Visitors Letters & Emails
Visitors comments year by year
“for 17 years I patrolled past this restaurant as a Police Sergeant @ Bow Street. Finally I have come in + enjoyed a perfect meal. Excellent!”
“Great meal but now that I am unemployed I won’t be back”
“I come ere time & time again. Ow do you manage to outstand (my spelling) me. Your fab all of you. Roma Regna Sul Fumo e Sulla Fregna”
“A rememberance of a London which doesn’t exist anymore – traditional style & delicious.”
” Great meal but where was the Candy Floss in the Raspberry Blancmange as stated? ”
“I like the decor – it’s lovely. I will be booking my boyfriend and I one of your couple’s booths. ps this is quite nearly as lovely as Napoleon’s suite”
“Our parents told us about your restaurant, it still measures up! Thank you”
“Excellent food. Slow Service, but would still recommend”
“Une memorable et “so british” soiree en Amoureux. Merci a votre equipe”
“The next time we dine here, George Bush will NOT be U.S. President”
“My first time was 1963 as a college student. It gets better and better”
“Ici meme une fille a fetee son bac avec succes pour le bonheur de son pere..Un tres beau cadeau pour mon bac.”
” I’m only in London for 3 days – and a big fan of The End Of The Affair by Graham Greene. What a blessing to have dinner here. It feels more like a pilgrimage than a meal.”
“We were here in 1980 on our honeymoon which was a brilliant evening; then again in 2002 with our 3 daughters which was a trifle less romantic but still memorable; and now we visit Rules for a third time shortly after our 27th Wedding Anniversary and it was again, excellent.”
“Tres heureuse d’avoir connu votre magnifique Restaurant. Je suis moi meme Restauratrice et Chef de Cuisine a Paris ayant achete le celebre Restaurant le “Jamin” de Joel Robuchon Animatrice TV en France.”
“Tres beau moment la cuisine locale est aussi honorable que la reine de ce pays!”
“Thank you very much. We came on the penultimate night of our run in the West End, The Importance of being Earnest. We loved it! Especially the Creme Brulee! & service.”
“We came to celebrate my gorgeous sister’s 40th. We’ve travelled from Belgium, Nottingham & Essex to join you! Loved the food & wine, waiter had sexy accent”
“Nous reconnaisons bien la la courtoisie Anglaise et en plus nous avons bien mange”
“My 19 year old son brought me as a thank you and we had the most wonderful evening, excellent food and fabulous service and I am fussy.”
“I always enjoy coming, 49 years from my first visit”
“Wonderful to find a restaurant from my home village – beautiful Lartington”
“Vraiment parfait, on reviendra avec gourmandise”
“Thanks to my wife for a wonderful birthday invitation. I love you so much. “The Rules” Rules. From the Basque country (the best place to eat in the world).
“Un agreable Moment de cuisine Anglaise “le Bistrot de Jean’ St Malo.”
“Great. Mitch Marshall aged 8 years old (nearly nine)”
“Dieci Anni Dopo..Rules again. Un’ottima cena”
“Sono Tornata dopo 16 anni e posso dire che e ancora meglio di come ricordavo”
“Mamma Mia Che Buono!!! Complimenti.”
“There are indeed some things to thank the volcanic ash cloud for, and this visit to Rules is one”
“La soiree valait bien le detour de Corse”
“As always a great pleasure – my first visit was in 1955 with my Great Grandfather – it is and was his, my favourite place.”
“Wonderful food to celebrate a wonderful occasion – my mother donated a kidney to me”
“I went to Procope in Paris, oldest restaurant in Paris..but Rules was far better”
“I would live in London just for this”
“A fantastic meal congratulations to your chef. Also Adrian, his manners are impeccable”
“Dopo un anno si torna da Rules..buono come sempre, ma soprattutto…Magico”
“From JC to Info Mar 11th..I’m afraid I need to cancel my booking. For years I’ve wanted to come to Rules but my sheer sickness I felt when I saw that grotesque celebration of Baroness Thatcher splattered across your walls turned my stomach. That animal was responsible for starving the working classes of northern Britain. I’m sorry but i could never think of a more distasteful decoration in which to be in company of when eating. It’ll be interesting to see if any of your staff are aware of the lives that woman took away from families, jobs she took away and communities torn apart. She is not a woman to be celebrated in any sense. I’m sorry but you will never hear from me again.”
From Major-M.B.E to Rm. February …. “There are few advantages to being posted as an Army Officer to the Ministry of Defence. One of them, however, is being able to go to the Opera frequently, another is, or should be, being able to go to your restaurant for an enjoyable meal afterwards.
While I, and many of my colleagues, are full of admiration for the excellent quality of the food, the interior ambiance, the service, and the price, there is one point which concerns me.
Recently, I have noticed more and more noisy and rather drunk individuals in the street outside when I have arrived late in the evening. The situation reached an all-time low on Monday 6th February with my having to watch, from my table, a very drunk female, having imbibed too much from the bar next door, leaning against your window and throwing up.
You might argue that as a member of a Regiment which is 100 years or so older than your restaurant this should not bother me. But I am afraid it does; frankly, I want something better, particularily after an exhilirating evening at the Royal Opera House.
Of course I realise you cannot control what goes on in the street outside, though I would have thought that you would have a strong case to object to the renewal of your neighbour’s licence. What you could do however, is to fit a curtain halfway up your windows. This would screen off ‘the world outside’ from your diners, while still allowing passers-by to see the upper part of your restaurant and gain an impression of the marvellous surroundings.
I shall not stop coming to your restaurant because of this-indeed, I was there only a week after the incident I have described. And I expect that we shall continue to lunch out members of staff leaving our branch here in the MOD as we have done, most enjoyably, several times in the past. But I do hope you will consider my suggestion which I am sure will make life more pleasant for customers and staff.
From H.K.W (Attorney & Counsellor at law) to Rules August ..……”I am leaving in a few days for Tanzania to hunt, I told you that I had hunted often in Africa. I offered to send one of my buffaloes over for Rules as the one you have is probably a dwarf buffalo from western Africa. I already have a house full of trophies with no where to put any more. Your restaurant is a very elegant place and it would be a great pleasure to send along this trophy for an honourable place to be.”
From T to firstname.lastname@example.org 21st May …..” We are the largest farm raised alligator farmers in the world. The tenderest alligator meat you will ever have!”
From PH to email@example.com 23 April …..”Along with a large number of fellow smokers, I no longer eat at Rules due to your NO SMOKING POLICY which I believe was brought in because of the amount of American eaters that you had coming to your restaurant.”
From PM to firstname.lastname@example.org 19th March ….”I live in the USA (in Northern Carolina) and I would like to suggest you consider franchising your wonderful restaurant to the States. In the U.S it is very hard to find a restaurant that serves traditional English food and even harder to find grocery stores that carry English food products. If I might suggest to you and your colleagues in the food industry you are missing out on an unlimited market”
From AW to email@example.com 18 April ….” we are a filmteam from Sweden. We like to shoot a short cut when a waiter serves HP-sause to a man at a table. We are three people in our team and we will not use extra light. Could we use one of your waiters in the sceen?”
From K to firstname.lastname@example.org 28 September ...”A sweet story form an elderly (70+) lady whom I met at Marlborough this summer. She had lost her husband 6 years ago. Whenever she comes to London she tries to visit Rules, where she was courted-before 1939. She said that she felt better whenever she came, because her memories were so happy.”
From ML to The manager 23 January …” we have always enjoyed coming to Rules: the choices on the menu are many and varied and represent what is best in English fare. It was for this reason that my father sent many of his clients to you for over fifteen years. Yesterday we had lunch at your restaurant. As always, the food was delicious, beautifully cooked and attractively served. The wine was excellent. However, the occasion was spoilt by a man on the next table who received and made several calls on his mobile phone. This individual who was about three feet away from us, shouted about stocks and shares, orders, prices etc. The ringing tone on his phone was also far too loud. Can you give us an assurance that you will put a ban on mobile phones? Or at least section off one part of your restaurant for these people?”
From AR to DC 8 June …..” Thank you so much for your kind invitation to join the shoot in November. I regret that I will have to refuse as I have not picked up a gun since I shot TB in the backside some years ago. M I know has not had to earn my sensibilities.”
From CF to MD 9 Jan…”Normally the thought of dinner in London appals me but faced with that or not seeing two fellow wrinklies who had ‘stopped over’ brought my wife and I to your restaurant the other evening. It was my son’s suggestion who told me if I found a clean pair of shoes a jacket and a tie I should be allowed in. We were astonished. We sat in comfort for about three hours and ate a wonderful meal quite unchivied by your staff.”
From EF to Jm July 19...”Picking up the postcard of Rules rolled back the years for me. My friend sent me the card. They were having the Examiners Dinner after the D.O exams.
My father, Charles John May, was Chef for many years, under Mr O’Brien and Mr Bell. My father left and was away for 2 years and then Mr Bell asked my father to come back which he did, and it was in the newspapers that Charles May had returned to Rules.
My father was much appreciated by King Edward because one evening he sent for my father to tell him the sweet he had made was so beautiful it should have been under a glass case.”
From MM to JM 17th June...”My husband and I dined with you – not literally of course – last night, not by any means for the first time but it was quite a while since we had been + we needed a good supper after the mediocrity of “Crazy for you”.
I was glad to see that all was the same upstairs where Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, + my grandmother spent so many evenings and it occurred to me to ask you whether you could, after all these years, have her first name spelt correctly, Lillie, not Lily? It would be nice.”
From DB to JD August 23rd.…” Columbia Pictures is currently in pre-production on a motion picture tentatively entitled Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Said picture will star Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins and will be directed by Francis Ford Coppola…..Enclosed for your perusal are script pages that describe scenes which take place in Rules Restaurant.”
FromEC to TM….I recently had the pleasure of lunching at your restaurant for the very first time and couldn’t resist doing a crossword about the occasion.
1. (Down (6)) A girl in a jam – I’M eager to help etc etc
From Group Captain to PF 27 July….My secretary spoke to Katy this morning and booked our regular Annual Court Dinner. It may be helpeful if I give you the background to our Annual Dinner.
In 1928 Captains of commercial aircraft were warned that in 1929 they would be legally required to become certificated air navigators. On 5 December 1928 those pilots who had so qualified met at Rules to celebrate the fact at a ‘Veteran Air Navigators’ Dinner’. All those that signed the menu were killed in the Airship crash which was on its way to New York shortly after the dinner. January will be the 16th consecutive year that the Court has dined at Rules to the same menu as on 5th December 1928.”
From PA to TM 19th July...I am presently engaged in doing some research into the early recording activities of the Gramophone Co (now part of EMI Ltd), which took place in the late 1890’s at 31 Maiden lane. In particular I am aiming to produce an article about the first recordings, made in late 1898, which involved artists working locally, some of whom were effectively recruited via their frequenting Rules! I am even contemplating organising a small party for descendants of those early “stars” and others, if I can find enough of them.
Apparently one of the early Gramophone performers was an employee (possible a barmaid?) at Rules.”
From IH to RM 9th February...” My father who is 86 had said that he wanted to eat Ptarmigan before he died. Your staff took an enormous trouble to try and locate two Ptarmigan for us and it was really worth the effort. My father was wholly thrilled by the evening and said that the Ptarmigan was the best game he’d ever eaten.”
From PH to GM 22 April.…” I brought a foreign friend of mine to dinner at your restaurant on 15th April. I recommended the Steak and Kidney Pudding, as it is the most exquisite English speciality, and luckily she chose the salmon. I had the ‘pudding’ and was so disappointed I could have wept.
What has happened to the traditional pudding? This was a travesty. There was a crust of a few millimetres thick, albeit over the most delicious meat and gravy. The manager told me it was done at the request of the clientele. Now, if you are going to follow the whims of vegetarians and other faddy people, your restaurant will be in ruins. All foreigners are keen to try the national specialities and surely this is one of them, for which you are, sorry were, justly famed.”
From DO to TM 5th August…”Some forty years ago I was fortunate enough to have lunch in your famous restaurant.
Since then I have from time to time made your Steak and Kidney Pie, the recipe taken from Page 275 in Life’s Picture Cook Book published by Prentice-Hall International London 1960. The pastry is always delicious and quite unique. But I have one problem. The recipe does not mention flouring the meat or thickening the gravy in any way.”
From FW to JM 5th August….”A short while ago I paid one of my occasional visits to Rules on the occasion of my son’s 28th birthday which coincided with the first day of his new job in the city.
We were all, my wife, my daughter included, delighted with the meal which took us three and a half hours to consume, and you have a potential future customer in my son, whose major experience of Rules hitherto had been in assisting me with noise measurements on the roof behind the Charles Dickens Room.
However, there is a comment which I feel I ought to make. This arises from my visit to the upstairs facilities in the south west corner at the end of our meal. I was surprised to note that the inner door of the gents is so hung that it interferes with anyone at one of the urinals, but more particularly, it is readily possible to see the urinals in use from the corridor when both doors happen to be open. I did in fact see a lady in the corridor while I was in full operation myself, and assumed that the reverse was possible.”
From EF to RM 16th September.…” I have been a most satisfied guest in Rules Restaurant for the last 25 years or so. It was my father who opened this door to British quality food prepared with caring craftmanship for me, and I have looked forward to my next visit ever since. Although I have not been one of your most frequent customers (once or twice a year), this is entirely due to the fact that I live in Norway!
I have admired your marble beauties in the niches and have asked many of your waiters through the years about the busts but none have been able to give me any answer. I wrote to the British Museum and enclose their reply”
From AC to TM 3rd December...”When my family and I were lunching at Rules a few weeks ago, we read with interest the various literary quotes concerning Rules and my daughter and I both felt that there was one missing. I have now managed to trace the quote of Dorothy L Sayers in “Strong Poison” which may be of interest to you.
Chapter XV of “Strong Poison” begins as follows: “Lord Peter congratulated Miss Murchison and gave her a rather special lunch at Rules, where there is a particularly fine old cognac for those that appreciate such things”
I think it is therefore safe to assume that the fictional Lord Peter Wimsey was an habitue of your restaurant and one must imagine that Dorothy L Sayers will have eaten chez vous as well. Incidentally we had a very pleasant lunch without the cognac but with the house champagne.”
From JM to RR 30th October.…” I really would like to take the opportunity to express my dismay at the endless gratuitous swipes which The Times restaurant reviewers deal out to your establishment at every conceivable (and quite a few inconceivable) opportunity.
Last Saturday was a case in point, where one passing mention in a review of a different establishment seemed to justify yet another go at you at the end of the column. This is in a week where one of their reviewers was thrown out of yet another establishment.
I have written in protest to The Times on your behalf, but my letters have, it will not surprise you to learn, been ignored.
My wife and I have frequently dined in your restaurant and recommend it to everyone as our favourite “whatever The Times may say”, and we look forward to visiting you again soon.”
From DF to email@example.com 9th December...”There was a book written by a gentleman that stated he was terminally ill and was using the time left in his life to do what he longed for. One of these things was to eat at your restaurant, which he did. I had a fabulous dinner there recently and overheard someone discussing this book. Could you possibly tell me the name of the book?”
From EMM Autumn …”In this climate of hurry, panic, short-cuts and speed, it is a glorious relief to come across extablishments that have abided calmly throughout the years of furious change: reassuring pillars of the old sedate humanity that is now daily eroded, places of permanence and stability, oases of sanity and quiet dignity in a world gone mad. .indeed, where better to browse great wines than at Berry Brothers and Rudd (on whose giant coffee scales Lord Byron and William Pitt measured their weight); to enjoy a pint of a flavoursome cask ale than at Ye Old Cheshire Cheese; purchase a refined china tea than at Twinings in the Strand, or order a picnic hamper full of delicacies than at Fortnum and Mason? Similarly, there are few greater upholders of traditional fine dining than Covent Garden’s Rules.”
From JB to ED December ….In an unsure world, when all around one can sense chaos, turbulence amd instability, it would be remiss of me not to send acknowledgment and a note of appreciation to one of the very few remaining places where one can be assured of a proper and peaceful lunch and dinner.
I refer, of course, to Rules; and most importantly to you, Mr Wood and all of your colleagues who look after all your customers so well.
Throughout the year, a particularily difficult year in some ways, you have never let me down; have fed and watered me and have provided a comfortable and consistent haven of tranquillity from the hurly-burly of the outside world.
19th December Restaurant...Cult restaurateur Alice Waters reveals the history and success behind her legendary Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. A tireless campaigner for organic produce, Waters describes how a year spent in London studying was a real inspiration. “I used to go to Rules and Harrods, which always had the most extraordinary game, birds, rabbits and displays that were breathtaking…all of this was unknown in the United States, really unknown”.
17th Jan re Belted Galloway Beef….Think I will come back as stress free Belted Galloway, to be nurtured and tended for by the very capable and caring Paul and Phillip, bit worried about being chased by Treacle or Jack and don’t like the look of the man with the gun – would definitely be packing bags and leaving herb filled pastures by 3 1/4 years old though! Best wishes Buttercup Duffy
p.s. Lindsay wants the roast foreribs with dauphinoise potatoes and red wine sauce – do you do a postal service?
26th Jan from B.Salk to info@rules …We are really looking forward to coming to the restaurant. We are very close friends with 80 year old Lois Laurel-Hawes who is Stan Laurel’s daughter and only child (Laurel & Hardy comedy fame). She tells us this was Stan’s favourite restaurant in London and she recommended we eat here. I noticed the web site mentions Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, etc enjoyed the restaurant. You should make sure you mention Stan Laurel as well. We happen to own Stan’s old yacht.
From RR to JM...”I am personally disappointed that my name is omitted from the list of novelists who have featured Rules in their books. In 1979, my 250,000 word novel included scenes set in Rules. The book was an in depth study of theatrical life in late Victorian London, published in the USA by Simon & Schuster and in the UK by Hamish Hamilton. .
From Bc to info@rules My son from Arizona is this week enjoying once again your steak & kidney pie. In his e-mail to me he gave me the opportunity of seeing, by clicking, your beautiful restaurant. I recently enjoyed a mystery by P.D.James, in which one of her characters says he must go to Rules on Maiden Lane as he has always done that on his birthdays. I don’t know recall the title of her book but as you know she is one of your finest mystery writers. I wish you had a branch of Rules right here in Fort Myers, Florida, USA.
From JD to JM…”For some time I have been meaning to burden you with a letter, but octogenarian lethargy has supervened. Until recently, I had only once visited Rules since 1939. That was a decade or so ago, and I had been somewhat disappointed. I rarely return to my native London nowadays. When I do, and go back to some formerly favoured place, I invariably find it gone for ever or changed out of recognition and for the worse. So, what a joy to return to Rules. I was a regular customer there in pre-war days, when I was a journalist. It was much admired for post-theatre suppers by my particular drama-orientated set. Have you considered reinstituting the Rules’ Special Mixed Grill served on a large silver platter, it cost a then hefty 3s.6d (17p) which was also the price of the five course lunch at the Cafe Royal. I have no real criticisms. I do prefer to take my pre-prandial drinks at a bar, and it can be a tiresome walk to the Loo. Yet how trivial such comments against the delights of Rules.”
From WS to RR…” In circles in which I move only rarely, one calls the profession of a preference contrary to general expectations “coming out”. This kind of revelation -or confession- has become fashionable, and as an active follower of every fashion I do not wish to miss the chance to make a confession which you may regard as a coming out: I love…Oof it’s not easy, everyone gets the impression that my heart beats for French Cuisine,particularily Parisian Gastronomy. That’s correct. For what other reason would I take to the bistros (and recently the Beisln in Vienna)? In the bistros, I find lentil salad and stingray with capers in brown butter, calf kidneys and cahors. In other words the joys of higher commonness have grown close to my heart. My secret love is….Please be understanding. For many years, I have searched from behind menus made from thick hand-made paper for the essence of culinary art. And not seldomly found them. For decades have I been on the hunt for the best quality fish, meat, vegetables, oil and bread, and caught some impressive prey. In total no unhappy love, therefore, and yet: Most of all I love to eat in London at Rules. The restaurant has never been praised for its cuisine. (Like by the way, Brasserie Lipp in Saint-Germain, which many Frenchmen, from the President to the lowliest journalist, seem to regard as a gastronomic paradise). I prefer to sit at Rules. It is ancient and stands under National Trust protection.
From JS to JM...You realise that the relationship between artist and patron, is notoriously fraught and always ends up with ill feeling and dismay on the part of both, but mainly the artist. The artist will always feel he is being sold short (quite rightly) and the patron always feels a sense of betrayal and wonderment and at the antics of one who should really be feeling nothing but clawing gratitude for being given the opportunity to express his banality. (Check out Whistler’s antics in the peacock room and his skinflint patron). The mechanics are such: after much deliberation, a single illustration snaking across the four boards would be a visual disaster as it could only be appreciated by sitting on the shoulders of your chef with the kitchen door open; any other view would resemble the intricacies of one of your macinacionary desserts. Not a feast for the eyes but a colonic eruption barely contained by a hogshead of tabasco and liver salts. It would also take the amount of time that would disturb the patron into a feeling of ill-will towards the artist. The solution is this, to complete the work, and expose it in stages; each an individual piece and then to squabble about monies in stages. This also means you will have something on your wall much sooner, and time to enjoy it (maybe) and deliberate its progress. This will also take off the intense pressure from the busy artist and will do work to satisfy all. The impatient patron will then find instant gratification, rather like those girls leaving supermarket check outs already halfway through their chocolate bars. Its all a mystery.
From TF to JM...I first visted Rules on a visit from Norway in 1959. It is not all that often I am in London, but at every conference I am, I keep telling, no urging! – the Scandinavian delegates to make a booking at Rules and have a most pleasant experience they will never forget. The last time was on friday and I am pleased to say that I was telephoned from Sweden a couple of days later by one of the group, saying it had been a “bullseye”, as he put it.
The reason for telling you all this is that the last time I had dinner at your restaurant with a Norwegian delegate, I picked up some of your leaflets in Norwegian. I haven’t the faintest idea who translated these for you, and whilst they cannot be misunderstood in any way, the Norwegian is incredibly stilted. We started reading them and then we both laughed and shook our heads.
From ARD TV to JP..Further to our telephone conversation I would like to confirm that ARD TV is keen to produce a report on shooting your own dinner. The story will be aired on 26th January and the 9th February. For the filming there will be a 3 member crew, Sabine, the correspondent and myself. The story will feature a small group of ladies and gentlemen at Lartington Hall Park and to finish at Rules filming the delivery of game to the Chef.
From JB to The Manager…I had lunch in your restaurant on friday. When I ordered the wine, the headwaiter brought the wine to my guest, ignoring me. It is the custom to offer the bottle and a taste to the person whom has ordered it. In addition I asked for the bill a number of times, it took 20 minutes to arrive, but not to me as the host, but to my guest. This was very embarrassing, as I did not wish for my guest to see the cost of the meal. The bill was picked up by the headwaiter and promptly returned to my guest for signing. I then signed the bill and handed it to the waiter – and he said “thank you sir err sorry madam”. I am sured that you will have gathered by now that I, the host, am female and my guest is male. All this despite the fact that I was clearly in control of ordering and paying for the bill and that my goldcard has MISS printed on it in capitals. As I said earlier, this situation was very embarrassing.
From AD to Rules…Monsieur. Je voudrais evoquer un desagreable probleme qui m’est advenu dans votre restaurant Rules. Au moment de payer, le serveur a poliment refuse ma carte, parce que “elle n’etait pas encore valable”. En effet, j’ai bien du constater que sa validite commencait le 1er. Il s’agissait en effet de ma nouvelle carte, recemment envoyee par American Express avec l’habituel conseil de detruire aussitot l’ancienne. Je l’ai fait sans songer a verifier ce “gap” des dates. Appele par le serveur, un maitre d’hotel est venu a notre table faire a tres haut voix des declarations fort seches, ecoutees par toutes les tables voisines, qui pouvaient croire que ma carte etait refusee. A mes explications, il a impoliment fait valoir que “la machine refusait”. Un client n’est pas une machine. Par ailleurs, j’ai ete tres content de mon repas et vous en remercie.
PC to JM.. I had an excellent meal at Rules last week. The food was good, the staff friendly and of course the decore unique. But: I am forced to write about the appalling menu design. Rules is one of London’s most wonderful restaurants “London’s Oldest”, it sells fine English food but has the menu from a hamburger cafe.
Jc to The Manager... Following a recent visit to your restaurant I feel I have to write to express my disappointment at the service my family and I received. We were seated in a particularly cramped corner of the restaurant, adjacent to the kitchen entrance. Consequently I received several knocks from passing members of staff as they hurried to and from the kitchen during the course of the evening. Admittedly we arrived a little earlier than arranged, but even allowing for this we had to wait thirty five minutes before our first course was served. The restaurant was very busy, as I am sure is usual, and all of this would have been more understandable and acceptable were it not for the fact that patrons seated nearby seemed to be receiving more prompt attention.
From GM to Rules... The wife and I had been in London on business and visited Rules for dinner. We have been there previously and in the past have enjoyed your food and establishment very much. On this visit my wife ordered Wild Duck and I ordered Jugged Hare and I must say we were really quite disappointed and appaled that my wife’s duck was full of bird shot. Needless to say it rather spoiled an enjoyable dinner and what was otherwise an evening we had very much looked forward to. I have been in this world for a bit over 70 years, have lived in Europe, Asia and of course the USA and I have had more than my share of meals in restaurants and I never…ever served bird shot at my table (with or without the duck).
From CF to RM…. Last time I wrote was to enquire, gently, about something which I had felt at the time had not come up to Rules’ usual standards. You sent me a charming reply and invited me for a glass of champagne on my next visit. This took place last friday (after a most unusual gap for me of over a year). This was Rules at its very best – your staff had arranged, at short notice, a special table for six; we all had an excellent meal and your colleague insisted on turning your offer of a glass of champagne into a whole bottle for us. Like my father before me I have been a regular customer as long as I can remember – particularly when I was conductor of the Royal Ballet in the latter sixties, when after performances at the Royal Opera House, I would often eat at the restaurant several times a week. My family and I still look upon Rules as a home from home among London restaurants.
From MY to DCG…. Please allow this letter to serve as confirmation of your participation to Stirrin It Up which airs live from the WJBO studios in Baton Rouge. We will call you at aproximately 11:30am (Central Standard Time). We will be boiling crawfish in Louisiana, you will be boiling crawfish in England and we have two boiling crawfish in Canada. Enclosed you will find a recipe for boiling crawfish, plus a bottle of Zatarain’s Shrimp & Crab Boil, two boxes of Zatarain’s Crawfish, and a jar of Celery Salt to use for your boil.
From DP to DC..…Thank you for your helpful letter regarding the availability of red, black and white grouse (gamecock and ptarmigan). Please could you try to arrange for one each of a red, white and black grouse to be available to us on a date of your choosing.
From IM to RM…..In June I wrote to you about our very disappointing visit to your restaurant & you wrote to say how sorry you were. I phoned Rules this morning to speak to you, but you were off duty. All I want to say now is that on Thursday my husband and I came to Rules to celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary – we had a really wonderful evening and I want to thank all the staff who were so kind and made our time all the more delightful and we were treated to a wonderful bottle of champagne.
From Ph to RM.… I have had the pleasure of dining at Rules on many occasions and I am pleased to record the experience has been a delight. I wonder if I could possibly call upon your assistance with a small request? I have just completed the refurbishment of our kitchen and dining room and thought it would be a rather good idea to display a selection of signed menus from some of the fine restaurants we have had the pleasure of dining in over the years. I would like this menu to be a surprise for my wife Rosemary. Thus, your confidence would be very much appreciated should she make a reservation in my absence.
From the Rev DS to Rules…. Would you kindly send one of your Christmas cards to Father S, an American Jesuit that has done summer duty in Soho and enjoyed your fine restaurant many times.
From GS to Rules..… On Tuesday I was dining in Rules, my guest and I were seated at the back of the restaurant. Nearby were four men reaching the end of their meal, one of whom was beginning to speak rather loudly. At no time was the enjoyment of our meal affected but I did consider his behaviour a little anti-social. Some time later they were asked to leave which they did. As I was about to leave the restaurant myself one of the party of four came back inside and informed the manager that they were positioned outside stopping people coming in. Words were spoken outside to which I was not privy and the incident closed. I would like to complement your staff on the quiet and efficient way with which they dealt with this problem.
From Mr to info@rules.… You should have a newsletter, so people like me (who think Rules is great) can be kept up to date.
From BH to info@rules…. I recently had the pleasure of having dinner at your restaurant. There is a part of Dickens Nicholas Nickelby that make reference to “The Rules” which I quote below:
Nicholas walked home for the night very thoughfully indeed. The place to which Mr Cheeryble had directed him was a row of mean and not overly-clean houses, situated within “The Rules” of the King’s Bench Prison, and not many hundred paces distant from the obelisk in St George’s Fields. The Rules are a certain liberty adjoining the prison, and comprising some dozen streets in which debtors who can raise money to pay large fees, from which their creditors do not derive any benefit, are permitted to reside by the wise provisions of the same enlightened laws which leave the debtor who can raise no money to starve in jail, without the food, clothing, lodging, or warmth, which are provided for felons convicted of the most atrocious crimes that can disgrace humanity.
From AD to DC….. A short note to thank you so much for our lunch on saturday. The food was absolutely delicious and we were incredibly well attended. We actually became engaged in the morning and therefore lunch was something of a celebration. Quite honestly I could not have enjoyed a more pleasant meal and location in which to celebrate. I have been incredibly impressed by the handling of my initial concern. Not only did you respond in a manner I did not expect, by bringing in a firm of Independent Food Specialists, but at all times you have treated me as a valued customer. Your courtesy has been outstanding.
From HM to RM.…..I am writing to see if we can be of mutual help to each other. I am a consultant surgeon and shoot Roe, Fallow & some Muntjac Deer in the Home Counties on land owned by me. We eat some of it at home. The problem is I do my deer stalking in the afternoons & by the time the shot deer is retrieved & fully garolloched the game dealers have shut shop or are many miles away. My question is would you be interested in having some deer carcasses? Incidentally I have a special interest in deer diseases & do carry out a thorough post-mortem on every deer I shoot.
From IL to Rules.….Why do you choose to feature the Kingsley Amis and Time Outreviews of your restaurant on your web site. Both are less than enthusiastic about Rules – Mr Amis concluding “I find it hard to imagine an establishment Elysian enough to dispel the memory of two of the most disgusting full-dress meals I have ever tried to eat in my life. They would have stood out even in-where? Wigan? Nizhni Novgorod? It seems that this hogwash counter was a few years ago narrowly saved from the bulldozer. Pity. Let us hope before too long a decent doner kebab joint or albanian takeaway may arise on its ruins.”…Reply from Rules…”Many thanks for your email and it is nice to know that the web site can provoke a reaction. The Kingsley Amis review was sometime in the 1970’s. Rules has managed to survive nearly 40 years since then. He was a great writer and if one was ever to get a bad review (which happens to all restaurants however good the chef is) this is a peach of a bad review. We could fill our web site with glowing reviews but that would be blowing the trumpet and it would be a familiar tune each time. We try our best day after day to make this restaurant as nice as possible and are lucky enough to serve around 2,500 people every single week of the year for getting on 24 years since I bought Rules. These articles show that we don’t always succeed. When we don’t. we hold up our hands, pay back the money where appropriate and try and get our customer back to see how well we normally do things. I would trust a restaurant that was prepared to show the good and the bad rather than one with a PR machine. I do hope you get to make up your own mind by coming and seeing for yourself this restaurant which we are very proud of.”
From KF to info@rules...I hope you don’t mind me contacting you out of the blue-I am writing from xxxxx, a televison company based in Soho with a strong reputation for high quality factual programming across all terrestrial and digital channels, including ‘A Place in France’, ‘Seaside Parish’, the critically acclaimed ‘The Monastery’ and ‘This Little Farmer went to Market’.
I am currently working on a new series ideas, and we are currently looking at the resurgence of game cooking and traditional British Cuisine as an area of potential interest. In the course of my initial research I have had Rules recommended to me, and having read through the website your establishment strikes me as having a particularily interesting story, due to your connection with the Lartington Estate in the High Pennines.
From Dr N to RMcm...I entertained some overseas business colleagues at Rules. the dinner was well presented and the food was lovely- all my guests were very complimentary about it.
The only drawback was that the restaurant was so cold! I did complain a couple of times but nothing was done, and in the end my guests resorted to wearing their overcoats whilst eating their dinner…..Not as I am sure you will agree, a very comfortable thing to do.I would add that they are not from a hot climate and therefore unused to the cold- they were in fact from Scandinavia!
From LG to The Manager….Last friday I had luncheon at your restaurant with my elderly Aunt and her friend. We all enjoyed the food very much and as usual the atmosphere was lovely.
However I was very disappointed with some aspects of the service. The waiter who was serving us hit me so hard in the back when he was clearing the table that it could have almost been deliberate, and he did not apologise. I find it hard to believe that he did not notice what he had done as this was no light brush.
I di not say anything at the time as visiting your restaurant is always a great treat for my Aunt and her friend who is currently recovering from cancer, and I did not want to spoil her day. However it did take some of the shine off mine. People visit expensive restaurants to enjoy themselves and to escape for a few hours from some of the unpleasant sides of life and I’m sure that you feel that it is your business to assist them to do so.
I am very sorry to have to bring this to your attention, as I too enjoy visiting your lovely restaurant, however I do feel very strongly about this matter and cannot let it go unsaid.
From The Betjeman Society to RMcM...In february, the Society invited Lady Wilson, our retiring President and Bevis Hillier, Sir John’s biographer and our new President, to lunch in Rules. They were joined by the members of our Council. The occasion, a special one, was both happy and memorable.
Some time ago, we commissioned a portrait of Sir John and I enclose a reproduction of this. The original, by Grahame Laver, is on permanent loan to the Highgate Literary & Scientific Institute where it is much admired. We were wondering if you would accept from us a copy for display.
From The British Library to JM…As you probably know Graham Greene’s centenary year…I am the curator responsible for this exhibition and I wondered whether there might be any memorabilia that you might be prepared to loan the Library. I would be very ineterested in seeing the chess set and some of the correspondence you keep.
From Sb to firstname.lastname@example.org....I brought an elderly relative to your restaurant on May 27th for lunch. It was her 94th birthday and I was delighted by how beautifully we were treated. I am enclosing a copy of her ‘thank you’ note to me and I want to say a big thank you to you and the delightful waiter on that day…..Dear Sheelagh. I want to say a very big thank you for my lovely birthday lunch and also the messages on your mobile phone. The staff in Rules also were very nice to me. I felt like the Queen Mum especialy our lovely waiter. Do you realize the food they gave me to……the rest of the letter is missing!!
From GS to JP…Thank you very much for allowing the North East Fungus Study Group to visit the Lartington Estate. About a dozen members arrived and we had a thoroughly enjoyable time until it rained as we approached the railway bridge on our return but we were near our cars. Please thank Philip who I contacted to finalise the arrangements. I will send a list of our finds but it will take a while as microscopes have to be used. Many finds are ‘fly speck’ fungi. For your interest we found Chanterelles under the large beech trees near the …….at the west end of the bridle path. One was the biggest I have ever seen being 4 inches across. Unfortunately the member vultures collected most of them but more should emerge after rain.
From CS to Jp……Je suis chargée des reportages pour l’émission Aux goûts du monde, qui est programmée chaque semaine de septembre à décembre sur TV5 Monde. Cette mission montre les savoir-faire et talents gastronomiques à travers le monde et nous voudrions une petite leçon de cuisine typiquement anglaise (avec trois ou quatre plats ou desserts traditionnels). Nous avons choisi votre établissement parce que le décor est aussi très typiquement anglais. Nous aimerions que quelqu’un nous explique, en français, aux côtés du chef et/ou des serveurs, les ingrédients, la tradition, de quand elles datent, etc.
Ce serait un plaisir d’en profiter pour dire quelques mots de l’histoire du Rules depuis sa création.
Il faut compter environ une heure et demie de tournage, et il n’y a pas besoin de filmer les clients que nous laisserons ainsi en paix. Le jour qui vous conviendra sera le nôtre, et notre journaliste, Axel, est à Londres jusqu’à samedi. Il parle bien anglais et peut également entrer en contact avec vous si vous êtes d’accord sur le principe, il se débrouillera mieux que moi, i’m sorry !
Many thanks, and hopes,
From CS to JP.…. Ce serait merveilleux que cela puisse se faire et j’espère que votre chef voudra bien nous présenter ses trésors, et aussi nous parler de l’Académie culinaire de Londres s’il veut. Je donne votre numéro à Axel qui vous appellera en fin de soirée ou demain, en sorte que vous ayiez eu votre chef entre temps. J’imagine que nous ne verrons pas tous les plats mais quelques uns, ce qui sera le plus simple pour vous. En tout cas, cela met l’eau à la bouche ! C’est le but de notre émission aussi
a très bientôt, je me réjouis…pour TV5 Monde
To RMcm from AWJ…On saturday evening, my wife and I entertained some guests at Rules. As usual the meal was an exhibition of British food at its best. However there are two comments I wish to make.
It is somewhat disconcerting to be served Trifle which could easily masquerade as a slice of some continental gateau. What I was served was pleasant enough to eat and did contain much of what one would expect in a trifle, but it was essentially a slice of cake. A little while ago, there was a television programme with Heston Blumenthal on the search of the perfect Trifle. While I do not hold any brief for all of his culinary experiments, I do believe that on this occasion he got it more or less right-there is not necessarily an absolute trifle.
My other main bone of contention concerns the aperitif. As an aperitif I asked to be served a glass of amontillado sherry. The wiater had to enquire whether this was available and it appears form the subsequent question that were (very politely) asked that no-one at Rules appears to be aware of the existence of this type of sherry-Heaven forbid that any guest should ask for anything interesting such as palo cortado.
From KJ to info@rules… We booked our Anniversary meal with Rules today at 2.15. The service and food were out of this world and I cannot believe the size of the Yorkshire Pudding served with the Beef. Complete satisfaction- my only criticism would be that the toilets were too new and modern and not in keeping with the beautiful ambience of such a lovely restaurant.
From JAN to Info@rules…A regular at your restaurant, I thought this evening that I would browse your website. Your “Guide to Game” seems like a good idea, but it’s such a shame that the English and some spelling is very poor in some areas. Maybe the Grouse page needs reviewing. A fine English restaurant yet it is unable to make proper use of the fine English language. It’s also a disappointment you have no details on my favourite, Widgeon. Visitor’s book comments and mystery diner reports are simply nothing more than a terrible idea. Why are you advertising such information on your website is beyond me. As I have been eating at Rules for nearly sixteen years, it seems demeaning to put these comments on your website. It’s terrible advertising. My strong advice would be to review all of this tripe. Your website is looking very cluttered. Clutter only serves one place in Rules, and that is on the walls. With kind regards, and the hope that these comments will be taken constructively, not critically.
Reply: Many thanks for your email. It is always a pleasure to get such constructive and informed comments. I shall make the necessary corrections to our Guide to Game and am very grateful for making us aware of them and we will add a description for Widgeon. It is a lovely bird and tastes wonderful. The idea for the web site was to tell the story of what we do with as many photographs as possible. Most web sites are just bland marketing and branding tools and are rarely updated. I am sorry you think it is cluttered, we think it is interesting but let me say again how delighted we are to have received your comments. The comments and reports which represent a cross section of peoples’ opinions on Rules are there to reassure anyone thinking of coming that we take every comment seriously and act on it if we are at fault. Producing between 300 and 400 meals a day, every day of the week, 51 weeks of the year means that every now and then things go wrong. Any restaurant that just fills their web site with glowing reports is not being honest, it is impossible to please everyone. As for this being terrible advertising, the pieces by Kingsley Amis written in the 1970’s and Jonathan Meades’ offering in the 1980’s, they are classics and well worth reading. Rules is packed out, day and night. For every unfavourable comment we get 50 that say, as you do, how much they enjoy Rules. Our approach is to show both sides. Only honest and successful restaurants have the courage to do this.
From B to Jm.…I hope you don’t mind me dropping you a line to say how much I appreciated your kindness last week. I can imagine you will now be saying to yourself “what kindness”, but, if you don’t mind me saying so, that is the way you are, unassuming and modest. So often when I drive people they treat me as an extension of the vehicle rather than a person. Thanks for guiding me through North Yorkshire and for the conversation as I drove. You are an interesting man and being willing to put the thoughts of Kingsley Amis on your web site – a unique businessman!
Thanks for making me feel comfortable, welcome and part of the team. Obviously part of your everyday life, to me, the gardens, the estate, even your tractor were fascinating. The glimpse into your world, so freely given, has I’m assured, bored my wife to death this last week.
From SS to Info@rules.co.uk…Last weekend I was visiting London on a course concerning my work. I decided to have a decent meal and Rules was top of the list for me. I was
so very impressed with the service. I was a single diner on a Saturday
evening, hadn’t booked and was dressed quite poorly after a full day of
wandering around London on the tourist route. The staff were fantastically
accommodating and even remembered me from previous visits (I usually dine as
part of a party of two – Mr ML and guest from the same address)
despite having not been in 2 years or so. The food was as good as ever
(loved the jus with the lamb in particular – congrats to the saucier) and
the wine fantastic.
I simply wanted to thank your staff at Rules for making me feel very welcome
and also for their way of dealing with me who so easily could have been
perceived as some scruffy-looking bloke off the street.
Of course, I’ll be back.
From pp to email@example.com Sirs, please accept my congratulations for providing such an enjoyable social experience. My wife Leigh and I were in town last weekend for the London marathon. We had reserved a table (5pm Sat) on the recommendation of a friend, upon arrival at the Hotel we promptly dropped our bags in the room and walked to your restaurant for lunch. The food and service were both excellent, we had however now eaten lunch at 3pm and therefore needed to cancel our 5pm reservation. After reading the small information leaflet available we decided to visit the Cocktail bar upstairs, Michael, George and Sarah were attentive and charming hosts, they cancelled our dinner reservation and re-arranged dinner for the following evening after my run. We enjoyed our time in your establishment so much that I felt I should let you know just how much it was appreciated.
FromTL to RMcm.…When EMI (the successor company to The Gramophone Company) celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1973, it was indeed believed that the very first recording made for the fledgling Gramophone Company by the pioneering recording engineer Fred Gaisberg in the primitive studio at 31 Maiden Lane was Syria Lamonte singing ‘Comin’ thro’ the Rye’. It wasn’t until much later (on the 1990’s I believe) that more research was done on the earliest London recordings, and it has turned out that the very first session was almost certainly on the 8th August 1898, and the Syria Lamonte’s recordings were not made until the very end of August or the first few days of September, and the most likely date for ‘Comin’ thro the Rye’ is now the 2nd September 1898. When EMI celebrated its centenary in 1997, it was a recording by a clarinetist called A.A.Umbach, probably on the 8th August 1898, that was declared to be one of the recordings made at the very first session in maiden Lane. The reason that the Syria Lamonte’s disc was thought to be the first was because of a recollection made by Fred Gaisberg at the age of 76 in 1949 when shown a copy of the recording ‘Comin thro the Rye” He said: ‘I remember Syria Lamonte. She was an entertainer: I suppose she must have served drinks in Rules, the pub (sic) next door to the first recording studio in Maiden lane. She was the first artist I recorded. She had a big voice and that was what we wanted’, When the person interviewing Gaisberg suggested that she had a big voice from having to make it heard above the noise in the bar, Gaisberg replied: “yes, that’s probably right. I know she used to sing for the customers there that’s how I found her”.
From SC to Rules…May I commence by saying that Rules is one of my favourite restaurants and has been for some time. I have always appreciated the no-nonsense English traditional ambience of both cuisine and dining room. However, an experience on Saturday may have obliged me to rethink this opinion.
I was dining with a group of friends and following several delicious courses I ordered mixed cheeses to complete my meal. Force of habit always induces me to lay the side of a finger along a piece of cheese to test its temperature, and to my horror they were all cold. I fully understand the EEC ruling that cheese must be kept in a refrigerator before serving-a piece of legislature more observed in its flouting than obedience in most continental restaurants and the better sort of establishments in the UK. I sent these icy morsels back as tasting them would be pointless under current conditions. They were returned to me by one of your senior waiters (grey hair, dark suit) who told me that your cheese is not refrigerated but kept in a larder which is very cold, but he had found a plateful that had been out of the larder for some time. It looked suspiciously like the one I returned except for a glistening, glazed appearance of a piece of Stinking Bishop which was strangely flaccid, and distinctly warm-as was a piece of goats cheese next to it which was now somewhat gooey. They, if not the whole plate which was also suspiciously warm underneath yet cool on the rim, must have been micro-waved! Having performed this short burst irradiation myself in moments of madness I knew what i was seeing and feeling, and challenged your member of staff. He informed me that it had not been warmed through but that Stinking Bishop and indeed goats cheese become “soft and slimey” when left out of a refrigerator and that is why these cheeses appeared in that state-he had forgotten his earlier declaration that Rules does not keep its cheese in a refrigerator. I held that it had indeed been warmed through and did not wish to eat it. He protested it had not been treated in this manner, but a sideways glance between two of the attendant waiters was a tell-tale confirmation. The offending plate was removed and did not appear on the bill.
However, the disappointment remains. Not only was I denied the perfect end to an otherwise delightful meal but I feel I was fobbed off by somebody who should know better.
In the interest of Rules retaining its place among the upper echelons of dining rooms may I suggest that you adopt the trolleyed cheeseboard, a standard in so many good restaurants in Britain and in virtually every restaurant in France? For perfect understanding as to how it should operate may I suggest you despatch your errant senior member of staff to observe the personable young female cheese-waiter working her board at The Bath priory. I know it is a Michelin two-star establishment but I have always, until now, believed Rules capable of such greatness.
From A.B. to Rules…Dear Sirs. A friend and I came for lunch. We have been before quite a few times over the years and thoroughly enjoyed it. We were seated next to a table of three men after awhile the man nearest to me got out his laptop and turned it on. He then explained to his companions what he was showing them. I found this very rude and out of place. We decided not to stay for dessert or coffee and as i got up to leave the man with the laptop said he hoped we were not offended by the computer. I said I had come to have lunch in a restaurant, he then said it was progress. We feel this is not progress and I have spoken to lots of people who agree with us. Your restaurant has a lot of history and I am sure you do not want to be known as an internet cafe.
From JRC to Rules….Rules is a restaurant that I have always wished to visit and I am pleased to inform you that through the unique glamour of the Graham Greene Room, both my guests’ expectations and mine were certainly exceeded. The food was exquisite, the Lobster Cocktail was delicious, the Beef Wellington melted in the mouth and the Summer Pudding was a beautifully apt end to such an evening. Thank you also for the tremendous service that was commented upon very highly, Gomma and the team were just terrific, and I would be very grateful if our thanks could be passed onto them also. I believe we truly captured the essence of Rules at its best, as a London Institution, crammed full of history and life. It will be an evening that I will never forget – a fantastic way to celebrate my 18th Birthday.
From Van L to RR. To begin with we would like to compliment your beautiful restaurant and excellent staff. On friday 3rd September we had the pleasure of a dinner reservation at Rules. From the moment we entered we were captivated by the lovely interior and friendly professional staff. Unfortunately we were not able to continue our meal past the frist course as i became suddenly unwell. Our English friends told us that you were very understanding and ensured that we had no extra stress. I would also like to thank you for the complimentary first course and wine – we are grateful that you settled the outstanding check to minimise the stress following my need to step outside of the restaurant. We were so touched by your service and care that we wanted to write and express our thanks. So, thank you for all the help and kidness, we will certainly return to finish our lovely dinner at Rules next time we visit the UK. Kindest regards from the Netherlands.
From PQ to R McMenemy....People are always very keen to complain but perhaps less so to congratulate and offer praise. Last saturday I ate at Rules along with my son, daughter and ex-wife and her husband to celebrate my son’s 40th birthday. I really must let you know how delighted we were with every aspect of the evening.
We were welcomed in such a friendly manner and ushered to the upstairs bar until our table was ready. Our food and wine were, I would say, of exceptionally high quality and beautifully cooked and presented. Our waiter, Szaby, was thoroughly professional, being helpful and attentive without being intrusive, throughout our meal.
I have dined at Rules before (I used to live in London) but none of the others had. They were as charmed as I by the ambience of such a wonderfully historic restaurant over which so much care has evidently been taken as to its preservation and maintenance.
I should be pleased for you to share the contents of this with your staff, should you wish, as a way of thanking them for their contributions to a truly memorable evening. It was much appreciated.
PTS to Rules…I have many happy memories of eating Jugged Hare at Rules when I was younger. It was the best Jugged Hare served anywhere. Do you still serve Jugged Hare during the season to your traditional recipe? If so is it available every day or only on certain days? If only on certain days how do I find out when it is available? It has always been one of my favourite dishes and I would very much like to have the opportunity to experience it again at Rules. It is virtually impossible to find at any other restaurant. I look forward to hearing from you.
RFB to RM…I recently wrote to you complaining of the poor service I had received while dining at Rules. Firstly can I thank you for your prompt reply and secondly say I am now a little embarrassed by your generosity. It was never my intention to seek financial redress my only thought was to bring to your attention my problem in the hope that Rules would return to the restaurant I have known for many years. From the manner in which you have dealt with my complaint it is clear that Rules is in safe hands. Thank you once again for your generosity and I am sure that I will be dining with you again in the not too distant future.
RS to RM….Just a big thank you and your team. I visited Rules for the first time ever with my wife Sally. My company has been working in the Hospitality industry (working back of house) for 33 years and I thought I had seen and experienced everything new but blow me down the oldest is the best on all counts. The service – Bayram our waiter was (for us) outstanding and looked like he was genuinely enjoying his work. The Hygiene – the toilets were spotless and so I bet is the kitchen. The Food – our traditional Sunday lunch was cooked to perfection and so very tasty. Great to read about the provenance of the beef, superb communication. The place speak for itself, splendiferous. Young men like Bayram are excellent role models for young students who can’t quite see the ‘career-light’ at the end of the tunnel. I would like to ask your permission to approach Bayram to see if he would make a guest role play appearance and give students valuable feedback on their performance. The time involvement would be no more than 2-3 hours a month and we would be happy to pay his expenses. Again many thanks for such a great time on Sunday, I’m now a fan. Rules, Rules OK
JNF to Rules…Hello, my husband and I fell in love in London the same day that we had dinner at Rules. I would love to have something from Rules to mark that time. I will of course, pay whatever is requested.
PC to SVDW…We have already enjoyed what was a sensational lunch at Rules (some 4 hours). I must make special mention of our waiter, a young man whose name escapes me, but originally from Cyprus. His attention to detail and the information he supplied relative to the food and wine on offer was outstanding. One of my fellow diners told me that it was the best waiter service he had ever encountered and I can certainly endorse that. The food, wine and service was faultless. A memorable experience which we will repeat on a future return visit to London. Thank you so much for what is to date the highlight of our trip (and that includes the Oriental in Bangkok which is World rated). Faultless display of what good British food and service is all about
Walking Haunted London…A modest, ghostly prankster haunting the ladies’ toilet adds to the ambience. Often a certain cubicle door has been known to slam shut and the toilet heard to flush, despite the fact that there is never anybody there
From WS to Rules: I recently had the very great pleasure to dine in your establishment. I chose Venison as my entree, expecting the flavourful but somewhat chewy meat as I had come to expect from previous experience, mostly at the table of my father-in-law, an avid hunter in Iowa.
Cocooning Magazine: Noel a Londres Gatronomie Britannique
Ouvert en 1798, le plus vieux restaurant de Londres est une reference pour qui veut decouvrir la gastronomie britannique. Au menu, des huitres, des pudding mais aussi une excellente selle d’agneau rotie au romarin et carottes. Comptez 45 euros le repas.
From RB to P/Dining: I wanted to drop you a note of thanks for our private dining experience last Monday 9th January, 2012. I was hosting a client evening with guests from the USA, and chose Rules to represent the best in traditional British cuisine and you and your team did not let me down.
The evening and private room was extremely well organised, the food of excellent quality and the service exceptional! Many thanks to you and your team. I have within KPMG discussed the excellent dining experience with fellow partners and would not hesitate to recommend Rules as a venue for such an event.
From Professor GD to Rules: I wonder if you could pass the sentiments in my letter in the direction of the owner, please. On Monday I rang to make a lunch booking for a Sunday in May for a friend who will be 40 on that day. I was politely told that the restaurant will not accept bookings for parties of more than 6. We will be 9. I am bound to say that this came as a surprise to me, as I had celebrated my 50th at Rules with a party also of 9 people, and were treated wonderfully. I was offered an alternative of a private room. The disappointment has been acute. I have been dining at Rules for nearly 40 years and I love going back. But the person whose birthday we shall be celebrating not only, like me, regards Rules as her favourite restaurant, but it is also her father’s, her grandfather’s, and was her great grandfather’s. Sadly, this person has MS-she is still mobile- and her life is not getting easier at all. To have reached 40, therefore, and to celebrate it at Rules, has meant more to her than perhaps you might imagine.
You cannot change your rules for us, but I think, as a long-standing diner, I have to say that I am so disappointed that things have come to this. I particularily like Rules, not just for its inimitable room and its delicious food, but for the calm atmosphere that the staff create. I am very sad that, by implication, the owner has had to impose this rule presumably as a reaction to the staff being unable to cope with some raucous diners? As an old customer of Rules, I am just very upset that things have changed so much. I have seen many changes over the years, but never expected that a group of middle-aged, boringly respectable companions would be seen as a problem.
From TA:..A great deal has been written about Rules, most of it good, some of it very uncomplimentary indeed so here’s some context. Rules is a classic top range English restaurant whose style is rooted firmly in Edwardian England and respects quite old fashioned English values. The menu is dominated by meat and game and the wine list is predominantly French. It’s expensive, the meal I am about to describe cost £250 for two and about £100 of that went on alcohol, it was worth every penny! The food is superb, the service is attentive, skilled and knowledgable. During the tourist season (most of the year) there are large numbers of foreign visitors there, all of them have come because they have heard of Rules reputation, some of them would be much happier eating in McDonalds. That may sound snobbish but there is absolutely no point in eating in a restaurant like this unless you actually want what Rules has to offer, this is not haute cuisine, or modern cuisine or nouvelle cuisine, Gordon Ramsey wouldn’t cook this way and neither would any multi starred French Chef, molecular gastronomy is unknown here, this is English cooking at it’s glorious best, served in a way which makes you feel as though you are the most important person there. Booking is essential and the restaurant (which is old) can get very crowded on a busy night. We went on a Monday and it was fine.
The Rules experience begins in the street. The Restaurant is slightly off the main drag in a slightly dingy street but the situation changes the minute you are ushered through the door by the uniformed doorman and into the ground floor restaurant which looks for all the world like the dining room of one of the classic English stately homes. You immediately feel in good hands as you are escorted to your table. The waiter will let you settle for a couple of minutes before coming for a drinks order. From that point nothing will be too much trouble for that waiter who has learned the very basic and very useful skill of actually keeping an eye on his customers. Wine will be poured for you throughout the meal, food will be served neatly and any explanation of the dish given. The waiter will encourage, entertain and in general attempt to spoil you. It is this standard of service as well as the food and the wine that you are paying all that money for.
The Rules menu is available on the web, We started with potted shrimp and roast wild rabbit on toast with forest mushrooms. The shrimp was a generous portion with less butter than is usually the case, very tasty, very traditional. The rabbit was a delight with a mixture of white meat, shredded dark meat and mixture of different wild mushrooms cooked in butter. Add a spot of salad and some bread and it would have been an adequate lunch on it’s own. We washed that down with a bottle of Macon Village, a nice crisp round white burgundy. Moving on my wife chose Halibut served with Samphire. This was a piece of beautifully cooked halibut resting on a decent sized bed of Samphire tops. Personally I prefer the whole Samphire, on its own with butter and pepper but my wife was very happy with her main. I chose the loin of Red Deer served with beetroot and hazelnuts. I asked for this rare and rare is was with a slight crispness round the edges. The meat was superb and very tender. The beetroot came both as pieces and in a puree with roasted hazelnuts. The baby ruby chard which also came with it was slightly lost in the sauce. We had a single serving of minted potatoes and creamed spinach between us which was more than enough. My wife stayed with the Macon and I moved onto Domain Rossignol Fevrier 09, a red burgundy to honour the venison and a very pleasant wine indeed. We finished with some English cheese and a carpaccio of Pineapple with a lime and coconut sorbet. Both excellent although my wife had expected the pineapple to be grilled. We lingered over coffee (and liqueurs!) watching the world around us, a group of Italians at the next table swapping dishes around so that everybody tried everything, a group of Americans looking slightly daunted by steak and kidney pudding (which smelt so good we were tempted to start again). All together this was a very special meal, I will go there again, and I will expect to spend a lot of money and I know that I will enjoy every moment and every mouthful.around so that everybody tried everything, a group of Americans looking slightly daunted by steak and kidney pudding (which smelt so good we were tempted to start again). All together this was a very special meal, I will go there again, and I will expect to spend a lot of money and I know that I will enjoy every moment and every mouthful.
I have been commissioned by Sky Atlantic to make a new 10-part centered around the vibrant and beautiful fishing town of Brixham which has a global reputation for the best quality fish and so we are interested in filming a sequence where we follow a fish being auctioned at the market in Brixham all the way to a plate. Traceability is very important with modern customers and so seeing this process would be a great way to illustrate how fresh fish from Brixham makes it to some of the best eateries in the UK.
We hoping to film a sequence of Brixham’s fish being landed, bought, graded, processed with the buyer, sold to the customer and then delivered to a top London restaurant. Then we would like to see the fish being cooked by a top chef, served and eaten by a customer. I have been in touch with Murrays Fresh Fish who supply your restaurant with Brixham fish and I was enquiring to whether we would be able to film a sequence of the fish being at cooked and served at Rules. Your restaurant has a long and distinguished reputation and will demonstrate to the viewer how fresh Brixham fish makes its way to one of the top restaurants in the capital.We want this story to be as positive as possible in order to show Brixham as one of the finest fisheries in the world. One of our beam trawlers we are filming with is landing its catch this weekend and so we were hoping to see its fish being auctioned on Monday the 6th of June.
From Dr RGC to R McM 5th June…On saturday I was the very lucky beneficiary, to celebrate my imminent birthday, of luncheon in your John Betjeman private dining room, generously arranged by my son. The occasion was one of the most splendid that I and my wife have had the pleasure and honour to enjoy. Rules has for many years been a very special place for us, the scene of exquisite and convivial lunches. This one represented the very pinnacle, on all counts. Needless to say, the cooking of our menu and the accompanying wines were of the very highest order. But people matter very much. I should like to offer my sincere and joyful thanks to you, Philip, Gomma and Kaci who looked after us with quintessential professionalism – attentive but never intrusive, relaxed and yet always vigilant, knowledgeable service at its very best; he, with all the team, ensured that my delight and pleasure at Rules that day could not have been bettered. I can say with the greatest confidence, God willing, that we shall return.
From Dr JR to R McM 10th June…..What a magnificent spot! I only regret that it has taken me so long to discover Rules-but look forward to dining there again on my next trip to London. I am an American living in Holland, and took friends there to dine a week or so ago…also, I brought 9for two lunches) my husband, who is wild for the suet pudding.
The service was a bit variable-I only mention this because Rules is a gold standard spot….on one evening, when dining with two women friends, we found it very difficult to gain anyone’s attention (resorting to wild gesticulation, to flag down a waiter and order more drinks). Most disappointing, there was grit in the spinach (which came along with poussin, otherwise perfectly cooked) and the waiter did not apologise for this.
In contrast to this, Karoly (I asked him to please spell his name for me, so that I could write this to you) was superb. He is the only waiter I have seen who actually placed a clean napkin over the tablecloth, to cover one (drop!) of red wine! The house wines (I tried both red and white) were glorious. The grappa was some of the best I’ve tasted. (In addition, the waiters in the cocktail bar were excellent.)
Special thanks to the doormen-I met two different ones- who were impeccably polite, and added a huge amount to the atmosphere. Thank you so much for keeping it all running! 1798 is a very impressive heritage.
From RC to PR@rules 5th June…I should like to extend my enormous gratitude to you and your staff, especially Gomma and particularly Kaci who looked after us so well on our excellent day with you. My dad was overwhelmed with the surprise as were the other attending guests. The room, your attention to detail, the menus, wine lists, appropriate decanting, excellent non-intrusive but attentive service and the wondrous food were just perfect for the occasion. We have all made the agreement that this should become an annual event irrespective of birthdays, such was the enjoyment of the event. We have been lucky enough to eat at many great restaurants in our time, often with Michelin stars aplenty, but for us Rules remains at the pinnacle of the complete dining experience: you possess a certain magic that others simply cannot conjure. We love you.