Simpson's in the Strand 1

100 Strand , London, WC2R 0EW

7 reviews

55 British Covent Garden

  • interior
  • table
  • carving trolley
  • mac n cheese
  • roast chicken
  • salmon

SquareMeal Review of Simpson's in the Strand

Along with Rules (est. 1798) and Wiltons (1840), 189-year-old Simpson’s comprises a holy trinity of Empire-era, Rule Britannia British dining. It has just re-opened after a spruce-up, and entering the stained-glass and tiled lobby is like stepping into the booking hall of a gothic Victorian railway station. The dining room itself (or ‘Grand Divan’, to give it its proper title) is even more of a spectacle, a Grade II-listed showstopper of lustrous wood panelling and wedding-cake plaster moulding, oil paintings and leather banquettes, illuminated by chandeliers (there is no natural light) and, minus the cigar smoke, immediately recognisable to former patrons Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill. The food (from a British ‘bill of fare’ rather than a French ‘menu’) has been gently updated for modern appetites, losing some of its trencherman appeal along the way. A prettily presented pulled ham-hock salad, artfully arranged beef Wellington and a light gooseberry trifle all seemed aimed more at guests from the neighbouring Savoy (of which Simpsons is part) than Billy Bunter-ish City gents, although gently warmed potted shrimps to spread onto toast and sirloin with a slab of mushroom were in the comfort food tradition of old. And we were surprised that for a restaurant that prides itself on its trolley service (roast beef and Yorkshire pud, cocktails mixed tableside), the cheese selection turned out to be five pre-plated slices, presented without explanation. Overall, with Simpson’s-branded mustard and horseradish available to buy on the way out, we left with the impression that this is heritage-trail dining rather than a piece of living history. 

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Simpson's in the Strand is recommended for

Big And Bold | Formal | Quiet Conversation | Traditional | Sunday Roast

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Charing Cross Tube Station 409m

Covent Garden Tube Station 412m

Address

Address: 100 Strand , London WC2R 0EW

Area: Covent Garden

Opening times

Mon-Sun 12N-11pm

Nearby Landmarks

Savoy Theatre 50m

Lyceum Theatre 96m

Details

Telephone: 020 7420 2111

Website:

Cuisine: British

Private Dining: 50

5.6

Food & Drink: 6.7

Service: 5.4

Atmosphere: 5.6

Value: 5.3

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 2.0

OrientalGourmand bronze reviewer 10 June 2013

I was recommended to try this place when I moved into London a few years ago, and finally I made it! We enjoyed the atmosphere, service was good although the staffs seemed to struggle in taking care of many tables, because of popularity by tourists – lots of requests to help them take pictures etc. It was enjoyable, food was good, and it would have been perfect if the bill had been not as big.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

Thomas D. 02 September 2012

Simpsons on the Strand – i have been going for about 12 years and it is definitely a mixed pleasure. As I watched the extensive refurbishment of the Savoy (Simpsons is next door) i couldn't help hoping they would rip out the interior and refurbish this part as well. Simpsons opened in 1828 and I would guess they don't want to spoil the success story. PLEASE DO – the booths are very narrow and the seating tilts you forward so you feel you are sitting on the useless pads as you enter the London underground tubes by the door. The dinning room is laid out like a big mess hall at a posh boarding school (which most people haven't been to – including me). Food So why go? The roast beef is the best anywhere in the world. Seriously – we skip starters, keep the bread rolls to a minimum and dive straight into the best roast beef you will ever eat. A nice bottle of red and you must try the horse radish – it is made on site and again the best i have ever had. One exclusion to the above is we sometime have the oysters as well – very fresh. Service – there is one old Italian chap who hobbles along with the meat trolley (they bring it to your table and offer you your favourite cuts). He makes the whole visit worthwhile and obviously has been there for a long while (I have not seen him on last couple of visits so hope is ok). Summary In case you haven't got this from my review – I would crawl over broken glass for this roast beef! They do need to work on the interior – I would rip out the whole lot and put in comfortable and more spacious booths and tables. I will still go, and still bemoan the Ye Olde décor and still dive head first into that beef.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Alan P. 19 April 2012

This was planned as a special dinner after seeing a show on a Saturday afternoon. Expectations were high (as I think they should be) in anticipation of quality ambience, food and service. Not a cheap meal… 3 courses, glass of wine with starter and dessert. A bottle of red accompanied our main course. Starters and desserts were ordered from the a la carte menu with beef from the trolley for main. Baked potatoes were in fact boiled (supposedly roasted in goose fat). Bread & butter pudding was as good as a home brand supermarket ready meal. All used glasses were still on the table when we left after coffee. Service was indifferent. A number of emails have bounced back and forth after our Simpsons experience. Management have agreed that each point I raised was worthy of their attention. Since our experience, the Restaurant Manager has told us he has inspected the ‘roast’ potatoes and sent a number of serves back. The bread and butter pudding had undergone a re-vamp. The poor level of service was disapointing given the number of staff on the floor that evening. The gamble is not worth it to pay £100+ per head for a complimentary glass of champagne that was offered via the last email received. It's disapointing that such a grand building and the fine reputation built over many years is currently missing the mark in the fine dining market place.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

TeddyBearEdward 03 March 2012

This is the most overrated restaurant in london. Terrible patronising self congratulatory service, poor food, dirty and unfriendly and horrendously overpriced. It is such a shame as 10 years ago it was still superb. I find it a national embarrassment, I was ashamed to take foreign visitors there.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Liz G. silver reviewer 10 November 2010

Went there for a business group dinner. The Grand Divan room is spacious but lacks some accents (particularly if you're seated with your back to the entrance), so is a bit boring and stiff (however, what would you expect from an establishment which was a gents' club for most of it's life?). A nice row of divan semi-private tables on the right-hand side. Service was very welcoming, attentive and polite, however the somelier could have been a bit more friendly and proactive. Food-wise, a very good value for money – portions are very generous. Starter of prawn cocktail was beautifully presented and had a healthy addition of fresh vegetables to it (not just all the sauce). Guinea fowl for the main course was very nicely done, and the greens were cooked to perfection. The dessert of a fruit pavlova was a bit sticky and a bit too sweet, but i assume that's just my individual taste. They also serve lovely roast carved hot at the table which, from what i can see, was much appreciated by senior male diners. Overall, a nice dining experience, very club-like and business like, although if you need to talk quietly ask for a divan seating – that will hopefully cut some of the buzz off.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

Pat M. 01 November 2010

I booked in for an early Friday lunch (12:15) and was quite looking forward to my meal. I have frequented Simpsons on previous occasions and always enjoyed the experience. This time however I caught the floor staff on a bad day. There were only two other tables occupied when i was seated so the staff were not run off their feet. I asked the waiter if he could describe the days special starters or soup. “There aren't any” I was told. Fortunately I had heard a polite waitress inform one of the other tales of the special starter or Prawns. I again asked if there were any special starters at all that day. Same answer. After a moments silence the Waiter remembered that there was a Prawn starter. no attempt to describe it or promote it. In fact, no welcome, no “How are you today”. I opted for the Artichoke soup as a starter and and the Steak and Kidney pie as a main course (with some roasted Beets). the order was taken and no more said. A sommelier then approached me asking if I would like some wine. I indicated that I would like a glass and was directed to the page indicating wine by the glass. the gentleman walked off. I wasn't asked what food I had selected or even given a recommendation. when he returned, I selected a red. few moments later the gentleman returned showed me the label of the bottle. I nodded and he proceeded to pour the glass. no option to taste the wine to see if it was suitable. a different member of staff did allow a customer sitting close to me to taste the wine before pouring. The waiter who took my order arrived to offer me some bread. I declined but it looked good. I waited a short while until out of nowhere a young waiter placed the bowl of soup in front of me and mumbled something that had the word “spoon” in it. I watched him walk off to the far end of the room and retrieve a soup spoon and come back to present it to me. this is a fairly uneventful act in itself until you put a look on his face that spoke a thousand words. I dont know who said what to him but it was clear he didn't want to be there, didn't want to serve and didn't want to deal with a customer. I eat the starter. It was lovely. A lovely waitress arrived soon after with the Steak and Kidney pie. She smiled and was chatty and polite. Before I had managed to eat the first mouthful another woman, presumably a manager, asked me if I was enjoying the main course. I told her I was about to find out and was looking forward to it. I had noticed that earlier at another table she asked the exact same question at the exact same time (i.e. before they had managed to try the food). Again, the food was superb. I declined dessert, finished my wine and paid the bill. Throughout the lunch i got the overwhelming impression that very few of the staff wanted to be there. I have never seen so many staff members provide so little actual customer service. Two waitresses working the floor were the only staff members who actually made an effort and made their guests feel welcome. You may think I am too pedantic or critical but all I wanted was a bit of customer service that made me feel welcome. Given the cut-throat nature of restaurants these days Customer Service will be just as critical as the food served. If I were to sum up my lunch experience it would be this. Simpsons have improved on the quality of the food. both dishes were truly delicious but with a front of house who was either AWOL or non-existent the treatment you receive will be hit or miss depending on the mood of the staff. Thats a pity as Simpsons have a chance to do something really special in a special surrounding.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Continental Diner platinum reviewer 13 October 2010

A true british classic which has survived the acquisition by its new U.S. owners (Fairmont / Savoy) surprisingly well. Both the bar and the dining room are beautiful rooms, the service is very good the food difficult to fault. A must-see for tourists, a very special place for an important meal and most importantly a place one can rely on.

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