The allure of a kitsch-riddled pleasure palace has always been tough to resist, particularly when alcohol is involved. A boozy wonderland of pastel coloured curiosities and a sugar coated flurry of wallet friendly cocktails, Simmons Camden exists as pretty much everything the grown ups told you to keep away from. Ever contrary, of course I had to take a look.
The entrance to this infamous pleasure palace is slight, and just a stones throw from Mornington Crescent Station. Make your way through the glass paneled frontage and find yourself immersed in a multi-coloured rapture of decorative wonder; although the space is not vast, walls and surfaces have been tastefully adorned in a well curated selection of vintage hangings and stylish wares.
We surveyed our surroundings: dressed from head to toe in decorative foliage, the space is characterised by 70's style wallpaper and mismatched lampshades, hanging from the ceiling and taking pride of place upon table tops. There is no doubt about it - Simmons Camden is the ultimate aesthetic escape.
The Atmosphere & Clientele:
We arrived on a Wednesday evening, and were met by a bustling crowd as diverse as the surroundings. A renowned haven for sweet-toothed suppers and pocket wary booze hounds, their target audience is broad: gaggles of girls sat beside suited professionals, catching a quick cocktail after work, whilst half cut couples were scattered throughout space. It was also comforting to see an equal gender spread throughout our visit.
Jason was our cocktail waiter for the evening, a charming fellow whose piercing blue eyes were almost as impressive as his craft. Quick as a flash he'd deliver beverages straight to our table, seizing the opportunity to hang around for a chat. The atmosphere was alive and kicking - you can always count on Simmons to get your night off to a cracking start.
The five-hour-happy-hour deals (4pm to 9pm from Sunday through to Friday) at Simmons are a thing of wonder, and it will come as no surprise to hear that moderation is a word barely uttered. Arriving on time for our 7pm reservation, we had a full one hundred and twenty minutes to booze ourselves silly on a selection of their spectacular liquid creations.
First up: two glasses of Long Island Iced Tea. A happy blend of vodka, gin, tequila, rum and Cointreau over ice and cola, this was a mighty start to an evening of shenanigans. We supped our way through a double dose of the My Tie (a heady mix of numerous rums, Orgeat syrup, Cointreau and pineapple juice with a cheeky twist of lime) and two variations of their Margarita, rounding off the night with a cheeky bitta' Sex With A Lad, a simple but ever so effective mix of vodka, peach Schnapps, cranberry juice and orange juice. The Sex With A Lad did us nicely, until our obligatory one-for-the-road: this one took the form of the Jamble, a beautifully crafted blend of gin, Chambord, fresh raspberries, raspberry jam and cranberry juice. Master mixologist: we salute you.
There was absolutely nothing mediocre about our evening at Simmons Camden. Jason kept us well watered throughout our visit, and we had a jolly good time taking in the kitsch wares that surrounded us - and that's not to mention the liquid fare. Simmons, you did good.