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SquareMeal Review of Simpson's Tavern

Bronze Award

In the restaurant business since 1757, Simpson’s is old enough to have fewer customers alive than dead – with Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens in the latter camp. Half-hidden in a courtyard off Cornhill, it’s got all the straight-backed stalls, brass rails and looming wood that tourists, City types and history-seekers might hope for in the capital’s oldest chophouse. Breakfast is a greasy-whiskered affair with non-stop toast, while it’s doorstop sandwiches and chips with (almost) everything at the bar. The week is measured out in daily specials, including pies of various ilk (pork, leek and cider, say), roast duck with apple sauce or liver and bacon with caramelised onions. There are no highfalutin’ aims in the kitchen or on the sub-£60 wine list, while a handful of ales keep beer drinkers hydrated, if not fascinated. Not surprisingly, Simpson’s makes an atmospheric spot for special events.  

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Food Occasions
Breakfast, Brunch
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for Simpson's Tavern

Ball Court, 38 Cornhill, London, EC3V 9DR

020 7626 9985


Opening Times

Mon-Fri 8am-3.30pm (Mon 8.30am- )

Reviews of Simpson's Tavern

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5 Reviews 

Aine H

31 July 2018  
Great setting with a very rustic/hearty menu. The wine list contains a few greats and the service is always with a smile. Opt for the cheese board to get the full experience!

Lucy B

27 April 2016  
When booking over the 'phone, they should warn you that you will need to share tables. This wasn't too much of an issue as it turned out but this was a quasi-business lunch so it could have been awkward. It turned out to be quite fun in an old (boarding) school kind of way. But the food is not great and does remind you of school fodder. The daily special; pork, leek and cider pie was decidedly average. Thick stodgy undercooked pastry, crude lumps of so-so pork and a gravy that tasted of flour. The main was accompanied with average chips, spinach with olive oil and bitter-tasting garlic and mediocre cauliflower cheese. The jam poly-poly pudding was a bit better. But even including four glasses of wine I felt the bill for £64 was overpriced.
Food & Drink

Graeme R

07 December 2012  
I have never felt strongly enough to review a restaurant without being asked, but my recent experience warrants mention. Simpsons Tavern does what it wants to do very well – the food is rustic and home-cooked, quickly served in a jovial Dickensian atmosphere. However, the service ruined the whole experience. Despite his friendliness pre-order, the bow-tied waiter became pushy and then rude at the end of lunch. When I asked for an itemised receipt, he refused, acting as though I had asked to move into his house. It would have been a fine lunch otherwise; as it was, I left with nothing other than the sourness of his attitude on my palate.
Food & Drink

Marco S

29 October 2011  
Plates were dirty and greasy and staff was so rude that made you feel unwelcome. Food was way overpriced, and the steak was overcooked. Staff was annoyed when I asked for the details of the bill. It is probably the worst restaurant I have ever been.
Food & Drink

Christopher J

24 June 2011  
Simpsons Tavern, not to be confused with the more recently opened Simpsons in the Strand (1828) has been serving lunch to City folk for the last 250 years. There is nothing ‘eclectic’ or experimental about the dishes here, the waiters did not graduate from Le Cordon Bleu and the wooden ‘pew’ seating is damn uncomfortable but nobody seems to care. Orders are shouted across the table, smaller groups of diners are seated together, conversations are loud as plates heavy with staple British grub are circulated to hungry men. Our table took crispy Pork Belly, Potted Shrimp and Smoked Salmon starters which did exactly what it said on the tin. This was soon followed with Roast Beef, The Mixed Grill, (a protein rich plate Steak, Sausage, Egg, Kidney, Bacon & Tomato) and Lamb Shank, then bravely fought on with a round of nostalgic Suet puddings with Custard and the famous ‘Stewed Cheese’ which tasted significantly better than its description. Starters are priced between £3.85 – £6.00 and most main courses are also single figures so you will struggle to spend more than twenty pounds per head and in exchange for that, you will leave incredibly well fed.
Food & Drink

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