Just a hop and a skip from Liverpool Street station and five minutes walk from Moorgate, you’ll find the entrance to City Social restaurant, hidden to the right-hand side of Tower 42. Once inside and through security, a floral-framed lift will transport you to the 24th floor where some incredible views of some of London’s most iconic and historic buildings will blow you away.
The place feels special with an old school charm you’d expect from a Michelin-starred restaurant. Greeted by super-welcoming and friendly staff, we were shown to our table through the smart interior and its inviting circular booths, although much of our attention was directed to the heart-stopping scene beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows. Overwhelmed by just how awesome the view was from our table, with the sun lighting up the Gherkin building, reflecting golden geometric patterns across the pavements of the city, we decided to settle our excitement with an aperitif – a refreshing Club 75 and THE best ever dirty martini.
City Social’s modern British menu is equally compelling, created by chef Jason Atherton. To start, the delicately roasted Orkney scallop served with confit red pepper, barbecued corn, yuzu and a roe butter sauce was just bursting with flavour. And a large ravioli filled bountifully with king prawn and lobster, served with smoked hay butter, courgette, basil and a shellfish bisque. Our sommelier, of Viking stature beautifully paired wine with our meals. A glass of Bourgogne Chardonnay with the scallop and a Hungarian Szepsy Furmint Tokaj, a perfect partner for the ravioli.
For mains, the line caught sea bass served with shellfish ragu, Datterinin tomatoes, baby courgette and crispy squid with a basil vinaigrette – paired with a glass of L’Esprit de Chevalier Pessac-Léognan blanc, served from a Coravin (what a great way to try some very exquisite wines without having to buy a bottle) The beautifully-cooked Newlyn cod with violet artichokes, Scottish girolles with lemon mash and an artichoke velouté poured at the table and paired with the house white Chenin. Finally, we chose to end our meal with a selection of superb British cheeses from the trolley and a ewe’s milk panna cotta with Yorshire rhubarb served with almond ice cream.
The atmosphere of the place on the Friday we went was calm, with nothing too much trouble. Customers were varied, some holding lunch meetings, some first-time visitors and some, just positive foodies. It’s a great place for a special occasion or simply drinks at the bar. You won’t find these panoramic views across the Thames from other nearby high-rise city restaurants and while it isn’t the highest place, there’s something incredible about being engulfed by the city at this spot. City Social does have some magic about it – it’s for people who don’t follow the crowd and want to enjoy a calm, culinary experience, off the less beaten track.
Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ
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