Simpsons, I’ve missed you during lockdown.
I’ve missed the airy, smart elegance of your restaurant and its relaxed but attentive service.
I’ve missed sitting on your terrace sipping coffee and eating petit fours after lunch.
I’ve missed the buzz of the restaurant and the sense of occasion when I’m eating there.
But, most of all, I’ve missed your food – those dishes prepared with great skill and understanding and delivering delightful surprises.
As I’ve reclined lazily in the sun in my garden, I’ve dreamed of your black olive tapenade rolls – a fixture on your menu for as long as I can remember and one of the best chunks of bread I’ve eaten.
Their inclusion in the recently-launched Simpsons At Home service was, thus, especially thrilling.
Each week, Michelin-starred Simpsons chefs create three menus.
Customers get time-slots on Fridays and Saturdays to collect their hamper from the restaurant or deliveries are available.
There are simple instructions to warm through ingredients, when necessary, ready to plate-up and eat.
It’s all very very simple – and a great way to enjoy at least the food part of the Simpsons experience.
The rolls were as good as always – the salty tang of the tapenade cutting through the richness of the bread.
Afterwards came a gorgeous starter of summer vegetables – cooked precisely – with salad leaves and quails’ eggs that retained the correct level of softness.
This was deftly brought together by a punchy hazelnut and truffle dressing – the sweetness of the nuts and funkiness of the fungus perfectly balanced.
A cube of tender, rich pork belly followed, topped with smoked bacon and black pudding crumb.
There were Jersey royal spuds and tenderstem broccoli.
An onion and apple puree was silky and deep in flavour.
The mustard sauce, with just the right amount of heat, was savoury and satisfying.
The strawberry trifle that concluded the meal was everything a trifle should be – the layers perfectly defined and delivering flavour, texture and absolute satisfaction.
Throughout, this was a meal that reminded me why Simpsons has retained its star for more than two decades.
It’s a fabulous way to continue to enjoy a flavour of the restaurant in these difficult times.
Even if my plating-up isn’t quite as skilled as that of the Simpsons brigade.
The menus are priced around £40.
For more details go to https://www.simpsonsrestaurant.co.uk/simpsons-at-home/
Extras such as pastries, extra rolls and cheeses are available.
Menus are also available from Michelin-starred The Cross in Kenilworth and from Masterchef: The Professionals winner Stu Deeley.
You’ll find links to The Cross and Stu Deeley from the website above.