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Chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton is forging ahead with his plans for the provisionally named City Social, at Tower 42, which is due to launch on the 24th floor of the building in May 2014.
The finer details are still being finalised, but Atherton is hoping to take the space formerly occupied by Rhodes 24 (pictured, below left) and currently by a pop-up run by Arbutus’ Anthony Demetre and transform it into an opulent, glamorous destination restaurant, expanding the bar area to equal the dining room in size, and making the most of the venue’s outstanding view.
‘It’s Pollen Street Social meets The Great Gatsby – art-deco in style, very glamorous and very beautiful,’ Atherton told Square Meal. ‘I’m a big fan of Scott’s, and although this is not going to be a copy of Scott’s at all, it’s going to have the same type of feel – people will walk into the room and feel very glamorous. The food will be important, but the experience will also be about the view, the location, and the excitement of dressing up to go there.’
As with several of the capital’s most recent new openings, the restaurant’s view of the cityscape should also prove a big draw for diners.
‘You’ll walk into City Social from the lifts and immediately see The Gherkin, The Cheesegrater, and all those iconic buildings that have shot up in London over the past decade, right in front of your eyes,’ the chef told Square Meal. ‘The view from the dining room is like a scene out of Blade Runner, because rather than us being so high up that everything appears as a dot on the landscape, here you can see the people in the other buildings. It’s very exciting.’
Atherton’s menu – which will focus on grilled dishes, many of them cooked in the kitchen’s wood-fired oven – aims to offer a flexible approach to traditional three-course dining.
‘The menu will feature a sharing element to some extent – I want people to be able to share three or four starters over cocktails and not necessarily have main courses if they don’t want to,’ said Atherton. ‘There’s going to be a jazz band in the bar at the weekends, as well as a killer brunch.’
With three high-profile openings in London this year, and international ventures aplenty for 2014, it looks like there’s no stopping the restaurateur for the foreseeable future.
‘I’m just proud of the team in general,’ said the chef. ‘We’ve managed to build a fantastic business in record time and we’ve come out of it unscathed.’
Atherton’s plans for expansion already stretch into 2015 – the chef has signed up to run the restaurant in the hotel that will occupy the former Bow Street Magistrate’s Court building in Covent Garden. Keep an eye on SquareMeal.co.uk for more details.