Restaurants in the City have many roles to fill – from meeting rooms to celebration halls – and they do this in a variety of ways. Sauterelle is on the mezzanine level of the Royal Exchange, so diners can watch the action of the shopping centre from above. Or, for those who just want a quick lunch, there's City Càphê, one of the best bánh mì (basically a Vietnamese baguette) delis in the whole of London.
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There’s a dedicated entrance for the restaurants in Heron Tower, from where a glass lift will whizz you in seconds up to Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor, or its glitzier sibling Sushisamba two floors below. The views are, as you might expect, stunning – if you’re pointed in the right direction and, preferably, sitting at a window table (many of which are for two diners only).Read more
‘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.Read more
The Bird in Hand
There's a focus on the food at this attractive Kensington restaurant and bar. It's from restaurateur Jasper Gorst, who's also behind The Oak in Notting Hill and The Oak W12, just around the corner. The menu focuses on classic British and European dishes, with many given a contemporary twist or two: think butternut squash ravioli with burnt butter and sage, or a chicken liver and foie gras parfait served with a vin santo jelly. A range of twelve pizzas do brisk business too, all the way from a simple margherita to a rustica, featuring honeyed walnuts, spinach, artichoke and gorgonzola. The wines - all from the old world - are listed by country, and are given detailed tasting notes. Champagnes and other sparkling options also feature, alongside a number of aperitifs including a negroni, an Aperol spritz and a King's ginger fizz. They do a mean bloody mary, too.