On another Sherlockian discussion blog I follow a poster asked,
"Places for SH tourism? my local paper today wrote about London's Baker Street, Meiringen (Switzerland) and Prague(!). Any recommendations for SH places to see?"Well there were, as you may guess, a lot of recommendations.
I suggested Simpson's and a couple others seconded that suggestion.
And all this talk of Simpson's put me in a reminiscing frame of mind about my visit there many years ago.
While in London we made the required visits to most Sherlockian sights and even visited with some notable Holmesians.
We planned an early dinner at Simpson's with a local Sherlockian, and we arrived straight from one of our sight-seeing walks.
I hadn't really known what we were getting into with this planned dinner stop. We weren't that Internet connected back then (1993), so I had not done proper research into menu or dress code.
It had been a fairly warm July day so I had spent the day walking around just in slacks and button down shirt.
The other two gentlemen in our group were of a more professional occupation than myself, so they naturally went around in a jacket as habit.
When we arrived at Simpson's the maitre d' informed us (me) that a jacket was required.
I thought I was going to be out of luck and would have to find something else to do while my fellow travelers enjoyed the food and company at this great establishment.
But alas, as old and experienced as Simpson's is, they were prepared for uncouth travelers like myself (but I do have good table manners).
I wish I could have, and commented so at the time, taken home the jacket they provided because it fit really well and I liked it.
This performance all took place near the entrance to the hallowed establishment.
And once properly attired I was able to start taking in my surroundings.
The first thing I noticed was not the old wood work or ornate trim, but the centuries old aroma of cooked beef, and it was not, to me, an unpleasant aroma at all.
It was indeed an enticing aroma, and if I hadn't already known I was going to have the beef, it would have changed my mine. I felt as if I had arrived at a place that had been doing the same thing over
We were escorted to the Grand Divan for our meal, where the beef was carved right at the table, and served from a silver serving cart and looked much like the picture to the left.
For a Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding loving Yorkshire-man like myself, it was culinary heaven.
We dallied over dinner for quite a while talking with our guest and amongst ourselves, and taking in these historic surroundings.
I was able to purchase for my collection a cup and saucer with their logo on the side, and it sits proudly in my china cabinet.
And the walk back to our hotel in Mayfair, a walk of about two miles, completed an excellent Sherlockian day.
I have not yet been able to return to Simpson's, but it has not yet been removed from my bucket list.
It is interesting to note that included in the list of famous people who have taken a meal at Simpson's; Van Gogh, Charles Dickens William Gladstone, etc, they actually list Sherlock Holmes.
Didn't anyone ever tell them. . . . . . . . . Dr. Watson was with him many times and should be listed also.
I hope you can make the pilgrimage some day.