City Social

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A swanky if more conservative outing for London superchef Jason Atherton - apart from the breathtaking City view, that is.

‘Visitor bag search’, the sign read. Next to it was a walk-through metal detector and a burly security guard. He had a glint in his eye, the kind that says, ‘I’ve got a box of latex gloves here, and if I find so much as a nail file in your purse, I won’t be afraid to use them.’ So we approached the receptionist instead. ‘Is this the way to City Social?’ ‘No,’ she sighed, ‘this is the main entrance, you’ll need the side door, opposite Wagamama.’

Happily, there’s only a single gatekeeper at the alternative entrypoint, so once you negotiate a long, oppressive tunnel and an express lift so fast it’ll make your ears pop – boom – you’re in. Floor 24 of Tower 42, in what is now the third-tallest building in the City. Atop a hive of financial firms, this is one heck of a dining room with a view. You’re so close to the Gherkin you can practically see its office workers photocopying their bottoms.

It’s a gorgeous space: nocturnal, sexy and full of art-deco flashes. Against the windows are the best seats – deep, curved booths, rather like waterless hot tubs. Even the vistas from the glass-walled loos provoke a sharp intake of breath (and afford fellas the giddy sensation of weeing above the heads of overpaid bankers).

Relative to all this excitement, Jason Atherton’s menu verges on the tame. He’s built a reputation for creating playful, groundbreaking dishes, but this is a venue managed by contract caterers Restaurant Associates in the heart of the Square Mile. The City’s unspoken commandments include ‘thou shalt wear your blandest outfit’ and ‘thou shalt order the steak and chips if possible’, so it’s perhaps no surprise that they’ve gone for a more conservative approach.

We kicked off with a beautifully cooked fillet of salmon (lightly poached, then smoked, served over a salad of fennel and celeriac). Only slightly more daring was a dainty slab of tender pork belly and morsels of pork loin, all dotted artfully around the plate with girolles, cubes of black pud and translucent blobs of cider ‘gel’. There are also some safe-as-gilts pasta dishes and grills to satisfy those here in pursuit of business, not pleasure; but for the sybarites, there’s a deconstructed rum baba with summer berries.

The service is as well-mannered as the cooking, while sauces and syrups poured at the table add some va-va-voom. But the real showstopper here is the view. Just be sure to pick the right entrance.

 

Venue name: City Social
Contact:
Address: Tower 42
25 Old Broad Street
London
EC2N 1HQ
Transport: Tube: Liverpool St
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £150..
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Average User Rating

4.9 / 5

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LiveReviews|7
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Daniel L
Tastemaker

There is a reason why Jason Atherton’s empire is growing from strength to strength, and this is yet another proof that he is by far one of the most talented chef-cum-restaurateurs in the business. The first thing about City Social is the location. It is nested high up above the bustling city and gives you a beautiful view of London by day and especially by night. The location means that you get a lot of business folk and suits coming for business lunches or dinners. The staff are highly trained and very courteous. The food is elegant and obviously the tables by the window get snapped up (I am not sure if you can request for one by the window but we went with a group of 10 so there was no way we were getting one near the window anyway). The wine list is extensive, like any of Jason’s other places and the sommelier was excellent in helping us to pair the wines. Overall, one of the more memorable nights I have had in a while.

Harriet

This place is amazing. I was taken here for my birthday and everything we had was delicious. 10 out of 10 for everything we ate and drank, the view, the service; The whole experience! Couldn't recommend it highly enough!

Paul C
Staff Writer

Recently went to City Social for a friends birthday and it was amazing! The view alone is great, but the service and the food add to the whole experience.


I started with the raw scallops with wasabi and puffed black rice. It was a small and delicate dish but certainly delicious and just whetted my appetite for the main - a perfectly cooked ribeye and chips.


It is quite pricey so it's one i'd save for special occasions *or when someone else is paying :)* but definitely worth the cost!

Georgie
Tastemaker

It might not be the highest restaurant in London, and it may not have the best lift journey, but City Social in Tower 42 is certainly my favourite high rise dining and drinking spot in the capital.

I haven't eaten in the restaurant, i've always headed straight into the bar section instead where they have a fantastic bar menu (and after all, it ALL has a michelin star so the quality feeds through) and some of the tastiest cocktails, served with great designs without being too... cocktail bar-ish.

I've tried a fair few of the cocktails (i've been about 4 times now!) and my favourite is the Robin Hood Quince of Thieves, and not just because the name is bloody brilliant and the decoration is clever, but also because it's super tasty, as is the Marvellous Medicine (served with a prescription and a pill pot!).

When it comes to the bar food, there are three things that are a simple MUST order:

The goats cheese churros with truffle honey, the crispy baby squid and the Ploughmans picnic. I have ordered these every time I have visited this place and loved them more and more each time!

The churros are probably the best things in the world (which I know is quite a bold statement but it's a fact so...) - the goats cheese is subtle but comes through to give a light salty kick, and the truffle honey complements the cheese and dough beautifully! These are not to be shared. Order your own and enjoy every last one!

The crispy squid, now this can be shared. Drizzle the lime and enjoy the tang with these crunchy little bites.

And the Ploughmans has something for everyone. Amazing cheese, tangy and sweet chutneys, crispy crackers, dressing drizzled salad and one of the best god damn scotch eggs you will ever have, made with black pudding and oozing with bright orange yolk as you cut into it. One is enough to share between 2, and it all comes served on top of a cute gingham picnic basket!

Per head, for these three dishes and a cocktail you're looking at about £30 a head which is a bargain in my opinion for a michelin starred meal, a top quality cocktail and a view of the city.


TOP TIP: When visiting the ladies toilet, make sure you head to the stall at the end, and you can look out over the city while you empty your bowels. What more could you want from a night out?!

Sarah V
Tastemaker

Though I am usually not a fan of the kind of sleek, high profile and very glam establishments that one would usually find on top floors of buildings in the middle of the City of London, City Social has in fact completely won me over. I went with a large group of friends for a birthday celebration, and though it wasn't cheap, it was worth every penny of it. Service was simply exceptional, and the food, even though not always very inventive or surprising, was of a very high quality. Most of us went for the Lobster, which was just exquisite and it definitely to be recommended. Being a bit of a cocktail aficionado myself, I was very impressed with the suggestions of the bartender and the drinks he prepared for us suited each of us perfectly. We finished the evening with a delicious sweet treat which the chef had prepared for the birthday girl. When I first arrived, I hated the cool, corporate-like interior and the typical City crowd who seemed to be dining here but as the night developed the room seemed to get much more cosy and the crowd much more diverse. I would definitely suggest going on the weekend rather than on a week night, as City Social feels much more like a proper restaurant then and you will feel much less like you are crashing someone else's business lunch. 

ANH

The best food with a view in London. Atherton does it again. Start your evening with cocktails in the bar. Make sure you secure a spot near the window to catch the incredible view of the sun setting over London. As you do, order the churros with goats cheese. It just works. The dining room has equally amazing views and as you'd expect from an Atherton joint, some sublime food. The only criticism of this place is that it is in the city so the atmosphere is slightly stuffier than Atherton's west end locations

diifii

I think the bar needs to be mentioned more. City Social is one of the few places to offer Diplomatico Ambassador rum and the Black Tot rum. It really is a great bar with premium spirits and fine cocktails.