Based in Tower 42, City Social is the latest restaurant from serial restaurateur Jason Atherton (he also owns Michelin starred Pollen Street Social and Social Eating House, along with Berners Tavern and Little Social). It replaces the old Gary Rhodes restaurant but the place is totally unrecognisable – thank God!
We arrived at the 24th floor (only half way up the building) and not only were we taken aback by the incredible views, but the whole restaurant too; it was beautifully kitted out. We had a cocktail in the bar area first (there was even a live band) and we were then taken to a booth table in the dining room; our view of the Gherkin was amaze-balls. The ceiling was reflective too which was really unusual but seriously impressive – you’ll see what I mean when you’re there!
To start, I opted for the pig’s trotter and ham hock with crispy Mrs Brown’s black pudding, apple and Madeira (£12) which was really enjoyable. The trotter and ham had a crisp breadcrumbed exterior with a succulent meaty centre which went perfectly with the sliced and puréed apple. I don’t know who Mrs Brown is but she makes a mean black pudding.
My gentleman companion loved his risotto of ceps, crispy veal sweetbreads and Madeira glaze (£12). The risotto was as thick and creamy as you could wish for and it had a subtle hint of truffle thrown in for good measure. The sweetbreads, which certainly were crispy, were perfectly cooked.
For main, I went for the Romney Marsh rack of lamb (£32) which came with an accompanying pot of braised shoulder shepherd’s pie which was cracking. The two thick slices of lamb had such tender meat yet the fat was faultlessly crisp – crispy lamb fat has to be one of my favourite things. The roasted carrots and beetroots, along with a grey purée of something (not sure what) that was really smokey, were a simple but delightful pairing for the lamb.
My gentleman companion opted for the Creedy Carver duck, boulangere potatoes, English berry chutney and shallots (£28). Other than being very pretty, it was a simple plate of food with flavour combinations that were spot on. The duck with the sweet shallots, crisp buttery potatoes and tangy chutney were all perfect together.
All three desserts were impressive; the white chocolate mousse, caramel hazelnuts and salted caramel ice cream (£8.50) was a brilliant blend of flavours and textures. The strawberry soufflé (£8.50) which was gigantic, came with a brilliant yoghurt sorbet and some macerated strawberries – phoaarr! The bourbon vanilla custard tart (£8) was a generous portion and the nutmeg and milk sorbet was delicious but the whole thing could have done with a more flamboyant presentation I thought. I couldn’t taste any bourbon either.
Considering City Social has only just opened, the food and service was seriously impressive; we struggled to find fault. It’s such a beautiful space too, I really didn’t want to leave. London isn’t short of brilliant high rise restaurants but with lovely staff, divine food, incredible views and gorgeous surroundings, this has got to be a strong contender for one of the best.