Review: Christopher George
London is full of the most fantastic restaurants, serving truly international cuisine, and across London from north to south, you are never short of many a dining experience. The city is known especially for its new restaurants popping up all over the capital, and equally closing not long after in many situations due to the high competition.
That is why we were intrigued to visit Simpson’s in the Strand, as it is far from a pop up newbie restaurant, with well over 150 years of fine dinning under its silver serving trolly!
Simpson's in the Strand has now unveiled a new body of illustrations by the restaurant's Artist in Residence, the satirical cartoonist Zoom Rockman. Rockman first generated interest at The Beano which published his comic strip ‘Skanky Pigeon’ when he was just 12-years-old. At 16 he became the youngest contributor to Private Eye. Now eighteen, Rockman has produced a series of six new artworks celebrating the Simpson's in the Strand's most eminent patron, Sir Winston Churchill, which are displayed throughout the historic building.
All this activity happening at Simpson’s ‘drew’ us down to the fine location to experience 170 years of dinning and ambiance.
Simpson’s opened in 1828 originally as a gentleman’s chess club, with dining beginning a little later in 1848. The restaurant has now been serving the finest cuisine for 170 years, so If that’s isn’t a reason to make a reservation at this land mark restaurant and location, then here are some other reasons.
Simpson’s is in the heart of Londons entertainment district The West End: home to the global theatre business and central for a night out, or days shopping and strolling around London Town. Simpson’s is not as stuffy as you would possibly expect it to be. In fact, I was extremely surprised by its relaxed nature, informal ambiance and helpful staff.
Set in what is the incredible dinning room and part of the SAVOY buildings, Simpson’s actually opened before the SAVOY Hotel did in this landmark architectural gem. This is one of those destinations as a visitor to London is on the list, and as a resident of London is often just walked by and not entered but always known. Simpson’s is pretty much laid out to its original design of 1828, with the dining booths and tables arrangement from 1848 that have served a multitude of politicians and celebrities ever since. It’s mixed range of clientele ranges from business professionals and the mature gentry, to a more laid back international younger crowd. The atmosphere is more dining and chatting, than trying to communicate over loud music in a crowded space.
What I found so endearing about Simpson’s is not only the beautiful setting and interior of the restaurant, the live pianist playing on the grand piano every night. The lack of any agenda with timing during our meal is also a rare touch. This is not a fast food chain or a restaurant where the staff are breathing down your neck encouraging you to leave soon after you’ve tucked your napkin on your shirt! Much to the contrary; during our 3 course meal we felt extremely relaxed in the surroundings, and we were able to slow down our pace of life for a few hours eating and chatting. Something that is often missing in the London restaurant scene, and with the pace of life in the city, where you are pushed to a poky table and expected to make a quick choice of food, eat and leave.
Defeating the whole object of dining out and ‘making a meal’ of the experience, excuse the pun…
The waiting staff are incredibly helpful and are knowledgable about the menu and wine list, without making you feel intimidated as you stumble over the impressive choice of wine. And while the menu is advanced, it is by no means pompous or stuffy. In fact it is quite a simple harty menu with dishes to leave you full, and not famished wanting more.
Within Simpson’s there is also the Knights Bar on the 1st floor where you can enjoy cocktails before your meal, beautifully decorated in a traditional sophisticated style, you can loose yourself in a large soft sofa with that special friend, or hold a private conversation surrounded by the idea that many an influencer has enjoyed a private drink here long before the internet was even considered. In fact, before the TV was even invented. Imagine that for a moment…
One of the endearing points of Simpson’s is the ability to find some privacy while not being isolated. After all, a night out is supposed to be social to a certain degree, it just depends how cluttered you want that evening to become. And it is not going to become cluttered at Simpson’s.
We have become big fans of Simpson’s for its inclusive exclusivity!! So much, we may just start to hold out meetings down there over a bottle of wine.
For reservations please call
+44 (0)20 7420 2111
Simpson's in the Strand
100 Strand, London,
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