In the year Napoleon opened his campaign in Egypt, Thomas Rule promised his despairing family that he would say goodbye to his wayward past and settle down. No sooner said than he opened an oyster bar in Convent Garden. To the surprise and disbelief of his family, his enterprise proved to be not only successful but lasting.
Rules still flourishes, the oldest restaurant in London and one of the most celebrated in the world.
Rules serves the traditional food of this country at its best – and at affordable prices. It specialises in classic game cookery, oysters, pies and puddings.
Throughout its long history the tables of Rules have been crowded with writers, artists, lawyers, journalists and actors. As well as being frequented by great literary talents – including Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, John Galsworthy and H G Wells – Rules has also appeared in novels by Rosamond Lehmann, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, John Le Carré, Dick Francis, Penelope Lively and Claire Rayner.
The past lives on at Rules and can be seen on the walls all around you – captured in literally hundreds of drawings, paintings and cartoons. The late John Betjeman, then Poet Laureate, described the ground floor interior as “unique and irreplaceable, and part of literary and theatrical London”.