Tower 42 (recently renamed The Salesforce Tower) was once London’s tallest building. Standing at a ‘modest’ 181 metres tall, it is now overshadowed by newer neighbours like The Shard, Twentytwo and One Canada Square. But that doesn’t make this skyscraper any less of an attraction for nestled on level 24 is City Social, the Michelin star restaurant from Jason Atherton. A British chef and restaurateur, Atherton currently has six restaurants in London, one of which is City Social; where guests can enjoy a beautifully modern-British menu while soaking up panoramic views across the city. Adjoining the restaurant is Social 24, a relaxed bar, perfect for pre or post dinner drinks.
The lift dings and we step out onto the 24th floor; bright lights are replaced by a soft glow and upbeat music is playing loudly in the bar to our right while on our left, in the restaurant, the atmosphere is calm, relaxed. There are a variety of tables available; from leather booths seating up to six people to tables of two. We recommend getting a table by the window if you’re lucky enough. The dark theme continues throughout the bar and restaurant; black floors, dark oak tabletops and chairs – anything too bright would obscure the view. It’s the little touches that make City Social standout though; leather-bound menus, a silver dish for the water and crisp white tablecloths, not to mention the wonderfully large wine glasses that you can’t help but swill your wine around in.
City Social is a hot spot for client meetings; looking around the restaurant I can see most tables taken up by business men and women who have clocked out early for the day to be wined and dined. Then there are those who are visiting for a special occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary or celebration – with Michelin star prices, it’s not really your everyday restaurant. The bar is very much the same crowd, though perhaps with a few more couples.
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t read the online menu three times already and worked my way through the restaurant’s Instagram page ahead of my booking. I already knew what I was ordering for my starter. In fact, I had already chosen for my fellow diner too (my brother). As I pretended to read through my menu for the fourth time, the sommelier came over to introduce himself and help us make sense of the bible they called a wine list.
He paired our starters of Orkney scallops and Lobster tortellini with a glass of chardonnay, which left wonderful notes of honey on the palate. To go with our mains of Duck breast and Veal, he recommended a bottle of Il Rosso Di Chiara, a 2014 red wine from Switzerland. Gutsy and bold, with ripe blueberries, black fruits, vanilla and spice, it was the perfect complement to the dishes, which were executed with precision.
The duck was served with a confit leg crepe and salsify, while the veal dish came with a side of veal stew and charred artichoke, which gave the whole dish a wonderful smokey flavour. Dessert was another easy decision. Throughout our meal, we had watched waiters bring out huge sharing Apple Tartins, which they prepared for diners at the table – of course, we ordered this. An incredibly generous portion, the soft apple dessert was doused in a rich caramel sauce and served with a ball of vanilla ice cream – we didn’t leave a single bite. We finished our meal with a fresh mint tea, marvelling over the delicious food and stand out wine.
In a nutshell
A view that never gets tiresome and food that always surprises, City Social is somewhere I would happily visit again. Jason Atherton has created a brilliant team, from the chefs to the waiters and even the concierge, it certainly was service with a smile. Whether you choose to visit the bar or the restaurant [we recommend both] level 24 is definitely worth making a trip for.