Awarded a Michelin star in 2015, this is the 8th restaurant in the UK Jason Atherton empire. Sitting pretty on the 24th floor of Tower 42 in the City, the view is pretty outstanding.
We arrive early for a drink in the bar. Half the space is taken over for a private function, which matters not as we get a table by the window and my view is floor to ceiling the Gherkin. It makes sense then to order a ‘Gherkin’ (£14) which has all the POW of a Vesper Martini with added twang from pickle brine.
Round the corner, tables of two in the large dining room are up against the window. Again, the view is spectacular. The rest of the space is dark with lone spotlights on the middle of each white tablecloth’d table. You feel secluded even though the place is rammed.
To start, pig’s trotter and ham hock terrine (£13) sees crisp, breadcrumbed hockey pucks of salty pig topped with apple sticks and dots of apple jell. It’s lush. Even lusher is Lancashire black pudding wrapped in ribbons of deep fried potato.
Asparagus, Severn & Wye smoked haddock, parmesan sable and smoked egg yolk (£24) is a pretty collection of green and yellow asparagus. It manages to combine delicate textures with pure comfort food flavour.
There’s a Pasta and Rice section on the menu with small and large portions from which we order an extra course. Gnocchi (£14) is particularly fun because the little bundles of velvety potato are topped with a fried egg topped with parmesan foam. Panic not people – this is a foam with oodles of flavour.
Green tortellini (£15) are packed full of scallop and prawn. The accompanying sauce, perfumed with lemongrass, and pickled chicory are great bedfellows.
I wouldn’t have ordered a steak but they’d run out of Herdwick lamb loin (£36) and Lincolnshire rabbit saddle (£34) which is a real shame. The rib eye (£33) is at least exceptional; the meat is charred, rare and juicy. Duck fat chips dunked in both béarnaise and peppercorn is a marvellous thing.
Merrifield Farm duck breast (£35) comes with a carrot reduction, all sweet and sticky, along with confit leg and duck hearts. The skin on that duck breast is crisp, crisp, crisp.
City Social remains rammed our entire visit – the result is a continual lively atmosphere. Staff are unfazed by this and are charming and friendly from beginning to end. This might be a city boy/girl haunt but the food is a cut above the rest.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant