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#204 Simpson’s-in-the-Strand

February 18, 2011
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When we have finished at the police-station I think that something nutritious at Simpson’s would not be out of place.”
Sherlock Holmes in ‘The Adventure of the Dying Detective’, Arthur Conan Doyle, 1913

Simpsons in all its ever-so-slightly frazzled grandeur. Slight blurriness caused, as always, by rushing the shot. Because I don't want to look like a massive chav who snaps pictures wherever he goes.

Ah, Simpsons. Hunched grumpily on the Strand, next to the Savoy, it’s a restaurant that seems intent on forgetting anything as gauche and ghastly as the 20th century ever took place.

Breakfast in Simpsons is a special ritual. In the mornings it’s always four-fifths empty, with a library hush. Waiters glide around in tails, distributing unfeasible meat products, some of which are so old-fashioned they’ve taken a ride all the way round the zeitgeist merry-go-round and are cool again. At the back of the hall, there’s a flash of high Victorian whimsy: a dark painting depicts not some sclerotic peer or well-fattened dairy beast, but an illustration from the nursery rhyme ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’, showing the dainty dish of blackbird pie being set before the king.

These days, you can get a ‘continental breakfast’ of fresh fruit (which Mrs Brown partook of), but it’s really all about the Ten Deadly Sins, a breakfast dish so unhealthy it actually gives gout to anyone within a ten foot radius. This is the Full English breakfast taken to extremes – as well as the usual suspects of back bacon, sausage, eggs, beans and so on, the numbers are rounded out by black pudding and (unusually but tastily) devilled kidneys. I like to think previous patrons Dickens and Disraeli would have approved.

Simpsons do a mean kedgeree too – not so much the breakfast of champions, as the breakfast of post captains and rear-admirals. Let’s hope nothing comes along to disturb Simpson’s weighty slumber, and that it’ll continue to serve up anachronistic breakfasts long after the 21st Century’s been and gone.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 18, 2011 3:46 pm

    Mmm, anachronistic breakfast!

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