After a super holiday in Devon, I was looking for somewhere to stop for lunch on the way back to the North West. Having held a star from our precious tyre munching inspectors for over fifteen years, and also being renowned as a child friendly venue, Simpsons seemed like a sensible choice. It was here I ventured for Friday lunch with my wife and young daughter.
Like many city based venues, parking is limited so we pre-planned to park at a pay and display car park a short walk away. On arrival you could instantly tell this is a high class venue; we were welcomed warmly, coats were taken and although there is the option to sit in the lounge, we opted to go straight through to our table. The restaurant has been refurbished in the past couple of years and that's clear to see; the dining room is light, airy and modern. It was also great to see other children dining and there was no problem whatsoever from any of the staff with our young daughter, in fact quite the opposite, they all made a real effort with her.
There's a set lunch menu available as well as a tasting menu, but for us the carte seemed a sensible choice. After some high quality nibbles and very tasty bread, lunch began for me with the duck egg served in a bowl of liquidly loveliness. It was absolutely delicious; I loved it. My wife enjoyed her roasted quail equally as much and my daughter gleefully tucked in to some very tasty macaroni cheese (it's a three course menu for kids here). It's safe to say the starters were an absolute hit.
My main course of beef cheek wasn't quite as stellar, but still a very good dish. The beef was beautifully cooked and tasted great, I just found the dish as a whole a little bit uninspired. My wife did enjoy her duck main though and of course, my daughter enjoyed her fish goujons and chips too.
After a tasty pre-dessert of oranges and cream, the final course was upon us. Both my wife and I opted for the chocolate fondant, unfortunately (and unexpectedly), it was a poor dessert. For both of us, the fondant was grainy on the outside and like water in the middle, it just wasn't right. I could perhaps have sent it back but rather than create a scene I kept my mouth shut on this occasion. It's a shame, but these things happen and I'm sure it's usually not like that. On the plus side, my daughter's Eton mess was a lot tastier.
I should mention at this point that service throughout was excellent from a variety of waiters; it really helped make this a top draw experience and I have to make special mention again of how friendly and staff were with our young daughter. The only thing I could fault was not being asked for drinks when we arrived; I had to request these when ordering the food which was slightly peculiar but a minor oversight in the grand scheme of things. And admittedly, there was a minor panic from the staff when my wife and daughter where still visiting the toilet when the mains were due to be delivered, but fortunately they returned quickly.
Lunch finished with some decent coffee and a super "pick and mix" bag of petit fours; it's always nice to see a restaurant make an effort with the p4's and Simpsons certainly do; they were delicious as well.
And that was pretty much that. Overall, this is an excellent restaurant operating at a high level. The food is good, the service even better and although I wouldn't say the price we paid represented excellent value, I can think of few better places in the country to enjoy a top quality family friendly lunch.
|Ratings||Michelin Guide||AA Guide||Good Food Guide|
|At time of review||7|