Barely a mile from Birmingham city centre, on the Calthorpe Estate in Edgbaston and in a conservation area, Simpsons's owners, Andreas and Alison Antona have adapted a handsome Grade II-listed house in which to set up their enterprise, one of the focal points of which is the dining room, with seventy covers. There is also an extremely elegant private dining room which comfortably seats up to eighteen.
From the kitchen, presided over by Chef Patron Andreas Antona, French-based dishes emerge with heart-warming precision, works of art created with skill and panache. A five star table - and the fact that they won a Michelin star in 2006 and were also best restaurant at Taste of Birmingham 2006-2007 - demands only the best ingredients and with the best beef from Scotland, the freshest of fish and fine produce from Paris via the Rungis market, standards are kept high.
There are two set lunch menus and one for dinner, with à la carte also available. Set lunch dishes could include loin of monkfish with green beans, feta, radish, chickpeas and tapenade; slow-cooked Cotswold white chicken, followed by lemon cake, coconut sorbet and fresh raspberries.
La Carte offers starters of native Cornish lobster with a salad of summer vegetables and coral mayonnaise, or seared hand-dived Ross Shire scallops with an emulsion of cocos de paimpol, chorizo, squid, tomato and parsley, from a list of around five. Fish features strongly with fillet of turbot, sucrine lettuce, parsley roots, baby ratte potatoes, girolles and summer truffle chicken jus.
However, possibly the most stirring section of the menu is kept for meat, game and poultry, starting with cep and quail tart with salad of green beans, artichokes, roquette and hazelnut vinaigrette. Following a dish of such elegance is not the easiest of tasks, but the roast Cornish lamb with semi-dried apricots, piquillo peppers, almonds, cracked wheat, preserved lemons and ras el hanout jus makes a pretty good pass at it.
Bemused by this time into a rosy glow of good living it may be a trifle difficult to concentrate on the desserts, all six of them with cheese dishes in support, but these little problems have to be addressed and where better to start than with the toffee soufflé, with banana and lime ice cream, or a cherry and pistachio cake with morello cherry sorbet.
Simpsons has a carefully chosen wine list. Prior reference on line will enable you to have some advance intelligence with which to make the final selection on the day.
Within the workmanlike attractions of the Cookery School there is a boutique where a tasteful range of gifts is always on display. And remember that if the whole experience proves pleasantly exhausting there is a choice of four bedrooms, each with its own character, names of which are a good guide, with French, Venetian, Oriental or Colonial to suit the mood.
For further information about this delightful spot so close to the centre of Birmingham, and yet seemingly so far removed, visit their Website