Pollen St Social, Berners Tavern, Social Eating House and City Social. Four of London’s best restaurants and four restaurants also owned by celebrity Chef, Jason Atherton. With friends from Australia in town, we thought we’d indulge in one of London’s finest restaurants and so decided to take them to Atherton’s City Social, 24 floors up in Tower 42 and Square Mile’s Restaurant of the Year in 2014.
Tower 42, used to be the old NatWest Tower and was London’s first skyscraper. Planned in 1964 to reach up 197m, it was eventually completed in 1980 reaching 183m, making it the tallest building in the UK until One Canada Water was built. Now it’s currently the 7th. Still, not exactly small and still provides great views over London!
With the restaurant in the heart of London’s financial area and describing itself as providing ‘chic, sophisticated ambience’, we were slightly worried that we’d be surrounded by Bankers and so booked on a weekend when they might not be around. Instead we were surrounded by dates and other celebratory dinners. Aside from a very cute couple, excitedly celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary, the crowd was relatively young (the median was slightly older than 30).
Whilst the crowd didn’t play to the banker stereotype, the interiors still did in a Mad Men, 1920’s jazz, art-deco way. Shiny black gloss ceilings, leather seats that you could recline into forever and a private lift but somehow, it was all very cool. The incredible views obviously helped!
We quickly got over our annoyance at having to eat at 6.45PM when we realised that it was actually a very clever time, as we got to watch the sunset around the restaurant. Though when it got dark it did become annoying to see inside. Maybe we’re just getting too old though!
The dining area is surprisingly big. All seats facing out to the window for obvious reasons…. The smallest table faces away from everyone else, with it’s own private view and is nicknamed, ‘The Proposal Seat’, by the team at the restaurant. Irregardless , the waiting staff make sure that the feeling is very intimate.
The wine list is expansive but also suffers from another word beginning with e…Expensive. It’s the type of wine list that plays to City bankers, who presumably play one upmanship on who can buy the most expensive bottle of wine. We asked the Sommelier to find us a non-offensively expensive bottle of red wine that paired with our very different mains.
After extensive discussions, we settled for a £55 bottle of House Red. Which was promptly sent back upon tasting and exchanged for a Pinot Noir, costing £65. Still wasn’t great but we felt sending this back would be far too rude.
For starters, we decided to go for a Violet artichoke salad with black truffle, parsley root, celeriac crumb, cashew salad sprinkled with celeriac juice (pictured below). Our other starter was Scallops from the Isle of Skype, with soy, green apples, picked ginger, puffed black rise and wasabi.
For mains, we debated between tagliatelle and gnocchi before our waiter suggested the gnocchi, accompanied by Jerusalem artichokes, chantarelles and roasted oats. Keeping on the gnocchi front, our other main was a White Dover Sole accompanied by caper gnocchi, samphire and citrus sabayon.
Absolutely stuffed from these, we decided to share our desert and went for a Peanut and banana, chocolate ‘old fashioned’, which came with banana ice cream. Ridiculously overrated. It’s the sort of thing that I’ve seen friends make on a barbecue.
All in all, the views were incredible, food was extremely good, well prepared, tasty and enjoyable. But with our meal for two costing £200 we can’t feel that we wouldn’t revisit it unless we had some serious money.
The bar on the other hand is an incredible date venue. Cocktails cost slightly more than London’s £10 average but with a table by a window with a view like this…. Who wouldn’t want to sit and admire?
Many thanks to City Social for providing a number of the above images.