Diary: Let's do Lunch - Rules Restaurant

Reviewed by Lesley Scott, managing director, hsd communications

Located just off The Strand, Rules claims to be London's oldest restaurant and dates from the 18th Century. But the restaurant doesn't stand up too badly for a 21st Century client lunch.

Dancing around the tightly packed tables to reach the loo up a steep flight of stairs, and the high level of background noise and conversation from other tables can be a pain, but you can have a good relationship-building lunch in Rules's convivial atmosphere.

The painting of hunting scenes and stuffed fish covering every inch of the restaurant's walls are not to my taste, but they are the ideal backdrop for the traditional game, fish and fowl and comfort food which the menu offers. But if you can't face red meat after staring at the animal paintings, opt for smoked salmon and Dover sole, which is well presented if a little dull.

Another hearty Rules combination is soup of the day and a plate full of medium rare roast beef with a huge Yorkshire pudding. There is also a delicious bread and butter pudding and creme caramel on the desert menu.

Rules's service is polite, efficient and not too intrusive. If you have a healthy appetite for traditional British food and don't need too much privacy for a delicate business conversation, it certainly makes a change for lunch.

Where: 35 Maiden Lane, London, WC2

Contact: 020 7836 5314

How much: £40 a head

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