Jason Atherton has revealed details of his forthcoming venture City Social, which will opens in partnership with Restaurant Associates in May.
The Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur has teamed up with the executive dining division of caterer Compass Group to launch on the 24th floor of iconic London skyscraper Tower 42.
City Social – the restaurant’s working title until a name is confirmed – will occupy the space previously held by Gary Rhodes’ Rhodes 24 until the chef’s contract with Compass came to an end last September.
Head chef Paul Walsh, who was previously sous chef at Gordon Ramsay’s three-Michelin starred Royal Hospital Road restaurant, is working closely with Atherton to design the City Social menu, which will feature “creative yet simple dishes” that aim to showcase the best of British ingredients.
The interior has been completely redesigned by Russell Sage Studios to create a contemporary art deco feel to the venue.
During an interview at Westminster Kingsway College in front of 50 young employed and student chefs last week, the chef, who currently runs 11 restaurants globally, gave details of the space’s new look.
Speaking at the Caterer and Hotelkeeper event, An Audience with Jason Atherton, sponsored by AA Hotel Services, Continental Chef Supplies (CCS) and Restaurant Associates, he said: “Gary used to have half the floor but I said we’d need to take it all because I wanted a 360 degree view of London.
“We’re going to have a private dining room for 22, a chefs table for 10 with its own private kitchen, a big huge kitchen wrapped around the back and it’s got a beautiful bar in now. It’s going to be very art deco in design. I know it’s our restaurant so I’m going to say it, but it is just so beautiful.”
Atherton also said he was keen to ensure the high level of attention to detail extended to the toilet facilities. “The bathrooms at City Social are so cool. I’ve had this thing designed so that for the guys it’s like you’re peeing over London. You stand on a little ledge and you pee at the window and it just disappears.
“And when ladies are in the cubicle, no one can see in but they can see out, looking over London.”
Design features include accents of brass and mirror alongside rosewood panelled boards, chrome and smoked glass, and banquette seating have been arranged to give diners views of the City’s skyline.
A free-standing, black and steel open kitchen in the centre of the dining room will be the focal point of the restaurant, where guests will be able to dine at the chef’s table while watching the kitchen team at work.
The City Social bar will seat 85 and, in keeping with the design, will serve a selection of cocktails inspired by the 1910 to 1930s prohibition era.
Mixologist Gareth Evans, who is head barman at the Blind Pig, Atherton’s bar located above Social Eating House, will design simple, short, spirit based cocktails featuring Scotch and American whiskies, gins and cognacs. Drinks will be classic and served in short glasses with a selection of Champagne cocktails on offer.
Sommelier Christopher Delalonde, previously at the Prescott and Conran group, is responsible for the wine list, while Andy Downton, previously at Claridge’s and D&D London’s Old Bengal Warehouse, joins the team as general manager
Atherton said: “You will walk into my restaurant 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 restaurant will serve beautiful cuisine in a glamorous environment.”
Andy Harris, managing director of Restaurant Associates, added: “We’ve worked closely with the Tower for many years and the launch of City Social is the perfect next step for this partnership.
“The magnificent views that this London landmark has to offer, combined with Jason’s international culinary experience is sure to delight diners. The opening marks an exciting time for the City of London and its thriving food scene and I can’t wait to welcome people to City Social.”
Restaurant Associates (RA) teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Anthony Demetre of Arbutus Restaurants for a pop-up venture in the space, following the conclusion of its long-term partnership with Gary Rhodes. AD12 atT42 ran for 12 weeks from 1 October last year, with Patrick Powell heading up the kitchen.
Restaurant Associates to launch Anthony Demetre pop-up at Tower 42 >>