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RESTAURANT OF THE WEEK
Our first trip to London came in 1993 as we celebrated our 22nd anniversary. It was a complete surprise to Cindy and we only had a weekend to spend there. So we hired a car and driver named Nick Wilson. For one of our two main evening meals, Nick absolutely insisted that we dine at Rules and I'm sure glad he made the recommendation.
Rules is said to be the oldest restaurant in London and from the moment you enter the place you can feel the history. The atmosphere is incredible with all kinds of pictures on just about every available spot on the walls. Even as you head up the stairs to use the WC, there are pictures everywhere. This eatery was started by a gent named Thomas Rules and the doors first opened in 1798.
"Starters" as they refer to appetizers, include typically British favorites like potted shrimp, various creations using Stilton cheese, and my personal favorite, a salad featuring smoked haddock and quail eggs.
For the main course I nearly always choose deer. At Rules, they don't call it venison but plain, old deer. They usually offer two or three different kinds of deer. On our many visits I've tried the red deer and fallow deer and they are both just terrific. They come as medallions grilled over an open flame cooked medium rare. If you didn't know, you'd swear it was some of the finest beef you'd ever had. If memory serves me correctly, they also feature roe deer from time to time.
There are many other game selections to choose from including duck, grouse, and snipe. In fact, the restaurant maintains its own game preserve to make sure that there's always a good, solid supply of fresh deer and fowl.
Other traditional items like steak and kidney pie are always available along with roast beef and rack of lamb. My wife usually goes with the lamb and swears by it.
If "starters" are appetizers in England then for your "endings" (I made that up!) you can't go wrong with one of the many traditional British puddings offered on the menu. They also feature tarts and their own version of crème brulee with pistachios on it. For the ending to my meal at Rules, I always go with the Stilton cheese. The way they serve it is incredible. They bring this huge wheel of it to the table and you just keep digging until you've had your fill. It is served with crackers and celery.
While far from the most expensive spot in London, Rules is a bit on the pricey side but then again, what isn't pricey in London?! And for the quality of the food and the ambience, it's well worth every pound you pay.
We've had the pleasure of dining at Rules many times and every time we introduce somebody new to the establishment they absolutely love it. Next time you're in London I hope you'll give it a try. But do make a reservation. It is a very popular spot. They're located at 35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. You can ring 'em up from the U.K. at 02 7836 5314. Or go to their fabulous web site here and take care of reservations on line!
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