Simpson’s-in-the-Strand goes back to the future

Simpson’s-in-the-Strand – where Dickens and Shaw, Gladstone and Disraeli, Conan Doyle and PG Wodehouse all feasted – will close in April for an overhaul designed to reclaim its status as one of London’s leading restaurants.

Founded in 1828 as the Grand Cigar Divan coffee house and chess club, it became famous for its lavish servings of beef and mutton under caterer John Simpson, who joined 20 years later.

In recent years though, this temple to roast beef has declined into “a shadow of its former self”, according to the Harden’s Survey: “Pity the tourists who go believing it’s the home of real English cooking”.

Now owned with the Savoy next door by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, part of the French AccorHotels group, Simpson’s will be restored to give it the feel of a comfortable and opulent stately home in the Edwardian era.

There will be an entirely new menu of “traditional British fare with a contemporary twist – and patrons will recognise the original carving trolleys from 1848, from which the famed roast beef will still be served, tableside, as a nod to tradition”.

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