendary Restaurants

According to Sue Harding, Rules' housekeeper, each of the restaurants' owners has added their own unique touch over the years.

Types of game served at the restaurant include grouse, snipe, woodcock, wild rabbit, partridge, roe deer, wild duck, pheasant and venison.

For those with more of a sweet tooth, Rules serves a famous selection of English puddings, including:

  • Golden Treacle Sponge Pudding with Warm Vanilla Custard

  • Sticky Toffee Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce

  • Bread & Butter Pudding with Apricot Compote

  • Warm Chocolate Pudding with Marmalade Ripple Ice Cream

  • Baked Rice Pudding with Plum Jam

The Restaurant's Interior is like an "English Country House"

Rules' interior is an eclectic, though mature, mix of tastes, as each owner has added a bit of his own flair. Says Sue Harding, Rules' housekeeper:

"Each owner has loved it and all have added something to it. The charm is that it has grown over the years in a haphazard way. Nothing fits exactly as none of the rooms were built and furnished by one man in the fashion of one time. It is a conglomeration of styles and periods, of furniture and decoration. You find a hideous thing next to a beautiful thing and since taste is intensely personal you would probably disagree as to which is which. There is no theme, the interior is English Country House, each room is a jumble of old and new, English and foreign thrown together over 200 years by generations of acquisitive owners."

Want to give Rules a try? The dress code is "smart casual" (jacket and tie not required, but no shorts are allowed), prices are moderate to expensive, and according to the restaurant's Web site, you're in for "...a hugely big bang for your theatreland buck."

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Rules Restaurant

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