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Le GavrocheSimpson's-in-the-StrandWheeler's Restaurant« BACK « TO BEGINNING


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Destinations · Europe · united kingdom · London · Where to eat · Legendary


Author: Anothertravelguide.com0 COMMENTS


Simpson's-in-the-Strand, next to the equally legendary Savoy, opened its doors in 1828. The hotel is a London institution that was recently renovated at a cost to the tune of a hundred million pounds. The restaurant is among the oldest in the city, and nothing much has changed in its dining room - there's the same Chippendale furniture, crystal chandeliers and dark panelling that this establishment sported when it was known as Simpson's Grand Divan and attracted customers as a chess club and coffeehouse. Customers included many a luminary like Lord Palmerston and the great Prime Minister Gladstone, and the historic sofas can still be seen on the margins of the hall. The chessboard has been relegated to the status of a memento on the piano, and most diners are seated at tables in the huge dining hall, not on sofas. The atmosphere here is indeed rather stuffy - you feel like you must sit with your back absolutely straight - and the clientele is mostly elderly and quite conservatively dressed. On the other hand, the place at least has not become a tourist trap, as many famous eateries have. The menu at Simpson's-in-the-Strand has barely changed in a century and a half - all ingredients are of British origin - and the principle of the cooking hasn't changed, either; the point is to make use of every part of an animal, from the snout to the tail. The wine list, extensive and rich, includes British wine, which you are unlikely to find anywhere else. The way food is served hasn't changed, either - carts roll up to your table quietly. It's as though the waiters don't want to disturb the vanished chess players' concentration. Roast beef or lamb is recommended - the silver cover will be lifted, you'll be asked what type of cut you like - thick, thin, rosy, well done, with or without fat attached - and the waiter will cut it and present it to you. The only problem is making sure that you've room inside to savour it. Eating is hard work, as we know, and you can also study here - the restaurant offers ninety-minute courses in carving meat... you'll get a real look at authentic English methods for 140 pounds. Everything here is a genuinely English experience - only the waiters mostly aren't Londoners but hail from abroad, as does much of the staff in today's British restaurants. Our waiter admitted to being French - perhaps that's why he doesn't recommend the cake with sugar syrup that's made according to a recipe from Queen Victoria's reign.

100 Strand London WC2R 0EW
Tel: 0844 567 6489



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