“Often great views don’t come with good food”, says one reader, “but this City high-riser is an exception”. Occupying the 24th floor of brutalist Tower 42, Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred City Social may lack some of the restaurateur’s usual charm (the soulless entrance and testosterone-fuelled clientele don’t help), although we like the luxe decor and thoughtful details such the seating on different levels which ensure everyone gets an “incredible” view of the dramatic skyline.
In the kitchen, classically trained Paul Walsh transforms familiar seasonal ingredients with confidence and finesse. To begin, a deep bowl containing summer tomatoes with chilled jellied tomato consommé comes topped with succulent goat’s cheese, flower petals and a savoury crisp, while seared scallops are served on a savoury bed of fregola and fresh peas with pungent black garlic, lardo di Colonnata and chunky ceps. There’s also a superb citrus risotto embellished with smoked eel and delicate translucent slices of fennel, green apple and radish.
A summer menu offers a lightly cooked slice of sea trout partnered with broad beans, sorrel and courgetti (roasted and tempura), while a trio of duck (breast, heart and confit leg) is bathed in a rich carrot reduction and served alongside a dish of cooked vegetables – the old fashioned bouquetière that hasn’t been on London menus for some time.
The pastry chef shows off with puddings like a fabulous raspberry soufflé with white chocolate ice cream or rum baba with pineapple carpaccio and perfect fresh mango. “I’d go just for the cheeseboard” confesses one fan, while the impressive drinks list will keep even a snobbish oenophile happy: note the clever suggested wine pairings, especially for desserts.