Restaurant Review: Simpson’s in the Strand, 100 Strand in London
If you were to choose a roast for your last meal, Simpson’s in the Strand would be your destination. Crafting a true show of our iconic Sunday dish, (which started when this wonderfully British restaurant was in its youthful years, as a chess club), each roast spectacle was silently rolled out on its wheels across the polished wooden flooring to maintain the ultimate in player concentration.
This culinary ritual is at the core of Simpson’s in the Strand today, meaning there is no better day to visit than Sunday. Seated at our table this tradition slides past us and its presented at tables across the grand dining room. It’s impossible to not gaze over at the sparkling, antique carving trollies which are elegantly wheeled table-side as the (aptly named) ‘Master Carver’ slices 28-day dry aged beef or saddle of Welsh lamb.
Unsurprisingly, Simpson’s in the Strand celebrates British produce. Seasonal too, of course, recently the restaurant has peeled open its history books to reincarnate iconic dishes from its 190-year heritage. These new ‘Bill of Fare’ menus highlight how our eating habits have changed throughout the decades, and rediscovers dishes, techniques and ingredients that were once readily available to diners.
Newly appointed ‘Master Cook’, Adrian Martin has explored the restaurant’s library of historic menus dating back to 1913, when mock turtle soup, saddle of mutton, and Madeira jelly, were today’s burrata or ceviche. Balancing curiosity and respect for the restaurant’s history, these newly revived dishes highlight forgotten flavours by incorporating them into a modern-day menu. Examples from the menu include a cream of lobster soup made with chervil cream cheese, a traditional duck and pork terrine pie served with pickled vegetables and mustard, dressed Dorset crab with celeriac remoulade and melba toast or the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ – (salted ox tongue with crispy cured ox cheek, horseradish mash and beetroot relish).
On our visit we recline at our crisp white clothed table with large sparkling wine glasses and our beautifully British dishes. From the iconic roast lamb affair to a perfectly pink beef Wellington, it’s impossible to ignore the heritage Simpson’s in the Strand holds within its crafted walls. Dickens, Wodehouse and Arthur Conan Doyle all dined at Simpson’s regularly and more recently in 2017, the space was redesigned by Robert Angell Design International who consciously renovated the space, paying tribute to the rich past. There is an original chequerboard mosaic entranceway which reflects back on its chess past, whilst dark green banquettes and red dining chairs sit alongside mirrors and crystal chandeliers, making Simpson’s in the Strand, as special as it was, or ever has been.
Address: 100 Strand, London, WC2R 0EW, simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk, 020 7420 2111