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Lover: Rules Restaurant - the most Christmassy place in the world

I first found Rules - aka the most Christmassy place in the world - when I was 18. My old school friends and I were treating ourselves to a pre-ice- skating burger at GBK in Covent Garden and were drawn to Rules restaurant across the road, like a Father Christmas to his ninth mince pie. The window looked like all my Christmas dreams had thrown up on it (in a great way): fir and baubles and fairy lights lined the massive windows which were decorated with huge wreaths in the middle. Little Christmas trees stood by the entrance which was guarded by a man wearing a flippin top hat, which I realise isn't technically Christmassy, but made you feel a little more like you had just stumbled into A Christmas Carol, but for real.

We hopped over, and asked whether there was anywhere we could get a drink. The restaurant was teeming, a meal was a significant proportion of our student loans, and we were full of our "satay beef" burgers, but the lovely topped hat man led us up the stairs, to a little bar, where we took a seat next to a roaring fire, and took in the massive whif of fir. A man in a bow tie asked us what we wanted to drink, and we ordered one bottle of wine between the 8 of us (it isn't that ridonculousy expensive, but we were poor students who were used to paying £1.40 for a snakebite, oh those were the days).

Ever since, I've gone back to Rules every year, sometimes more than once, visiting the bar for a cocktail or two (now I am a London girl used to paying a tenner plus for a nice drink). The last couple of years, I've got myself into gear and booked in September to eat there, and except for the small incident I had where the oysters made me throw up in the church toilets during the carol service the next day, it has been totally magical. (Nb. that is not really Rules' fault, apparently the chance of you getting sick from raw oysters is 1 in 12, either way it was totally bloody worth it). Even with no booking whatsoever you can go down any time for a drink in their wonderful bar.

Anyhoo, enough of the waffling behold the beauty which is Rules restaurant at Christmas for yourself:

Apparently it takes 2 days to decorate Rules restaurant - people come in overnight on 2 occasions and transform the restaurant into a winter wonderland

The food at Rules is quite classic, and a lot of the menu is game. You could argue it is a little dated, but I think the food matches the atmosphere well. Will and I shared a rib of beef with yorkshire pudding, dauphinoise potatoes, shallots and spinach.

And for pudding, Bakewell tart with clotted cream, and tarte tatin.

This very very strong cocktail is called the Kate Middleton!

Before or after your meal, or just if you fancy you can come and relax in this bar upstairs.

Rules is London's oldest restaurant. Established in 1798 it has welcomed many a famous face since then: Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chapman, Henry Irving and even the king of London Christmases himself - Charles Dickens. You might spot it on Downton Abbey, and it has also been mentioned in a number of novels including ones by Graham Greene and Dick Francis, so it really is a treat to dine or have a drink in a little piece of London history.

It will be tricky to get a night to dine in Rules before Christmas now, but you can swing by for a drink in their lovely bar with it's roaring fire and delicious cocktails and other tipples. Check out their website, here.

So how much will it cost you for a night at Rules?

(Unless you do what I did and have one too many Kate Middletons and think it is a good idea to order an uber limo home... then it will cost you more.)

Like dining somewhere interesting and special, and don't mind biding your time? Check out my post: Lover: Butler's Wharf Blackout Dinner

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