Hastings Battleaxe overdoes it at Rules

Last week Battleaxe and Philosopher went to lunch at Rules. Did I eat too much? Yes. Did I drink too much? Yes. Did I regret it? Yes. Is this a sign of getting older? Sigh, probably. Oh – and how to get Tom Kelly’s new CD…

An old friend from Birmingham wanted to treat us to lunch in London. He chose to go to Rules, the oldest-established – and one of the most famous – restaurants in town. We have actually been there with him before, a few years ago – see this post from 2015 – blimey, was it that long ago?
I expected the restaurant to be full of rich Americans and Japanese/Korean tourists, but looking round, our fellow diners seemed to be much the same people Rules has probably always catered for – upper-class elderly white English people. The most interesting diner I spotted was a man in a gold lame suit who looked like an aged rock star – unfortunately Battleaxe couldn’t find him to take his pic and ask him who he was.
How come Battleaxe is sitting underneath all that Thatcher stuff!

I’m surprised they don’t have  a resident paramedic on the premises for patrons who collapse with heart attacks while overdosing on claret and steak and kidney pudding.
But I know from experience how much those people can eat. Reminds me of when I lived in Stroud back in the 70s, with the first Mr Battleaxe. I had an evening job working in an extremely high-end and exclusive country house restaurant just up the road from us. The sort of place where you can’t just walk in. You rang the doorbell to be admitted. Think the Princess Anne set from Gatcombe Park. Three-day eventing, Cirencester, polo….  Jilly Cooper… (She lived in Stroud). Us waitresses, who were all pretty posh ourselves, wore long Laura Ashley print dresses with long white linen aprons over the top, straps criss-crossed at the back and tied with a big bow. You get the picture. Mine host, who did nothing except serve pre-dinner drinks and stroll round the restaurant, was known for his rudeness. The ruder he was, the more the guests lapped it up. And my goodness, they could eat. Of course, it was a full silver service job – yes, Battleaxe  knows how to do all that too – is there no end to the woman’s talents? Being the 70s, some of it was a bit faux-rustic/Habitat chic, and I’ll never forget hovering at the tables, struggling to hold a hot, very heavy, earthenware casserole dish full of some stodgy gunk like potato and barley casserole in one hand while ladling it onto their plates with the other. ‘Just a little more, please dear…’.  Anyway, I might reveal all about our truly appalling standards of hygiene in the kitchen, but not today.  Those customers must have had cast-iron stomachs.
Well, I guess it was the same people, now much older, eating at Rules. It’s best known for its old-fashioned English food – think beef, game, hefty puddings…
Anyway, we three shared a bottle of champagne and a nice bottle of something red. Battleaxe scarfed her way through oysters, a rich venison casserole with chestnuts, roast quince, mashed celeriac, red cabbage and green beans, followed by alcoholic fruit crumble and custard. Philosopher had potted shrimps, steak and kidney pie and treacle sponge! Did I photograph the food? Of course not, far too vulgar.
Oh goodness, felt terrible all the way back on the train, all evening and most of the night. Vowed never to eat or drink again, ever. Sadly, that didn’t last long.
Just one quick change of subject before I go. Last Sunday we went down to the Jenny Lind in the Old Town. Our friend Tom Kelly was singing. He has just released a CD, ‘Songs of Social Significance’. Philosopher took the cover photo. Anyway, a very good attendance – deservedly so, Tom has such a good voice. Here it is, and how to get hold of it… You can get a download as well as the physical product. If you want a real CD, ask me. Of course, it won’t be signed by the Great Artiste…

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