Christmas Pudding at Rules
Rules - British Dining HistoryAny London Christmas shopping trip is incomplete without a visit to Rules, London oldest restaurant. Rules serves traditional British food, and quite simply the best steak and kidney pudding (steamed with oyster) to be found anywhere. The restaurant is a hub for lovers of game, much of it supplied by its own estate at Lartington in the High Pennines. The estate and restaurant act as stewards and guardians of traditional British produce and dishes — like pigs cheeks, shoulder of hare, braised pheasant — that are just not seen enough in British restaurants. Rules is rightly referred to as a heritage restaurant, part of the soft culture of Britain that can die away far more quickly than a building, and is harder to preserve.
Rules takes care to select their meat carefully, choosing breeds for flavour and provenance, and low-intensity farmers who value traditional husbandry over agro-chemical shortcuts. Slow food, basically.
Belted Galloway beef was recently introduced to the menu at Rules. The beef is supplied exclusively to Rules from Paul Coppen's herd in Gilmonby in the Pennines. Paul's herd has made a positive impact on the survival of this rare, indigenous breed. Belted Galloways are slow to mature and their beef is renowned for its excellent flavour.
If you reserve time at Rules to take a break from the Christmas madness, do try one their house cocktails. Kate Middleton's 'Royal 29' is a rather butch-sounding mix of No.3 Gin, Pinky Vodka, Lillet and crystallised violet petals; A Kiss for Lillie is a thirst-quenching blend of King's Ginger, Cocchi Americano and champagne.
Personally, I am perfectly content with the draught Guinness served in silver tankards.