The incredible space on the 24th floor of London’s Tower 42 was home to Gary Rhodes’s restaurant, Rhodes Twenty-Four, until his contract ended in September. Facing the possibility of an empty restaurant during the busy Christmas season, Restaurant Associates approached Michelin-starred chef Anthony Demetre (pictured) for a 12-week pop-up at AD12 at T42, prior to Jason Atherton’s takeover in spring 2014.
The stunning views of the capital’s business hub are kept hidden as my partner and I go from elevator to reception, writes Molly Dyson. As soon as the hostess guides us through to the bar, we know we’re in for a treat; the sun has gone down and the great metropolis sprawls in front of us in twinkling lights, the Gherkin standing majestically before us. The décor is simple, yet elegant, the lighting just right to set a relaxed mood and the staff take note of new arrivals with a friendly “good evening”.
As soon as we’re seated, we’re given a light snack of crab crackers and a slightly spicy guacamole. The sommelier asks our preference in terms of wine and suggests an amazing sauvignon blanc from Marlborough with overtones of passion fruit.
For starters we have gorgeous, roasted Scottish scallops with a flourless gnocchi and smoked eel bouillon, all of which combine to melt in the mouth in an almost heavenly culmination.
For mains, I choose a rabbit saddle and shoulder cottage pie served with roast carrot and autumn greens. My partner goes with the wild halibut offered with butternut squash, girolles and a shrimp and red quinoa salad with salted butter. My rabbit saddle is a little salty at first bite, but when I add the flavour of the greens, I admit I close my eyes and savour the moment. I look up to see my partner is having the same reaction to his halibut and it is obvious to me that Demetre really knows the art of combining flavours to create an astonishing experience.
Our portions are just the right size to leave room for dessert and our waiter tells me my choice of the warm chocolate soup is a good one. My partner immediately decides on the classic English custard tart, forever the traditionalist. The sommelier picks wines based on our choices, and we are not disappointed. The whole experience is sublime. My partner enthuses that his tart is bringing back memories of his childhood and our waiter says he would be pleased to let head chef Patrick Powell know, as this is a signature dish of Demetre’s. AD12 at T42 is definitely worth a try for a night out – if you hurry.
AD12 at T42, Tower 42, Level 24, 25 Old Broad Street, London EC2N 1HQ; 0207 877 7703; ad12.co.uk