Established back in 1798, London’s oldest restaurant remains a paragon of patriotic virtues – despite the odd wink to modernity. Its splendidly archaic decor and aristocratic menu have stood the test of time, as antlers, grand paintings and sketches of notable patrons such as Charles Dickens look down from the crowded walls of the cosy panelled dining room. Not surprisingly, Rules has been used as a set for Downton Abbey, but don’t expect high drama on the plate; instead, dapper staff serve up reliably good renditions of evergreens such as potted shrimps, trencherman steak and kidney pie or apple crumble with custard. Game from the restaurant’s Yorkshire estate is a real draw in chilly months – think rich venison rillettes, wild-rabbit hotpot or roast pheasant with bacon and Calvados cream – all backed by a great selection of rustic Rhône reds.
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