The Cocktail Bar at Rules has been around for ever – at more than 200 years of age, it’s London’s oldest restaurant – but many of even the keenest restaurant-goers have a tendency to dismiss it as being ‘just for tourists’. What they don’t know is that the food is every bit as impressive as the history-steeped rooms, with produce and game coming from the restaurant’s own estates. How many other restaurants can boast that?
What’s also not well-known is that upstairs there’s a most excellent cocktail bar, run by silver-haired mixmeister Brian Silva. And now it has started serving lunch. But not any old sarnie or pasta; the menu features wonderfully evocative dishes such as little quail Scotch eggs, the outer marvellously crisp, the yolk still liquid, the sausage herby and tasting of quality pork. Or gull’s eggs, an extraordinarily rich and creamy rarity. Or ‘luxury’ pies, fish or game. Eating a spankingly fresh mound of sweet Dorset crab salad, enhanced by the subtle tang of pennywort (they’re on that foraged trend), at a crisply linened table with a bottle of fragrant, chilled Riesling must be one of London’s most particular pleasures.
This is my go-to bar when I want a civilised, sophisticated bolt-hole in the centre of town. Remind me again why I’ve given away the secret?