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Simpson's in the Strand to re-open on 10 July 2017

Publish Date: 06-Jul-2017

London Thursday, July 06, 2017

Following an elegant restoration, the iconic Simpson’s in the Strand is delighted to announce it will re-open its doors on Monday 10 July 2017.

The restaurant still occupies the stunning Grade II listed building as it has since 1828, maintaining much of the framework, ceiling and wall panelling as before. The redesign has been carried out by Robert Angell Design International who was keen to develop an experience that respects the 189-year history and heritage of Simpson’s, whilst defining it for the future.

Upon arrival, guests will be greeted by an impressive atrium, framed by stunning deep green walls and stained glass windows. Inside the Grand Divan dining room, mirrors and crystal chandeliers punctuate the space. Long leather banquettes upholstered in English style, in rich bottle green, are offset by bold cerise dining chairs and contribute to the rejuvenation of the room.  Modern touches are balanced by historic details such as the mosaic floor entranceway – a nod to the restaurant’s chess club heritage – and Winston’s Churchill’s favourite table, which can still be found in the same place next to the fireplace at the far end of the restaurant.

With 104 covers, the Grand Divan will remain an open and welcoming space. Simpson’s is excited to welcome a new head chef, William Hemming, who has reimagined the menu, placing new dishes alongside the historic restaurant’s firm favourites. The resulting selection is a combination of the classic and contemporary, much like Simpson’s itself, with a strong focus on produce sourced around the British Isles. Starters include London smoked salmon, with Wildes London zero curd, sea herbs & pickled cucumber and Buccleuch Estate beef tartar, with potted ox cheek & beef dripping. Mains from the Signatures and Grill section of the menu include the Corn-fed chicken breast with lemon verbena, charred sweet corn, broad beans, ox springs pancetta; Pan fried sea trout with Scottish mussels, samphire, cucumber, native kelp broth, beach herbs and Barnsley Chop served with Welsh rarebit, leek fondue, mint & watercress. As well as these, Simpson’s will serve its famous dishes directly from the carving trolley – the Roast rib of beef with Yorkshire pudding, slow roasted carrots, creamed savoy cabbage, duck fat roasted potatoes, gravy, horseradish sauce is a trademark dish.

The dessert menu will feature summer pudding, Simpson’s gooseberry trifle, and a chocolate coffee Knickerbocker Glory, as well as a selection of locally-made cheeses.

New to Simpson’s will be a range of signature products, comprised of condiments such as mustard and horseradish, as well as cheeses, and drinks such as gin and beer. These will be available in the entranceway for guests to buy.

Simpson’s will also feature an extensive beverage list led by general manager and sommelier, Anne Lomas, with an emphasis on British gin, beer and wine. The Knight’s Bar at Simpson’s will serve a new cocktail menu, overseen by renowned head bartender of the American Bar at The Savoy, Erik Lorincz. It features the Simpson’s London Dry Gin and Old Tom Gin, created for the restaurant by the award-winning Blackdown Distillery in West Sussex. The Simpson’s Old Tom Gin is sweetened by botanicals, rather than sugar, using birch sap, black cardamom, liquorice and star anise. 

Within the restaurant, a bespoke cocktail trolley will offer diners the chance to enjoy a Negroni or Martini mixed at their table. Furthermore, Simpson’s will offer a craft beer selection, sourced from the best breweries throughout Great Britain and Ireland. Simpson’s will also be partnering with Ridgeview Wine Estate, a family owned and run winery in East Sussex, and will be featuring many of their wines as part of the extensive list. The Ridgeview Cavendish will be Simpson’s’ signature sparkling wine.

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.

William Hemming, head chef

Born in Pembrokeshire, in South West Wales, William Hemming has been cooking since a young age. He began his career in the kitchen after applying for a job at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. He then spent some time in Berlin where he worked first at the Ritz Carlton, and then at a host of other establishments including as Head Pastry Chef for Kofler and Kompanie.

More recently, William worked as a freelance chef in the UK as well as Germany, Austria and Switzerland at different restaurants and agencies, including King’s Place Events where he was Head Chef. His last role before coming to Simpson’s was at Sky Garden in London, as Executive Sous Chef.

At Simpson’s, William brings his years of expertise and love of local produce to the menu. Having grown up in rural Wales, he developed a real passion and respect for the provenance of the produce. He is excited to work alongside British farmers and producers to maintain the level of quality that Simpson’s is known for, and to put his own stamp on the menu.

Anne Lomas, general manager

Anne Lomas began working in hospitality by chance aged 18, working and managing a wine bar in New Zealand.

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 on to Shangri-La at the Shard, where she was Restaurant Manager and Head Sommelier of the TING Restaurant and Lounge.

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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