Last weekend it was my husbands birthday and so it was a definite treat yo’self day! We started the day with poached eggs and avocado on ciabatta, it was pretty good. You can see for yourself here. Though I have to admit I didn’t poach the eggs, that’s D’s job – he’s good at process, I’m good at flavours. Ha.
Even though it was such a dreary day we made our way out to Andina for a light lunch before heading over to Brick Lane for a lego exhibition, The Art of the Brick. Seeing as our day was based east I wanted somewhere close by for dinner. I really wanted to take him to The Clove Club as I’ve heard such good things but unfortunately they were closed for their Christmas break still. So on another recommendation I booked The Merchants Tavern.
We were having a great day and it was all going so well… As we made our way to dinner there was an electricity van outside the restaurant. Not a good sign. As we enter we are told a cable has exploded in the street outside and they’re not sure if the electricity will have to be turned off in the restaurant. We wanted to just sit and start to order and see how we got on but it was suggested we waited in the bar with a drink. We were really hungry at this point and didn’t really want a drink as we’d already had a few beers during the day. But we ordered the potato skins with tarragon butter – oh my. These were really good and the perfect bar snack. 45 minutes went past and we were told that in an hour they would have to turn the power off. We could either eat two courses or they would help us to find another place close by for dinner. We didn’t want to rush our meal so we decided find somewhere else. A real shame as I’d been looking forward to our meal there. Though be warned two gin & tonics in there will set you back nearly £25!
But quite amazingly, at 8:30pm on a Saturday night they got us a table at City Social for 9pm. I only work around the corner from Tower 42 and walk past it most days but have never ventured up. I’ve obviously heard great things and so we said yes please! We jumped in a taxi and headed over.
City Social is a Jason Atherton restaurant and modern British food is served in glamorous art deco-style surroundings. Located on the 24th floor of Tower 42 in the City of London the views are quite amazing. We arrived with the whole of London glittering before us. The lovely lady at Merchants Tavern had passed on that it was Ds birthday and we were seated at one of the best tables in the restaurant – a booth placed by the window opposite the Gherkin.
The menu has a great selection from very light, raw starters to earthy game dishes and a lovely selection of pastas and grill options. I’m sorry for the lack of photos – they take mood lighting to the extreme here and it wasn’t possible to get anything adequate on my phone! But I’ll take you through our meal.
To start I ordered the roasted french quail, creamed corn and pearl barley, pancetta, red wine reduction and D went for a small seafood pasta dish. More on the pasta later as I also ordered it for my main course. The quail was delicious, crispy on the outside but still moist inside and the corn and pearl barley full of flavour. They worked so well together. I would say this is one of my favourite dishes but then I had my main…
Both D and I ordered the seafood linguine which we wouldn’t normally do but I’m so glad we did! I would not have wanted to share it. With crispy squid and razor clams, the ‘shellfish cooking juices’ are poured over your dish at the table. So rich and deep without being heavy. The flavour that they get into this dish is amazing, and something I won’t forget. This was Ds favourite dish of the night. D ordered the venison loin and shoulder with red cabbage and chestnuts. Again it did not disappoint, but I think secretly D would have liked my pasta!
For dessert, even though stuffed, we went for the cheese and a pistachio souffle. They wheel out an impressive cheese board for you to choose from, the waitress was very helpful and picked us a great selection. The souffle was good but far too big. Just over half way through we had to give up as it was just too rich to finish.
They were also very kind to present D with some birthday chocolates at the end of the meal. This is definitely a place to visit in the evening or at sun set. The decor is very dark, which when you have the whole of London lit up in front of you it works very well. I’m not sure I can imagine how welcoming the place would be in day light. The food here is brilliant and one of the best meals I’ve had in London. The staff are welcoming and attentive. Even though our evening didn’t go quite to plan I’m so glad it ended at City Social. We had a fabulous meal.