Rules review

There’s something rather wonderful about walking into places steeped in history and Rules, London’s oldest restaurant, is no exception.

From the flags outside to the red and gold fern design on the thick carpet, the stag antlers and old fashioned cartoons and sketches on the walls, it exudes warmth, comfort and just a little excess.

The two private dining rooms on the second floor are dedicated to two regular customers and supporters. The John Betjeman room seats 8, while the Graham Greene room is larger seating 18 to 20 with space for pre-drinks to one side of the L-shaped room.

Both rooms have Sketch Victorian cartoon artwork framed on the dark wood panelled walls, while the tables are adorned, not just with flowers by Derek Isaac, but silver cutlery, candlesticks, thrice folded napkins and other table decorations. Red leather chairs and diamond lattice style windows complete the look that Betjeman himself described as ‘unique and irreplaceable’ when defending Rules against impending closure in the 1970s.

But amid all this history and understated luxury is an impeccable service that is not the old fusty or superior style sometimes found in legendary establishments, but more a professional conviviality born from the enjoyment of sharing such a special venue with others who appreciate its unique style.

There’s no room hire charge for breakfast meetings and menus start at £28 for a continental selection, or £35 for a hot option such as scrambled eggs and smoked salmon or kedgeree. A new daily delegate rate of £90 has just been introduced which includes morning coffee break, working lunch and tea and cake as well as free wifi and other IT facilities including a 42 inch screen.

Lunch and dinner set menus range from £62.50 – £87.50 for three courses, coffee and petit fours plus 15% service charge.

With a restaurant of this standing it almost goes without saying that the ingredients are impeccably sourced but Rules goes further. With an emphasis on British ingredients, much of the meat, such as the beef and game, is sourced from the owner’s Lartington Estate.