Harden's survey result
“Totally worth the trip… and also great value for money” – this “magnificent” Edwardian villa of over a quarter century’s standing is one of Birmingham’s most firmly rooted culinary attractions. One or two sceptics feel that “it is still recovering from its decision to adopt a more casual-dining look” (“I would have expected proper table linen for the very high prices”), but there’s been no change in the scale of ambition of the cuisine – be it from the three-course menu for £75, or eight-course taster menu for £95 – and overall it maintains its ratings as one of the city’s top dining destinations.
A Midlands institution which has spent 25 years at the top of the gastronomic tree – this Edwardian villa is still the place to go for “a real treat” with “first class food” and “outstanding service” from “wonderful staff”. A number of long-time customers rather regret the change to a simpler format: “the relaxed formal restaurant has been replaced by an OK Brasserie” – “…come on Simpsons, put back the white tablecloths!”
This Edwardian villa in Edgbaston continues to split views ever since its major makeover in mid-2015, which gave it more of a brasserie feel, and the changes can still come as “a bit of a shock: everything but the exterior was different, with an interior high on echo and to be honest not particularly comfortable”. When it comes to the overall verdict doubters feel the transformation represents “a bizarre dumbing down”, but – notwithstanding the change of approach – most reporters feel that the “high quality of its ingredients”, “skillful cooking” and “innovative” style leads to a “beautiful” all-round gastronomic experience.
This “quiet and discreet” Edwardian villa in Edgbaston divides opinion since its major makeover in mid-2015, which has “increased space” and “given it more of a brasserie feel”. Critics feel that “this once classy Georgian gem has had its heart ripped out with its new, contemporary Scandinavian look” (but “downgrading the ambience hasn’t been match by lower prices!”), and say that “while the food is good it doesn’t show the flair of years gone by”. For fans though, “it just gets it right time after time” with “delightful and innovative (if expensive) cuisine”.
Simpsons Restaurant Diner Reviews
"The restaurant suggested that we might like to arrive early for a glass of bubbly, so we chose a peerless Dom Pérignon, at least we are pretty sure that’s what we were served, as, like all the other wines we had, there was no sign of a bottle. We would have preferred to have gone straight to our table but this seemed frowned upon because we were early! The dining room was modern although slightly canteen-like but thankfully there was no music. Our tasting menu began with the usual round of snacks, a light leek oil and turnip broth and a slightly fishy Simpsons truffle. Then came cured salmon which was irregular in its tenderness, perhaps because of its thickness, with a nice ginger stock sauce and some dill oil, and sourdough bread and a swirl that was more like pastry intervened before the next fish course. A nice roasted shrimp sauce came with a middling scallop and very good roasted fennel and sea herbs. The carrot broth was interesting in the way the tastes combined in the main, but the black garlic was overdone and only the meaty hen of the woods mushroom managed to stand up to it fully while the disappointing cheese dumpling and the carrot failed to do so. The variable service was illustrated by the plates of pollock being placed in front of us completely askew. The fish was not bad but had clearly been water-bathed, the cep cream was good but the burnt cauliflower was not convincing. Our main was equally uneven with the basically nice Cornish lamb varying from pink to overcooked, the whey onions very good, the pickled walnut purée wanting, the spinach leaf fine, and the best element by far a deep-fat fried lamb rissole which put everything else on the menu in the shade. Our palate cleanser, a well assembled oatmeal ice cream crumble, was named “2020”, perhaps a clever hint of the move from the old year to the new. The dessert was fine - a “Ferrero Rocher” délice with Gianduja ice cream and crackers, although it was almost too much at the end of an eight-course tasting menu. We came away with the distinct feeling that we had been in a time-warp and that this dining experience might have been acceptable ten or fifteen years ago but was no longer equal to the competition in 2019."
|Wine per bottle||£22.50|
20 Highfield Road, Birmingham, B15 3DU
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2 pm, 7 pm‑9 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2 pm, 7 pm‑9 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2 pm, 7 pm‑9 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2 pm, 7 pm‑9 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑2 pm, 7 pm‑9 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑3 pm|