By Esin Huseyin
So you’ve all probably read at least one of our reviews of restaurants, and I thought why not incorporate that in to this feature this week. If any of you are like me, than during the colder months I tend to socialise in restaurants more than clubs – that and the fact that I can’t hack hangovers anymore…
This week we bring you some of the oldest restaurants, expect some beautiful historical stories, and some eccentric food.
No list would be complete, or mildly accurate, without this synonymous restaurant in it. Rules is London’s oldest restaurant, and everybody and their mum will tell you so. This restaurant was founded in 1798, and has been owned by three different families; not much has changed mind you, it was established with the idea of serving oysters, traditional British cuisine, and classic game cookery – and is still renowned for this. Rules is literally a living piece of history that you’re greeted with from the front door; explore everything from the two different entrances, and the walls smothered in drawings, paintings, and cartoons.
If the name doesn’t give it away, this restaurant is located within The Strand Hotel, and was originally established in 1828 as a chess club and coffee house. I’ve actually dined here myself, and it’s safe to say that the decor and interior is incredibly traditional, and still nods to their roots of representing the finest British cuisine in London. They’re renowned for their roasts, and actually wheel the joints of meat to your table; this was originally done, as not to disturb the chess players.
This place was established in 1742, so by my calculations, this would technically be the oldest, right? Wrong. Wiltons was originally a stall that sold oysters, shrimps, and cockles at the Haymarket; it wasn’t until 1805, that they settled at a residence. but they did move around several times until they settled at Jermyn Street in 1948 – you could say that this place was the original pop-up, but this British Classic is hopefully there to stay.
Another similar place that was only “technically” founded in 1957, because it moved to their current site; similar to Wiltons, Simpsons Tavern did move around quite a bit, and was first opened in 1723, in Billingsgate. But for me, the most notable piece of history, is that women weren’t admitted in to this place until 1916 – woah.
Gordon’s Wine Bar
Now I know that technically this is cheating, but they’re renowned for their cheese boards, and the cheese lover that I am couldn’t turn down throwing this in to the list. It’s thought to be the oldest wine bar in London, and was established in 1890; and the walls are absolutely covered with newspaper clippings through the years. This place is a little bit kooky with it’s candlelit cellar, but it makes for a great night out, or ice breaker.
Has anyone been to any of these before? Do you think that there should have been any others on this list? Let me know in the comments below.