Friday, September 29, 2006

Simpsons (on Cornhill), 28 September 2006

I love Simpsons. It's an old gentleman's chop house, with good old fashioned English food. You sit in old wooden booths that seat six and you are more than likely going to have to share it. It's full of City types reliving their boarding school days - gammon followed by jam roly poly for example.

I always end up having the following when I go, despite being sorely tempted by just about everything else: chump chop with an egg on top, bubble and squeak, spinach and cauliflower cheese. With red wine in varying quantities. If there is time (and space) after that, either apple pie and custard, or stewed cheese on toast. Stewed cheese is best ordered when sharing a booth with Americans - the look of horror on their faces at your 'dessert' is brilliant and always makes me chuckle.

Other options are full roast dinner, steak and kidney pudding, oxtail stew, fisherman's pie, gammon, mixed grill, steak... you get the idea.

Simpsons have recently introduced two vegetarian options onto the menu and have started allowing table bookings.

Four of us had main courses and lots of veggie side dishes, a bottle of wine and a couple of soft drinks for £53.

Rating - 7/10
38 1/2 Cornhill
Ballcourt EC3
Tel: 020 7626 9985

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Livebait, Covent Garden 25 September 2006

I've been to Livebait before and was not impressed, but Ruth had a £15 off voucher and has been a few times so we gave it a go again. This time the aircon was not set to 'Blast Freezer' - hurrah. They charge you £1 for bread and a tiny pot of butter and fish pate, which I think is rather unfair. I hate cover charges. But, the food itself was good, and the service not bad either, although as it was a Monday it was pretty quiet.

I had Cajun fishcakes, Ruth had dim sum, then we both had Thai red fish curry. A glass of good white wine each (chenin blanc from SA), water and tea/coffees, less £15 voucher, plus service charge (automatically added to the bill - grr again) all came to £53.

Rating - 6.5/10

21 Wellington Street London WC2E 7DN
Tel: 020 7836 7161

Monday, September 04, 2006

Rules, Covent Garden, 25 August

Rules bills itself as London's oldest restaurant, but rest assured the toilets have seen a refit since they opened in 1798. It's the place to go if you are a certified carnivore, as they have an estate in Teeside supplying them with game in season. We were rather disappointed though as we visited after the Glorious 12th but there was still no grouse on the menu!

There were however things like Gloucestershire Old Spot Pork Belly with Crackling, Loch Duart Salmon, Highland Venison, Roast Rack of West Devon Lamb and Grilled Bream & Cornish Scallops.

We had:

Fuller's draught London Pride ale in silver tankards
Warm Wiltshire Rabbit Salad with Black Pudding,Globe Artichoke & Ham

Cornish Mussels with white wine
Irish Grass Fed Beef Matured for 28 Days. Rump Steak,Wild Mushrooms & Red Wine

Steak & Kidney & Oyster Pudding with Green Beans

Samphire, & Chestnut Mushrooms
Buttered New Potatoes
Leaf Spinach
Viu Manent Merlot Colchagua Valley (Chile) 2004
Queen of Puddings with Hot Apricot Sauce
Warm Chocolate Fondant with Pistachio Ice Cream
Pudding Wine Chateau Rolland Barsac (Sauternes) 2001 (glass)
Brandy & Port

All this came to £160

The London Pride is nothing like the gnats piss they serve in the City. An excellent drop. My rabbit salad had a superb balance of flavours (if that isn't too poncey a way of putting it, but it did). Magoo hoovered up his mussels and used up all the left over bread for the juice, so I presume that met with requirements. His steak, kidney and oyster pudding has often been fondly recalled over the past week or so as well. I was pleased to see samphire on the menu, it's a great veggie and makes me think of seaside summer holidays! The Irish beef was OK, but I get to eat a lot of good beef so it would have to be pretty special to stand out. (The Rules website says that they get in Belted Galloway beef every so often, so that could be worth checking out. ) The merlot was smooth and flavoursome, and good value at £20.

Queen of puddings was -oh!- to die for. Have one! Magoo found the chocolate tart rather hard going after his steak and kidney pudding, pastry possibly a little on the heavy side. Pudding wine, which I have got rather addicted to recently, the perfect light, honeyish slightly floral complement to my pud.

Service - not bad, a little slow in places but polite and helpful. We did not feel rushed.
Venue - go see it, imagine you were there when Dickens or Betjemen was, with a haze of cigar smoke obscuring the stag's crowns and old portraits of bygone personages, while you quietly check out the other clientele in the enormous mirrors.

Rating 8.5/10
020 7836 5314
35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7LB

Friday, September 01, 2006


Welcome to blokeswotlunch. We take an afternoon off quarterly to give Lunch the full attention it deserves, and in between investigate the worthwhile options you can cram into an hour or so. Feel free to leave comments or suggestions of good nosh venues. We don't believe in small gourmet portions. We do believe in trying as much of the drinks menu as possible. If there is a stuffed deer's head on the wall, so much the better. Enjoy.