Redesigned in 2017 by Robert Angell Design International, the restoration of Simpsons in the Strand paid respect to the heritage of this stunning historical building. A brush of lightness has been brought to the Grand Divan dining room and the retention of the original ceiling and wall panelling has preserved the restaurant’s distinctive character. The original chequerboard mosaic entranceway is a nod to the heritage of Simpson’s as the home of British chess, while modern inflections in the Grand Divan, such as dark green banquettes and ruby red dining chairs are combined with mirrors and crystal chandeliers to create a truly magnificent space.
A stalwart on London’s restaurant map, the team at Simpson’s is headed up by General Manager, Anne Lomas. The restaurant’s first female General Manager and Head Sommelier, Anne has brought a fresh expertise to Simpson’s and along with her team, ensures that every meal is turned into an experience.
The new Bill of Fare at Simpson’s offers a contemporary take on the classic British dishes for which it has become so well-loved. Showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients and quality produce of the British Isles, the menu features the likes of steamed Steak & Kidney suet pudding and hearty Lord Woolton pie alongside overlooked delicacies such as smoked Lincolnshire eel and larder staples like Gentleman’s Relish, Pease Pudding, and Potted Shrimp.
Simpson’s in the Strand is one of London’s only restaurants to employ a Master Carver, a centuries-old position that has been held by Manzil Diniz for fifteen years. During the founding years of Simpson’s as a chess club, meals were served beneath silver-domed cloches and silently wheeled to the table on an antique trolley for minimal disturbance to chess player’s concentration. Today, guests can choose daily from 28-day dry Roast rib of Scottish Beef or Daphne’s Welsh Lamb, carved at the table by the Master Carver, and served with slow roasted carrots, beef fat roasted potatoes, gravy, horseradish sauce and Yorkshire pudding.
Further examples from the menu include:
Yorkshire fishcakes, lemon gribiche sauce, fermented fennel, puffed capers & smoked Lincolnshire eel | £15
Pulled ham hock & chicken terrine, pease pudding fritter, pickled carrots, radish & Simpson’s house dressing | £13
Smoked haddock & salmon pie, Scottish mussels, prawns topped with gratinated potato & Rebellion cheese | £19
Barley & cauliflower cheese, grilled Portobello mushroom, London Howard cheese & pickled walnut purée | £19
Free range Blythburg pork belly & braised cheek, burnt apple sauce purée, crackling & mustard jus | £28
8oz Buccleuch Fillet steak 28 day aged British beef, watercress & grilled mushroom £38
Grilled Dover sole or Meunière served with spinach, brown butter, lemon & capers £42
The dessert menu at Simpson’s features British puddings such as Trifle and Sticky Toffee Date Pudding, executed with elegance and refinement. A magnificent Baked Alaska is Simpson’s signature pudding: sea buckthorn sorbet, hazelnut ice cream, caramelised white chocolate encased in billowing plumes of meringue.
At Simpson’s in the Strand, guests can peruse an extensive selection of hand-chosen wines and beverages, showcased in spectacular displays within the Grand Divan. Created by Anne Lomas, the drinks menu emphasises high quality British wine producers and an impressive craft beer selection sourced from the best breweries throughout Great Britain.
For special events and celebrations, Simpson's in the Strand offers two beautiful spaces, the West Room and the Regency Room, which can both be arranged and dressed to specific requirements. Located on the first floor, The West Room is a light, elegant space featuring decorative plaster friezes and a high domed ceiling. Able to accommodate up to 180 guests, the room is perfect for all kinds of events, from private dinners and boardroom meetings to dinner dances and receptions. With huge Waterford crystal chandeliers, decorative oil paintings and a capacity of 250, The Regency Room is equally suited to large lively celebrations and more conventional affairs.
Simpson’s in the Strand also hosts its own unique events. Hosted by the restaurant’s expert master carvers, the regular carvery masterclasses offer the chance to learn how to carve meat the traditional way, and to learn the best practices for cooking, selecting and presenting meat. The masterclass also includes a kitchen tour through the iconic Simpson’s in the Strand kitchen and a three-course meal where guests can show off their newfound carving skills to friends and family.
Fondly praised by its patrons, the restaurant is steeped in countless illustrious stories: Dickens, Wodehouse and Arthur Conan Doyle all dined at Simpson’s regularly and the Grand Divan crept into their fiction, providing a backdrop to many literary encounters. Simpson’s was also a frequent haunt of Winston Churchill and his favourite table can be found next to the fireplace at the far end of the restaurant. To honour this esteemed regular diner, British cartoonist and Private Eye contributor, Zoom Rockman has been commissioned to produce six pieces of satirical art inspired by the former Prime Minister which will be displayed on the walls of the Grand Divan throughout the year.
Dining at Simpson’s in the Strand lends elegance and gravitas to life’s milestones and stories. For 190 years, celebration suppers, business lunches and treasured family gatherings have all been held within Simpson’s historic walls. Simpson’s is testament to its illustrious past and a cherished experience for generations to come.
Simpson’s in the Strand, 100 Strand, London, WC2R 0EW
T: 020 7420 2111
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: @Simpsons1828
NOTES TO THE EDITORS
History of Simpson’s in the Strand
In 1828, Samuel Reiss opened the Grand Cigar Divan on the site of the Fountain Tavern, which had been the home of the famous literary association, the Kit Kat Club.
The establishment soon developed as a coffee house and chess club, where gentlemen smoked cigars with their coffee, browsed over the daily journals and newspapers, indulged in lengthy conversations about the politics of the day and played chess, sitting on comfortable divans or sofas.
In 1848 Mr Reiss was joined by noted caterer John Simpson. Together they enlarged the building and renamed it “Simpson’s Grand Divan Tavern”. Thanks to the quality of the food, wines and beers introduced by John Simpson, the restaurant became a firm favourite with London’s epicureans. John Simpson introduced the practice of wheeling the large joints of meat on silver dinner trolleys to each table and carving them in front of the diners. Chess-players could then be served at their tables, without interrupting the game.
In 1898 Richard D’Oyly Carte, the man behind The Savoy, acquired Simpson’s, as part of a larger Savoy project to expand the hotel on the Strand side. Simpson’s was closed in 1903, for redevelopment as part of The Savoy’s East Block, and re-opened in 1904, entirely rebuilt, under the name Simpson’s-in-the-Strand, Grand Divan Tavern.
Anne Lomas, general manager
Anne Lomas began working in hospitality by chance aged 18; when travelling in New Zealand she took a job at a wine bar and quickly rose to manager.
Following this, Anne moved to London where she worked at Nicolas Wine Merchant in Canary Wharf, before stepping up to take on the role of Head Sommelier at Roast when the opportunity arose. She credits Roast for introducing her to the English wine industry, something she is extremely passionate about. From there Anne went on to 45 Park Lane and then to Shangri-La at the Shard, where she was Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier of the TING Restaurant and Lounge.
Thirty-five years after women were first allowed to dine at Simpson’s, Anne became the first female General Manager. Now she brings her expertise to Simpson’s in the Strand and is excited to lead a team who are as keen as she is to share an experience with diners, rather than just food on a plate. She also curates the drinks offering at Simpson’s, which includes English sparkling wines and locally-made gins.
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