This extensive establishment has long been famed for its good dinners, and its excellent wines. Here take place the majority of the banquets of the Corporation of London, the Sheriffs’ Inauguration Dinners, as well as those of Civic Companies and Committees, and such festivals, public and private, as are usually held at taverns of the highest class.
The farewell Dinners given by the East India Company to the Governors-General of India, usually take place at the Albion. “Here likewise (after dinner) the annual trade sales of the principal London publishers take place,” revivifying the olden printing and book glories of Aldersgate and Little Britain.
The cuisine of the Albion has long been celebrated for its recherche character. Among the traditions of the tavern it is told that a dinner was once given here, under the auspices of the gourmand Alderman Sir William Curtis, which cost the party between thirty and forty pounds apiece. It might well have cost twice as much, for amongst other acts of extravagance, they dispatched a special messenger to Westphalia to choose a ham. There is likewise told a bet as to the comparative merits of the Albion and York House (Bath) dinners, which was to have been formally decided by a dinner of unparalleled munificence, and nearly equal cost at each; but it became a drawn bet, the Albion beating in the first course, and the York House in the second. Still, these are reminiscences on which, we frankly own, no great reliance is to be placed.
Lord Southampton once gave a dinner at the Albion, at ten guineas a head; and the ordinary price for the best dinner at this house (including wine) is three guineas. [ According to The Art of Dining; or, gastronomy and gastronomers by Abraham Hayward. pub. John Murray, London 1852].
From Club Life of London Vol. II, John Timbs, London, 1866