Monday, September 04, 2006

Rules, Covent Garden, 25 August

Rules bills itself as London's oldest restaurant, but rest assured the toilets have seen a refit since they opened in 1798. It's the place to go if you are a certified carnivore, as they have an estate in Teeside supplying them with game in season. We were rather disappointed though as we visited after the Glorious 12th but there was still no grouse on the menu!

There were however things like Gloucestershire Old Spot Pork Belly with Crackling, Loch Duart Salmon, Highland Venison, Roast Rack of West Devon Lamb and Grilled Bream & Cornish Scallops.

We had:

Fuller's draught London Pride ale in silver tankards
Warm Wiltshire Rabbit Salad with Black Pudding,Globe Artichoke & Ham

Cornish Mussels with white wine
Irish Grass Fed Beef Matured for 28 Days. Rump Steak,Wild Mushrooms & Red Wine

Steak & Kidney & Oyster Pudding with Green Beans

Samphire, & Chestnut Mushrooms
Buttered New Potatoes
Leaf Spinach
Viu Manent Merlot Colchagua Valley (Chile) 2004
Queen of Puddings with Hot Apricot Sauce
Warm Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream
Pudding Wine Chateau Rolland Barsac (Sauternes) 2001 (glass)
Brandy & Port

All this came to £160

The London Pride is nothing like the gnats piss they serve in the City. An excellent drop. My rabbit salad had a superb balance of flavours (if that isn't too poncey a way of putting it, but it did). Magoo hoovered up his mussels and used up all the left over bread for the juice, so I presume that met with requirements. His steak, kidney and oyster pudding has often been fondly recalled over the past week or so as well. I was pleased to see samphire on the menu, it's a great veggie and makes me think of seaside summer holidays! The Irish beef was OK, but I get to eat a lot of good beef so it would have to be pretty special to stand out. (The Rules website says that they get in Belted Galloway beef every so often, so that could be worth checking out. ) The merlot was smooth and flavoursome, and good value at £20.

Queen of puddings was -oh!- to die for. Have one! Magoo found the chocolate tart rather hard going after his steak and kidney pudding, pastry possibly a little on the heavy side. Pudding wine, which I have got rather addicted to recently, the perfect light, honeyish slightly floral complement to my pud.

Service - not bad, a little slow in places but polite and helpful. We did not feel rushed.
Venue - go see it, imagine you were there when Dickens or Betjemen was, with a haze of cigar smoke obscuring the stag's crowns and old portraits of bygone personages, while you quietly check out the other clientele in the enormous mirrors.

Rating 8.5/10
020 7836 5314
35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7LB

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