What exactly is it?
Aside from being the most complicated popup restaurant name of the year? Well the clue, should you be able to decipher it, is in that name. It’s a 12 week popup by Anthony Demetre at Tower 42 – aka the NatWest tower. It takes the place of what used to be Rhodes Twenty Four and is here before Jason Atherton takes over the space in 2014.
So it's easy to find...
Weellll...the entrance is on Old Broad Street. Head upstairs to reception and then pay really close attention to the directions you’re given. Don’t – as we did – ignore all that, take the first lift you see and end up at Vertigo 42 champagne bar on the top floor.
Where should I meet up with friends first?
We had a couple of really good cocktails here – a full strength traditional champagne cocktail and an autumnal take on the Bellini. Given the location, we'd say it's easiest to meet here.
So where should I sit?
Well obviously, if you can swing it, get a table by the window. After all, the view’s one of the key draws here. But if you can’t sit there, do as we did and grab one of the raised banquettes by the wall.
Who's it suitable for?
Clearly there’s a heavy bias towards city folk here – there were a few tables of suited chaps all out celebrating a deal – but the dining room, packed out on a Thursday evening, was also full of first dates, those here on a special anniversary and groups of friends too.
What's the food like?
Head Chef Patrick Powell has brought a few favourites from Demetre’s other restaurants with him – so you’ll spot Wild Honey’s chocolate soup and the squid and mackerel burger from Arbutus on the menu. In the evening there’s a tasting menu, but given you can choose from between 3-5 courses, it’s easy to stick to starters, main and dessert if you prefer.
Our dinner kicked off with a gorgeous dish of roasted scallops with a flourless gnocchi in a smoked eel bouillon and a great (but not as fab as the scallops) snip’s ricotta gnudi with muscat grapes, onion squash, wet walnuts and an olive crumble. Two of us then spit the course of crispy pigs head terrine – which was definitely worth having – before arriving at what our dining companion declared was the nicest thing she’d eaten ALL year – a rabbit saddle and shoulder cottage pie.
All the courses were on the small side which meant that we could happily head on to dessert and, while the chocolate soup is good, it was eclipsed by a pitch perfect English custard tart served up with golden sultanas and cob nuts.
And what about drink?
Our sommellier happily matched each course for us with a generous glass of wine – standouts included the Gruner Veltiner Rosenberg 2012 with the gnudi and the sauternes paired with the terrine.
Our dinner here was a genuine standout with interesting food, well presented and made all the better by a front of house staff – in the main, inherited from the former Gary Rhodes restaurant – who were to a man, friendly, funny and helpful. We’d forgotten the view here by the end of the starter. It may be the initial draw here for many, but they should really be coming for the food, and quick – as the popup runs just until the end of the year.
AD12atT42 is at Tower 42, Level 24, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ . Read more about AD12atT42 here.
Prices were correct at time of writing. Hot Dinners were invited to dine at AD12atT42.