James Bond food Rules Restaurant

Lunch at Rules

A trip to London recently to attend the final concert of Q the Music – which was, incidentally, a stunning evening of fabulous versions of the Bond themes and film score cues – gave me the opportunity to have a spot of lunch at Rules Restaurant in Covent Garden. The establishment is London’s oldest restaurant and, crucially for Bond fans, features in the film Spectre (2015)

In the film, M (Ralph Fiennes) is seen having supper at Rules when Moneypenny (Naomi Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) come in with some important information about Franz Oberhauser. The script has M dine at a small, discrete Italian restaurant, but I’m glad the film-makers found Rules; lunching there was an unforgetable Bondian experience.

Though I booked in advance, unfortunately I wasn’t able to secure the table at which M sits; parties of four take priority and I could only rustle up a party of three. This minor irritation, however, soon passed once I was seated. My table was perfectly comfortable, the service was impeccable, and the food sublime.

The menu is traditional British cuisine, offering such treats as oysters, salmon, crab, pies, puddings and game. This is my sort of fare and I confess I had trouble choosing. As ever, though, I returned to first principles: what would James Bond have ordered? The pre-lunch cocktail was straightforward: a pint of black velvet (stout and champagne) in a silver tankard, just as Bond has at Scott’s in Diamonds Are Forever (1956). For my main course, I chose steak and kidney pudding (with an oyster on top). We discover in The Man with the Golden Gun (1965) that the dish is served in the Secret Service’s canteen on Wednesdays, and even if Bond doesn’t have it himself, he’s certainly familiar with the dish. I turned to the savoury option for dessert: a selection of cheeses. This was inspired by the tray of cheeses that concludes Bond’s meal at Piz Gloria in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963), although my cheese was English, rather than Swiss.

You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned my starter. I had potted shrimp. It’s not something we know that Bond has, and admittedly it would have been more fitting to have the crab salad that was on the menu, given that Bond has dressed cab with his black velvet, but I can’t remember ever having potted shrimp before and I couldn’t resist.

Having spent two hours in the restaurant, it was a lunch worthy of Ian Fleming. To adapt James Bond’s words in Moonraker (1955), the best English cooking is the best in the world, particularly at Rules. The black velvet alone was a revelation, it being pure nectar. And while the bill had me nervously awaiting a phone call from my bank manager, for a once-in-a-while treat and given that it filled me up for rest of the day, the meal was worth every penny.


M’s table at Rules


The Rules black velvet

Steak and kidney pudding

Steak and kidney pudding


English cheeses


Me enjoying the black velvet

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