It’s no secret that lockdown is crippling for the hospitality industry and the Midlands is no exception. With social distancing set to hamper the ability of restaurants to make ends meet even post-lockdown, some of our favourite haunts have been busy inventing new ways to survive. Home delivery services are becoming a thing even for establishments that are ordinarily a million miles from takeaway territory like Simpsons.
For the record, we miss Simpsons a lot. Any occasion, any excuse and you’ll find us enthusiastically tearing into a warm tapenade roll. We missed out on the sell out first week of their At Home service, but got in quick for week two choosing the classic menu. There’s a lighter summer menu and a veggie option too.
The menu was three-courses plus the beloved tapenade rolls which we promised our children they could have – a decision we regretted it immediately. Word to the wise – you can order extra.
First up was halloumi, heritage tomatoes and green salad with a tomato dressing. All the prep had been done by the chefs in the kitchen i.e. Heritage tomatoes had been freed from their skin and the tomato dressing was a punchy, tangy little number that we wouldn’t have known how to create at home. Aside from grilling the halloumi, it was an assembly job and totally delicious. The ingredients were ones we use at home all the time, never achieving these results and I guess that’s the point.
Next up to the pass (our battered worktop) was lamb shank, cracked wheat with pine nuts, mint and pomegranate seeds, sauce and broccoli. The lamb shank came pre-cooked and was a doddle to reheat in the oven. Cracked wheat, broccoli and sauce all needed a gentle reheat. The lamb was so tender it fell off the bone, the cracked wheat which never normally gets us salivating was actually full of flavour with zingy mint and bursts of sweet pomegranate. Broccoli was broccoli. We eat it everyday and can’t get too excited about it. The rich lamb sauce with chucks of apricot on the other hand was incredible. We also followed the chef’s tip on the instruction card which was to brush the lamb with honey. Lovely.
Luckily, dessert was a simple assembly job again as we’d had a couple of drinks! Meringue, vanilla cream and strawberries in a light fruity elderflower and strawberry coulis. What’s not to love?
Would we do it again? Absolutely. Apart from anything else it felt like an occasion. We wheeled out the best china, lit some candles and got into a going out mind set. We felt a bit of pressure – not because it’s difficult, it’s not – but because we didn’t want to mess it up. We advise watching head chef, Leo’s how to video. It’s not like being in a restaurant – there’s washing up for a start – but it was obviously miles better than anything we could rustle up at home and made for a really fun special evening. In lockdown, that’s winning.
Cost: Three courses from £39 pp.
When: Order on Monday morning for delivery the following Fri/Sat.