From the “Great British Grill” page, I had the South Coast Dover Sole meunière (£46), a light and moist fillet served with brown butter sauce, parsley and lemon. The soft flesh of the fish was sumptuous, and the tangy nature of the sauce meant that you never tired of enjoying the dish. The sides of cauliflower cheese (£5) and creamy mash potato (£7), were just as good. My dining partner joined his very generous portion of grilled Scottish halibut (£45) with a helping of triple cooked chips and fine beans and shallots (both £5), and we went quiet in awe of what had been put before us. Matt Tsistrakis and his team had certainly pulled out all the stops to make this a truly memorable occasion.
At Simpson’s in the Strand, the wine list is not cheap, but there is an ample range to satisfy the fussiest of connoisseurs. We accompanied our meal with a couple of glasses of the citrusy 2018 white Vite Colte, Gavi di Gavi from Piedmont, Northern Italy, (costing £15 each), that turned out to be an ideal match our marine dishes.
With just enough space left for dessert, we could not have done Simpson’s in the Strand justice without looking at the “Puddings”. The Simpson’s chocolate orange and banoffee profiteroles all looked so inviting, but it was the sweet sticky toffee pudding with Tahitian vanilla ice cream (£10) that won me over, and it didn’t disappoint. My guest was after a bit more of a “spectacle” for his sweet, so the Mint choc chip baked Alaska (£10) was to provide just that.
A colleague of our host arrived with a trolley housing a gas burner and a small saucepan filled with Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky. Igniting the liquid to burn off the alcohol, and swirling it around with the blue flames in full view, he proceeded to give a rundown of the dessert, before dousing the whisky on the warm outer meringue layer with gold leaf flakes, that was doing a great job of protecting the cool ice cream interior. It was a show not to be missed, and even had fellow visitors mesmerised.
Before it was time to leave, Simpson’s in the Strand set us a challenge – to guess what the small sugary cubes were that they had placed on the table. They resembled marzipan or could have been something made with chestnuts, but neither of us could guess what it was. The answer was then revealed by our host after a few clues. It turned out to be fudge made with Earl Grey tea, a nod to the restaurant’s long British heritage. And with that, it was time to make our way back to the lobby and to reflect on what had been a truly fabulous evening.
Summary: It’s been a wise move by Simpson’s in the Strand to introduce the new menu, and there has clearly been a lot of thought that has gone into it. If you’re after a quintessentially English culinary experience on one of the most iconic streets in London, coupled with exceptional service and surroundings steeped in history, then this eatery is definitely worth checking out.
Simpson’s in the Strand – Where and How?
Simpson’s in the Strand is located at 100 Strand, London WC2R 0EW, United Kingdom. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk.
To view the Bill of Fare lunch and dinner menu, visit www.simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk/bill-of-fare/lunch-dinner.
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