City Social opened in May 2014, in the space previously occupied by Rhodes 24, and now part of the Jason Atherton empire. The 24th floor room has a spectacular view over The Gherkin and other City skyscrapers. The dining room has been fitted out in art-deco style, all smoked glass, brass and osewodo panels. The space itself is larger than its predecessor, and there are two private dining rooms. The head chef is Paul Walsh, who began working at The Savoy Hotel in 2000 under Anton Edelman, then worked to Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea in 2005, finishing a five year stint there as senior sous chef. He then launched three 28-50 sites before becoming head chef here.
The menu offered starters from £9 to £14, main courses £18 to £38 and desserts from £6.50 to £8.50. The wine list had around 300 lables, ranging in price from £24 to £2,990. Sample wines included Vina Mar Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2013 at £42 for a wine tht you can find for £8 in the high street, Mac Forbes Chardonnay 2011 at £70 for a wine that retails at £24, and Domaine Duroche les Jeunes Roi 2011 at £99 for a wine that will set you back £35 in a shop. At the grander end of the list, Barbaresco Gaja 2010 was £310 for a wine that retails at around £120, and Vega Sicilia Unico 1991 was £435 for a wine that will set you back about £291 in a shop. There were some interesting growers tucked away, such as the Turkish Merlot Nerola d’Avola Nexus 2011 from Urla Izmir, which is an excellent wine (priced here at £66).
Roasted quail (£13) came with peas and broad beans, pancetta and sauce diable. The meat was delicately flavoured and carefully cooked, the vegetables seasonal and good, the bacon and the hint of pepper in the accompanying sauce diable just lifting the dish nicely (15/20).
Risotto of ceps (£12) and veal sweetbread with madeira glaze was also very enjoyable, the risotto being serviceable (a more intense stock would have improved it) but the star was the sweetbread croquettes, crisp fried and with lots of flavour (14/20).
Lobster (£38) was served in its shell and served with chips cooked in duck fat and a choron sauce coloured with a little tomato puree. This was a simple but nicely made dish, the lobster tender, the chips reasonably crisp and having good flavour from the duck fat (14/20).
White chocolate mousse (£8.50) was served with caramelised hazelnut and salted caramel ice cream. This worked very well, the balance of the nuts with the chocolate good (14/20). Service was excellent, our French sommelier enthusiastic and knowledgeable. If you ordered three courses and shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical bill would be around £80 a head or so. This seems to me not excessive given the high standard of cooking, given the lovely view that is included in the price.