Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Restaurant

The Grand Divan
Simpson’s in the Strand
100 Strand
London
WC2R 0EW

Phone:- 0207 836 9112

Website
http://www.simpson’s-in-the-strand.com

Overview

Simpson’s is part of the Savoy group (indeed the hotel is next door) and is one of London’s top class restaurants, offering traditional English cooking; breakfast, lunch and dinner. It comprises a number of restaurants, function rooms and bars on two floors.

Myself and three chums from university went to the Grand Divan (the restaurant on the ground floor) on Monday night, for a boys’ night out.

Ambience

The restaurant is traditional in décor, attitude and service; which resembles a gentleman's club from the Victorian era. The dining room offers tables or booths, all are fully laid with white tablecloths, linen napkins, silver cutlery and a variety of glasses for water and wine.

As befits a quality restaurant, that prides itself on its cuisine, Simpson’s expects people to take pride in their appearance, as a courtesy to others; as such you are required to wear a jacket and tie.

When we arrived we were courteously greeted by one of the many waiters, and shown to our table. The restaurant was almost full, and so it is advisable to book.

Menu

The restaurant offers an extensive menu comprising traditional British dishes such as roast beef (carved on the trolley), potted shrimps, rack of lamb, steak and kidney pudding and steamed sponge pudding.

Service

The service is attentive, courteous and professional. When we sat down we were promptly offered our menus, bread rolls and napkins which were unfolded and placed on our laps.

Within five minutes of receiving our gin an tonics, one of my friends had succeeded in knocking his over. Instead of fussing over changing the tablecloth we were promptly offered another table, instead of disturbing us by relaying the table with us sitting there.

Food

I started with smoked salmon, simply served on a large plate with a slice of lemon and buttered brown bread. This was very good, and an ideal starter if you are following on with a heavy meal. My main course was an easy choice, roast beef from the trolley. The joint is carved in front of you, and you are offered a choice of well done or rare. The chef is happy to carve as much or as little as you wish.

I opted for a large portion together with and extra slice of fat, very unhealthy but absolutely mouth watering. The beef is served with roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and cabbage. Should you wish other vegetables the menu offers you a choice. Additionally, they are flexible enough to provide you with things not on the menu, for example you can even order bubble and squeak. The food was excellent, the beef succulent, tender and flavoursome; clearly it had been properly hung thereby allowing the flavour to mature and the meat to tenderise naturally.

My friends opted to start with potted shrimps, but all went for the same main course. Dessert was easy, four steamed sponge puddings with custard. Very sweet, moist and filling.

We finished off with some malt whisky.

The overall meal, which included two bottles of Croze Hermitage, four gins, four whiskies and mineral water, came to £275.

Overall Opinion

Definitely one of the more reliable London restaurants, well worth a visit by locals or tourists.


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