Simpson's in the Strand

Restaurants, British Charing Cross
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 (James Bedford)
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James Bedford
 (Simpsons in the Strand www.jamesbedford.com)
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Simpsons in the Strand www.jamesbedford.com
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 (www.jamesbedford.com)
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www.jamesbedford.com

A traditional British restaurant on the Strand.

Founded in 1828, Simpson’s is a proper London institution. Having had a full spruce-up in 2017, this traditional British restaurant once again has a warm lustre to the oak panelling, fresh paint on the elaborate cornicing and a shimmer to the chandeliers.

Technically part of the neighbouring Savoy Hotel, the vibe here is special occasiony: wedding anniversaries, milestone birthdays. It's the sort of place that the ultra-obliging staff actually come over and offer to take your photo. Oh, and there's a crooning piano player in the corner. Well, of course there is.

As for the cooking, it's pretty solid. The carvery cart (£35, beef or lamb) is the stuff of legend. Moist, full-flavoured slices of lamb came with al dente veg, a puffy yorkshire pud and terrific mint sauce (side note: its horseradish is also great). But the gravy was really a jus and the tatties were a tad tough. Still, the Beef Wellington was good (for £42, you’d want it to be), and a starter of creamy crab salad (£16), with candied morsels of walnuts and apple two ways (thin sticks, blobs of purée), the meal’s star. No teeth? Don’t miss the ‘black forest trifle’.

One final word of advice: go in winter, when the dark, clubby space feels cosy rather than gloomy. And if you're in a four, ask for one of the high-backed booths.

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Simpson's in the Strand says
Simpson's offers the finest quality British ingredients cooked to perfection in classic British style. The restaurant's speciality is Scottish beef on the bone. The beef is carved at guests' tables from antique silver-domed trolleys, which is a practice that began over 150 years ago.
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By: Tania Ballantine

Posted:

Venue name: Simpson's in the Strand
Contact:
Address: 100 Strand
London
WC2R 0EW
Transport: Tube: Embankment or Charing Cross
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £180.
Do you own this business?
To improve this listing email: feedback@timeout.com

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Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|7
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1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

If you were to hold a Cluedo murder mystery dinner party, this place definitely has the right decor - dark and a bit scruffy.


What I had:

  • Oxtail soup
  • Pan-fried ocean trout with crayfish mash and lobster sauce
  • Roast beef with roast potatoes, Savoy cabbage, Yorkshire pudding & horseradish
  • seasonal vegetables with chilli
  • Cheese selection
  • Simpson’s Treacle Sponge with vanilla bean custard
  • Lemon in spring with yogurt sorbet

Overall the flavours here were decent and well seasoned. The soup had a great consistency and something I haven’t tried before and the sauce in the trout was lovely and fragrant; however I would say that the ocean trout itself was a little overdone for my liking. The roast beef was tender and was wheeled out in a silver platter and carved at your table. However, the seasonal vegetables were a tad overdone and there was no hint of chilli. The cheese selection wasn’t varied enough - it would have been nice to see two different cheese to give some variety; however the treacle sponge was comforting and the lemon spring was tart sweet, dotted with small meringues. The food here is not quite what you would expect from an establishment associated with The Savoy. It’s not very inspiring and there is a feeling that it is all quite dated and in need of a revamp - much like the interior. The service was clumsy and at one point puzzling as the staff seemed disinterested and laboured which left the overall dining experience flat and a little awkward. I wouldn’t be in any rush to go back anytime soon.


Good For: small groups, intimate dinner, traditional British dinner and decor.

Tastemaker

I purchased the TimeOut 3 course meal and glass of wine offer for my boyfriend's birthday, as he had previously been for his 18th so I wanted to 'relive' some of the memories. Note to self: never try to do that. 
Unfortunately it has really gone down. The decor makes the place look super out of date, and not in an endearing, quintessentially British way, just plain old. The food was nice, but not spectacular. I've definitely had better in pub gardens. It all felt a bit pretentious for a place that actually didn't live up to it's old reputation. I also gifted one of these vouchers to my brother, and his sentiments were exactly as mine are. Still nice to say 'been there, done that'!

Tastemaker

My partner chose Simpson's-In-The-Strand for my birthday meal a few weeks ago. I didn't know what to expect but the TimeOut deal of 3 courses and a glass of prosecco meant we were certainly getting value for money.


Upon arrival we were greeted by friendly, helpful staff, had our coats whisked away to the cloakroom with minimal fuss, and were quickly seated. On our way to our seats, other members of staff welcomed us and we caught a glimpse of the world famous 'roasts'.


The set menu was quite limited but the options still managed to cause some difficult choices. I started with the fish cake with poached egg, which was perfectly cooked, and moved onto the roast beef with the roast lamb, which looked divine, losing out due to the lack of a Yorkshire pudding. The meat was wheeled over to us and a choice of how you like it cooked was offered. The gravy was then spooned from the tray, deeply coloured and very rich. 


For pudding my inner child won out and I went for the ice cream, rather than the sticky toffee pudding or the cheese board. Having deduced it was my birthday I received a specially decorated plate from our waiter and had a candle to blow out. This was a lovely little touch.


All in all a great meal and somewhere we'll be going again.


The most amazing beef ever, service fabulous, ambience traditional elegance. What more could you want

Tastemaker

I've been curious about this place for a while. All the heritage and the pedigree do that to me. I'm glad an occasion presented itself in the form of a work function. Curious I am no more. It's grand enough, and laden with tradition enough, but also stuffy enough and worn out enough, which together make it too much. And I really am not a fan of the carpeted floors. The food was decent but unmemorable (I've read the earlier reviews and I think they did spice up the menu since, as there were plenty of options that sounded enticing). In short, go if someone else is paying, and watch out for the chess curiosities on display.



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.