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).
‘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.
Le Restaurant de Paul Tower 42
This version of Restaurant de Paul is not nearly as French‐looking as the Covent Garden branch. In fact, it’s positively Silicon Valley by comparison, with chunky upholstered green, blue and red chairs, bright monochrome rugs and busy black tiling across floors and walls. The menu, though, is exactly the same. Classic starters lead into main courses featuring meat, fish, burgers or salads. We shared a perfectly decent but forgettable ham with celeriac remoulade to start. The poussin roti with aubergine and potatoes had good flavour but a smoked duck salad was underwhelming and lacked dressing. As you’d expect from a business with a baking background, the bread is top notch. So too, are desserts – the ‘bottomless’ mousse au chocolate is worth visiting for alone, and you can have as much as you dare. So then, with decent food and little atmosphere, Restaurant de Paul is solid, if not exactly ooh‐la‐la.
"Relish our new 'express menu' from noon to 3pm. £15 for two courses between starter, main or dessert, and £18 for three courses."