Simpson's in the Strand

May 22nd, 2003, 10:39 AM
Original Poster
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Simpson's in the Strand

Does anyone have any comments on Simpson's?
WG79 is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 10:46 AM
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Absolutely the worst service and mediocore food we've ever had in London..and we were with people who remembered it from the old days, and had insisted we eat there. They too were so disappointed they complained. Told another London friend about it and he said that it had gone badly downhill
jody is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 10:59 AM
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Love it or hate it, it's a classic and you ought to go at least once. I've had experiences at both ends of the spectrum - blah don't-care service and seriously blah food, to I-can't-believe-it's-this-good. After a hundred and fifty years or so the jury's still out...

My fondest memory of Simpsons comes not from eating there but from reading a review in the Times filed by a food reporter who had breakfasted there shortly the restaurant started offering brekkies in the 90s. Instead of ordering the "Seven Deadly Sins" breakfast (black pudding, sausages, etc.), which might not have been on the menu then, he ordered the Pig's Nose in Parsely Sauce. Yes, that's correct, a pig's nose, nostrils up, served in a puddle of parsely and onion sauce. He described his initial revulsion, followed by his delight at consuming this remarkable dish. I sat in a Heathrow hotel dining room on a Sunday morning reading this account, tears streaming down my face and into my not-so Great British Breakfast.
Gardyloo is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 11:13 AM
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Gardyloo, THAT's put me off my domino's pizza! amp;
EnglishOne is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 01:07 PM
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Well, last Sunday I finally cashed in Mrs F's Christmas present to me: a Simpson's carving class. The deal is, you get a class from the Simpson's GM and head cook (French was outlawed from all Simpson vocabulary in the mid-19th century), followed by a public lunch AT WHICH YOU GET TO CARVE FROM THE TROLLEY in front of your guests.
That might be an explanation of why the service can be iffy. But I thought the meat at the meal was ace, the service as enthusiastic as only London's expatriate Italians can deliver.The underlying logistics though were a bit swamped by us all. So it became a slightly more leisurely lunch than we intended. But since we ate more, better, and better cooked, meat than we intended, that was probably just as well. Also the best potted shrimps I've ever had in a restaurant, and outstanding English nursery puddings (they can be outstanding, but normally only if made by a very good domestic cook). Mediocre English cheeses, served too cold. Proper home cooking - apart from the cheese - several cuts above what's normally available in restaurants.
Long waiting list for the classes - and depressingly high male/female ratio. But worth investigating via

PS: My guests were truly lousy at tipping the carver
flanneruk is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 03:23 PM
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We went to Simpson's twice last summer while in London. The first time, we ate downstairs and marveled at the excellent food and service. The second time, we were brought upstairs, and it was a truly mediocre experience. I have no idea what the explanation is for this. Anyway, I think if you've never been, it's worth a one-time visit, just to watch the beef being carved!
Weadles is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 04:35 PM
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My wife, two young daughters, and I had dinner there after warning the daughters to be on their best behavior.

The table setting, the room, the silver service, the carving of the beef, the whole bit. Pomp and circumstance. Veddy Briddish.

Then a waiter of about age 90 or older came with a tray of broccoli covered in cheese sauce. While transferring some broccoli to my wife's plate, he dropped the entire stalk onto my wife's lap.

Not skipping a beat, and with a "with your permission, madame," he stuck his tongs into her crotch, snapped up the broccoli, and transferred it to her plate.

Our daughters went into orbit. "And you were worried about us, Mommy!" they said.

Crummy service, great atmosphere, so-so food, not a good value for the money.
USNR is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 04:37 PM
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I preferred "Rules"
cigalechanta is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 07:10 PM
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My only experience there was with a huge English breakfast. Most of the items were so overcooked that they were actually burnt or hard to eat. It took forever, yet there was practically no one there. It turned me off enough that I've never returned for a lunch or dinner.
Patrick is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 07:14 PM
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many years ago i took my english friends there for was quite nice in those days and mr humphries (Dame Edna) was holding court at the next was rather fun and the meal was was many yers ago....i can taste that roast beef now...
rhkkmk is offline  
May 22nd, 2003, 08:22 PM
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USNR, thank you for the image

Speaking of Great British Servers, I am reminded of a blah business dinner in Glasgow one night, where one of my colleagues declined the mutant peas (half an inch in diameter, the color of hospital walls) being distributed by the waitress. She, a Glasgow wifey with a take-no-prisoners attitude (it's in the water) looked at him incredulously, and said for all to hear, "Nae peas?!"

No, he said. No thanks.

She stood there for a minute, then scooped a big spoonful of peas and plopped it in the middle of his plate. She glared at him and announced, "Peas is compulsory!"
Gardyloo is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 04:55 AM
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You might wish to try the Knight's Bar upstairs (lower cost friendlier service than the Divan room) for a drink and a snack.

You can look down on the street as Sherlock Holmes and Watson did.
ira is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 01:14 PM
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Gardyloo, that's hilarious. I'll bet you have never had a serving of peas since that you didn't repeat that line.
carolyn is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 02:10 PM
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For my 2 pence, I think Simpson's has gone downhill but more importantly, London food in general has gone so far UPHILL that the comparison with other places leaves Simpson's in the dust. Skip it.
mclaurie is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 02:26 PM
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Gardyloo..that was so funny...reminded me of the news story a few years ago, where since children are no longer taught dining etiquette at home and the schools are so under-staffed and manners were being ignored ,that they were thinking of developing a new strain of peas that could more easily be eaten off the fork!

At the same Simpson experience I recounted above.. We 4 had all ordered the beef..but as a veg , DH ordered spinach. Peter, beans...and ny girlfriend and I both ordered cabbage!

Meat was served along with potatoes and yorkshire pudding..then the waiter came with the veggies..1 dish of beans for Peter...1 dish of sopinach for MDH..and ONE dish of cabbage for Doane and I.. she said we both ordered cabbage... he replied

There's enough there for both of you!!!!
jody is offline  
May 23rd, 2003, 03:40 PM
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Regarding the peas: At least they were not the infamous Yorkshire "mushy" (and overcooked) peas (peas mashed up).

I ate at Simpson's over 20 years ago and enjoyed it. It does sound like it's not worth making a special excursion to eat there these days--especially if you do not want broccoli dumped in your lap and then retrieved with tongs!
LaurenSKahn is offline  
May 25th, 2003, 06:06 AM
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Having lived in London for 10 years, I never went to Simpson's. It's considered to be a place for tourists, no self-respecting londoner would be caught dead there. If you want something traditional try the newly re-done Savoy Grill. It had great reviews from restaurant critics, still serves roasts and traditional food, and the chef is one of the best in London.
Tulips is offline  
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