Wednesday, November 3, 2010


England, Part I: A recent vacation saw us visiting London's oldest restaurant, established in 1798. It still seems to be a firm favorite among domestic diners and foreign fans after 212 years.

Rules specializes in "game cookery," with an intriguing range of meat sourced from the Lartington countryside estate in northern England.

Cropwell Bishop Blue Stilton cheese. An award-winning variety, produced at a family-run British creamery. Dense and flavor-packed; a far cry from mass-market cheeses.

Roast gray partridge on toast with chanterelles. After years of listening to Christmas choruses about "a partridge in a pear tree," we finally managed to munch on this gamebird. Fairly strong-tasting flesh, but with a texture similar to chicken (fowl is fowl, ultimately).

New season grouse. Note how the legs remain feathery at the tip (!). Only available between August and December each year during the permitted hunting period. Not the chunkiest or most tender of birds, but gorgeously aromatic. Served pink (nearly medium-rare), with game chips (thin, crisp chips that are traditionally eaten with roast gamebirds).

Rabbit curry. Thick. hearty and mildly spicy; I can't remember ever having had rabbit cooked in curry before, but it works as well as any other meat.

Highland roe deer with curly kale & ceps. Offers a firmer bite than regular venison; could certainly be mistaken for beef (that's meant to be a compliment, really).

Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough & Buckshot Bullshot (a bizarre, Bloody Mary-like cocktail featuring beef consomme, Ketel One vodka, tomato juice, spices & a celery stick).

Rules 98 (Brut champagne, Tanqueray gin, pear liquor, poire william) & The Grouse (Famous Grouse Scotch whisky, The King's Ginger liquor, bitters).

Will Rules outlive us all and survive another two centuries? Future generations might be grateful if it does; service is sparkling and the sense of classic tradition here is superb.

Maiden Lane, London.
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  1. This is a man's feast! So much of meat!

  2. woo...u starting ur overseas food adventures? looking fwd to more!

  3. Oh me, oh my. That's a lot of meat and fowl, gamey and otherwise. An auspicious start to your Eat Drink Europe series (finally)!

    P.S. Why is it called "Rules", as in the "rules of the game"? :P

  4. Beef consomme in a cocktail? Did it taste weird?

  5. michelle: or perhaps a feast for a tiger! :D but yeah, more for muscular appetites, heheh
    joe: yeps, am hoping to have at least one or two overseas entries every week, for the next several months :D
    lfb: one european outlet down, about 50 more to go! expect to see everything from a spanish flamenco restaurant to an amsterdam cocktail museum =)
    p.s. i might have thought that too, but the reason is much more prosaic. the restaurant was founded by a guy named thomas rule (and that's his only claim to fame!)
    baby sumo: it did taste weird, but tasty at the same time! imagine a tomatoish soup with thin slices of beef, and with a dash of vodka :D
    qwazymonkey: naah, they have salads available, but we only had eyes for the meat :D

  6. Two HUNDRED and twelve years??? OMG. That's incredible....

  7. 212 years!
    Heck, most outlets in KL doesnt last more than .. er..r i dunno..2 mths?
    Hw long is Yut Kee anyways..

    But i must say, you're one epicurean that has tasted almost everything!
    Except human meat..that is.. ;)

  8. j: ya, and also amazingly, the ownership of this restaurant has only changed hands through three families in all that time! :D
    tng: yut kee has been around since 1928! it should be able to hit the one-century mark in just 18 years :D heheh, i'm now also looking for leeches, but haven't found any restaurant serving that...

  9. so do they have any rules on dining there? *wink

  10. eiling: rules? only one: make reservations in advance, cos it does get packed during peak dinner hours! we missed our initial reservation slot and had to come back much later at night to get a table :D

  11. FIFTY more restaurants? Oh me oh my. How did you find any time for any of the wonderful European sights when you were there, if you were so busy restaurant-hopping?

    P.S. Ceh.

  12. lfb: we fit in all the tourist activities and day-trips too! but that explains why we were exhausted by the end of the holiday. on the move from 8am to midnight most days!
    p.s. you could open a restaurant too and call it "Mahs." and if it's still around in 200 years, people might come up with all sorts of theories for the name's origin :D

  13. 8am to 12am? That's quite par the course lah for a touring holiday vs. a relaxation vacation where all one wants to do is laze around and drink cocktails.

    P.S. Why "Mahs"? Who is the other Mah?

  14. lfb: that's the trouble when there are too many fascinating streets and sights to explore! maybe i'll need to visit tuaran for a relaxation vacation (oops, unless the kopitiam there doesn't do cocktails, not even at night).
    p.s. ermm, well, rules is called rules even though its founder was merely thomas rule. so in the same vein... :D

  15. Well, one doesn't always need cocktails for relaxation... then again, this is you we're talking about. Eeks.

    P.S. But maybe he had a Mrs. Rules also ma.

  16. Me oh MY!! You brought your humongous appetite along to Europe :P that kind of feast is fit for a KING! LOL!!!

  17. lfb: yeah, a nite without alcoholic gratification for me is like a nite without, ermmm, carnal pleasure for you :P
    p.s. he'd just keep her in the kitchen and not have to acknowledge her. this was 1798 after all :D
    leo: heheh, get used to it, cos this is just the beginning! no wonder i gained weight on vacation, despite walking a lot! :D

  18. Hey, I'll have you know I do have nights without carnal pleasures! Not many, but I'm pretty sure there are some nights I had to go without. *sniff, sniff*

    P.S. 1798. That's like ancient history, man. Bet they didn't have iPods back then. :P

  19. It's wonderful to see quaint and historical restaurants still doing well. Thanks for this post. Rules comes across as a well-rounded dining experience.

  20. lfb: bluff wan! i can visualize u sneaking out at lunchtime for a booty call! :P
    p.s. hello. if u wanted to travel from the malayan peninsula to budapest in 1798, u'd probably take 6 months (and u might die of diarrhea on the ship) :D
    feed me: oh yeah, i wish we had something similar in our country, but we don't ... not really, anyway. thanks for your feedback; there'll be more of these places that i'll be writing about in the months ahead =)

  21. Lunchtime booty call? How can, when my better half is also stuck at work... :P

    P.S. Bet that 6 month trip would have been easier with a working iPod. :P

  22. lfb: dua-dua take long lunch la. actually no need long lunch even. setengah jam cukup :P
    p.s. but the ipod battery wouldn't last six months! :D

  23. "setengah jam cukup."

    Not with us, it's not. Muahahaha...

    P.S. Buy six months worth of iPods lor. Easy solution.

  24. lfb: just skip the prelude and get to the good part :P
    p.s. i don't think the east india trading company was selling apple products just then :D

  25. But the prelude is essential to the good part. A bad prelude is a premonition for poorer performance past that pathetic prologue... :P

    P.S. No wonder the East India Trading Company went belly up in the end. They oughta have invested in apples, not silly spice. :P

  26. Lfb: pristine peckers perform perfectly without the pursuit of puckering up :P
    P.s. The east India company is still alive and well lah! Don't they have spiffy outlets at mid valley and klcc selling slick slacks? :D

  27. Pristine? Sure or not? Or simply unused for a long time... :P

    P.S. That is not the Trading Company lah, just a local apparel using the same (sorta) moniker. Consider it "inspired by" the original...

  28. Lfb: overly frequent use may indeed result in wear and tear. U have been duly warned :p
    P.s. Oh THAT trading company! It went belly up because of a rebellion in India, not bcos spices went out of fashion!