BAR REVIEW: City Social Bar

We know it’s January and we know the number one resolution on our list should be to drink less – but bear with us – January is miserable enough as it is, we think just the odd tipple should really be allowed. If we’ve managed to sway you (we knew it wouldn’t take much) then we have just the place to indulge in a very good cocktail or two.

Tower 42 is the third tallest skyscraper in London and home to City Social – the Michelin starred restaurant from Jason Atherton – and its Bar. We arrived one Thursday evening in the throw of festive season: the place was booming, spirits were high and drinks were flying from the bar. We secured a prime table by the floor-to-ceiling window, overlooking the city lights which gleamed away down below us and settled in.

We were here to sample the new cocktail menu from Bar Manager Tim Laferla (who has recently qualified for the finals of Diageo Reserve World Class 2016) and his talented team. We were told to sit back and relax, whilst a selection from the new menu was brought out to try – we definitely didn’t need telling twice. Brought out first was The Day of the Truffles (gin, blackcurrant, beetroot, truffle honey, champagne, ‘plant venom’) followed by the Shison Fire (a tequila based concoction with apple and wasabi puree), Get in the Sea (fig and samphire infused gin with Cocchi Americano, lemon and garnished with ‘caviar’) and the whisky based X Marks the Spot served straight up in a teacup.

Not to let the cocktails take all the glory, the bar snacks are worthy of your visit in their own right. We nibbled on the almighty Avocado Tempura with spicy aubergine puree, Goat’s Cheese Churros with London truffle honey, Smoked Pork Empanadas with harissa & red onion compote and finally, the eye-rollingly good Mushroom Mozzarella & Chives Aranchini. The perfect ‘snacks’ from City Social’s Head Chef Paul Walsh that prepared us very nicely for the next round of libations.

Appearing before our eyes was Breakfast at Harry’s (whisky, maraschino, coffee and liquorice bitters, finished off with a cigar of ‘fruit leather’) and the Bright Spark – a toxic green concoction made with Bombay Sapphire Gin and St Germain liqueur, complete with hazard sign. Also joining the line up was Forest Run – a sweet blend of Konik’s tail vodka, blackberry, lemon, Forest pine and egg white, complete no less, with rice paper imposed with an image of Tom Hanks a la Forrest Gump. But perhaps our favourite of drinks was the Marvelous Medicine – Asyla blended Scotch, locket syrup, Lillet blanc, Peychauds – the most novel of drinks, finished off with a paper prescription pegged to the glass. Doctor’s orders we drank every last drop.

We rounded off our night (and our stomachs) as indulgently as we started it; with a lighter-than-light souffle and bourbon vanilla custard tart sprinkled with nutmeg. A satisfyingly good end to a more than satisfying night. Forget the resolutions and head to City Social as quickly as you can.

24th Floor, 25 Old Broad St, London EC2N 1HQ | 020 7877 7703

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BAR REVIEW: The Bar at Boundary, Shoreditch

One of the great simple pleasures in life is a Martini. Even the mighty James Bond wouldn’t dispute that. Since hearing him utter those magic words “shaken, not stirred”, the humble Martini caught our attention. And now, with the 007 season in full swing, it would be rude not to have a few in his honour and there’s no better place than at Boundary, where the house special is an exceptionally stiff Martini.

Boundary is split into the three R’s: rooftop, restaurant and rooms. We made our way downstairs to the restaurant. The room is shrouded with an air of class and elegance, and beautifully decorated with a sophisticated bar. Whilst it’s a little on the small side, it proves to be an intimate, charming setting which makes you feel as though you could be in a scene from Casino Royale. The perfect setting for a Martini or two, no?

What we’ll say right now is that Sandra, our wonderfully talented bartender, sure knows how to make an absolute killer Martini. We went for a round of classic dirty gin Martinis to start which, hands down, were some of the best we’d ever had. We don’t know what she did to it but boy, they were good. These went down in a flash, paired wonderfully with some smoked salty almonds. So good they were in fact that we were tempted to order another round but we’re told in no un-certain terms this was both silly and boring. Pfft. And so we left our fate with the knowledgeable bar staff, who came up with some rather crowd-pleasing concoctions. The Ward Eight (Woodford Reserve, Lemon, Orange, Grenadine, Maraschino) might just have been one of the best cocktails we’ve ever tasted – both dry and sweet and beautifully presented – and the Paloma, a grapefruit Margarita of sorts. Delicious.

The cocktail menu is superb and really interesting too, split between Martinis and Classics. We’d highly recommend this place for both a pre and post dinner cocktail so what are you waiting for? Whether you’re a Martini lover or not, Boundary is guaranteed to quench your thirst with their creations. We’ll definitely be back for more.

2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD |

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