On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
WE SLUMMED around with Holmes and Watson yesterday at Goldini’s Italian Restaurant. One restaurant we visit today was a favorite of the world’s greatest consulting detective and his chronicler. Another also befitted their class.
Simpson’s started simply enough as a cigar store on The Strand. However, it soon evolved into an eating establishment suitable for Holmes, Watson, and others of their class. In fact, it became their favorite.
In “The Adventure of the Illustrious Client,” Watson notes, “I met him by appointment that evening at Simpson’s, where, sitting at a small table in the front window, and looking down at the rushing stream of life on the Strand, he told me something of what had passed.”
Then later in the same adventure: “I did not see Holmes again until the following evening, when we dined once more at our Strand restaurant.”
At the successful conclusion of “The Adventure of the Dying Detective,” Holmes says, “When we have finished at the police-station, I think that something nutritious at Simpson’s would not be out of place.”
The establishment has undergone considerable enhancements, from Simpson’s Cigar Divan, Tavern & Divan, and Simpsons-on-the-Strand, to today’s Simpson’s in the Strand.
Another London eatery up to a proper gentleman’s standards would have been The Holborn Restaurant, 129 Kingsway. It was described in an 1880 advertisement as “one of the sights and one of the comforts of London” with “attractions of the chief Parisian establishments with the quiet and order essential to English custom.”
In The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Klinger cites a Sherlockian scholar having “a less benign view, describing the restaurant architecturally as ‘Victorian classicism at its worst.’ ” On the other hand, he also cites that the place was a favored establishment of the Prince of Wales. Alas, the Holborn was demolished in 1955.
I would have had the Consomme with Italian Paste, Whitebait, and Half Roast Chicken and Ham. I’d have passed on an Entree; this, despite a Holmes-era waiter’s comment, “that something must be the matter… for most people at the Holborn eat their dinner steadily through.” ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2017