Simpson’s flogs off the family silver

One of the world’s most famous and traditional dining rooms, Simpson’s in the Strand, is to auction off the silver carving trolleys that have symbolised its unique role in British culinary history for more than 170 years – a move that signals the end of an era.

The sale of thousands of items, including crystal chandeliers, furniture, cutlery and Wedgwood crockery, was announced by Simpson’s long-time owners, the Savoy hotel next door. The restaurant is listed as “temporarily closed”, with the Savoy hinting that change is afoot.

The announcement read: “On 2nd and 3rd August 2023, The Savoy is pleased to be offering loyal patrons and champions of Simpson’s in the Strand a rare opportunity to acquire a curated list of furnishings and artefacts that have decorated the historical site. While the stories, history and foundation of Simpson’s remain, a select few items will be available to purchase as it enters a new chapter.

As one of London’s most renowned luxury destinations, Simpson’s in the Strand has been captivating guests since 1828. From the exceptional cuisine to extraordinary hospitality, Simpson’s has long been a beacon of sophistication and class. The Savoy will be affording buyers a chance to own a piece of this legendary establishment and eagerly awaits the opportunity to share exciting the plans for its future.”

The restaurant has struggled in recent years to remain relevant, despite a lavish relaunch in 2017. The latest Harden’s guide remarked that it was hard to recommend other than as “a slam dunk for entertaining foreigners on business“.

Simpson’s was originally founded as a smoking room and coffee house, and became an important meeting place for chess aficionados. The famous carving trolleys were introduced in 1848 to avoid disturbing players mid-game.

The venue was acquired by the Savoy in 1898, which was itself eventually taken over by Saudi billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal in 2004, to be managed by his Canadian affiliate, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts.

It is understood that a chef has been lined up to head a new venture on the site. Gordon Ramsay, who currently operates three restaurants in the Savoy, has apparently ruled himself out.

The auction will be webcast live from 10.30 each day at with online bids accepted from registered participants.

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