The panelled walls and chandeliers of Simpson’s Grand Divan would still be familiar to the long list of former patrons (including George Bernard Shaw and Benjamin Disraeli) who have dined here since it opened in 1828. These days, the restaurant is a magnet for snap-happy tourists who forgive the rather uncomfortable seating as they wallow in their make-believe world of Jeeves and Wooster novel. The quaintly named ‘bill of fare’ specialises in classics such as oxtail faggots, steak and kidney pudding, beef Wellington and plum cobbler – though one diner advises, ‘keep the bread rolls to a minimum and dive straight into the best roast beef you will ever eat’, aged for 28 days and carved from a silver-domed trolley. Great breakfasts, too. On the downside, prices are steep and service isn’t always top drawer.
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