This renowned London institution is technically part of the Savoy next door, but it seems untouched by the £220 million refurbishment the famous hotel received in 2010. It’s like a public school refectory on a grand scale, with rows of tables (some looking rather scruffy around the legs), white linen, heavily varnished wall panels and huge chandeliers. An old-fashioned sense of British formality pervades – which is a major reason diners come here.
You’ll see plenty of retired colonel types, although Simpsons is also popular with tourists looking for an apparently unadulterated experience of bygone London. The signature dish is roast beef, and great haunches of it are wheeled around on trolleys to be carved at table. However, we feel this 185-year-old stalwart is resting on its laurels. Beyond the beef (with all the trimmings), there’s not much on the menu to excite. At a recent breakfast, the classic dishes (eggs royale, muffins with bacon and eggs) were no more than OK. The pricing is cynical – £7.50 for a pot with two Twinings teabags and some boiling water. At least use loose leaf. For a sense of tradition, Simpson’s is hard to beat, but some traditions aren’t always worth upholding.
|Opening hours:||Breakfast served 7.15-10.30am Mon-Fri. Lunch served 12.15-2.45pm Mon-Sat. Dinner served 5.45-10.45pm Mon-Fri; 5-10.45pm Sat. Meals served 12.15-9pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Embankment or Charing Cross|
|Price:||Main courses £16.50-£33.50. Set meal (lunch, 5.45-7pm) £25.75 2 courses, £31 3 courses|
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The most amazing beef ever, service fabulous, ambience traditional elegance. What more could you want
I just cannot justify Simpsons prices for very average half cold food. Most chefs will tell you, it's all about presentation, well I'd rather have a hot meal with a bit of taste. My starter was soup of the day, which was vegetable. I chose this as I'm vegetarian and fancied some nice chunky vegetables. Alas, when it arrived, just a bowl of puréed soup (tepid!) My main course (only veggie one on menu) was asparagus filled with ricotta. Cheese with a selection of beans. Incredibly bland and again, half cold. I didn't complain as my sons were paying for the meal and didn't want to embarrass them. The desert was treacle sponge with custard. I've tasted just as good from M&S! The certainly enjoyed the surroundings, but shame about the food!
The above description of Simpson's is a little unkind and there was no mention of the one thing which Simpson's is most famous for which also explains the layout of the tables. This was one of the grand venues for playing the game of Chess in London and you will see evidence of this as you enter. I have visited Simpson's for dinner twice and had drinks in the bar upstairs while waiting for my table, as it does get quite busy. Traditions are preserved at Simpson's and this makes it unique.