Margaret Thatcher once stated “There is no such thing as society.” This quote was much maligned by the left but it was rarely used alongside the remainder of what justified that comment. Thatcher followed with “There are individual men and women, and there are families.” She talked about this in the context of entitlement and how with any rights come obligations. “People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations” she added and frankly her remarks still have huge relevance in the context of the city fat cats and ladies who run certain charities that I’ve previously written of.
Another kind of “society,” though, has come to Blackfriars Lane, close to St Paul’s Cathedral. This “Society” is a bar and restaurant of that name that buzzes with life and energy and one that is really worth a visit.
Society Bar & Restaurant offers a combination of a substantial bar, a cocktail lounge and a contemporary galleried restaurant. With a distinctly New York loft feel, the industrial chic décor combines ambient lighting, exposed concrete walls and colourful modern art in a setting large enough to accommodate up to four hundred people.
The menu, mainly consisting of English classics, is extensive yet simple and clearly focused on fresh food. Produce comes from Smithfield Market and such places as Neal’s Yard and portions, I must say, are extremely generous for food so reasonably priced.
Starters include a delicious crispy pork belly salad, seared tuna niçoise, native scallops and pan-fried chive gnocchi with wild mushrooms.
The crispy breast of duck served with creamed spinach and honey glazed parsnips was excellent and with dishes such as chargrilled steak, baked goats cheese with maple candied squash and salmon and spring onion fishcakes, there really is something for all palettes.
The cheese board of Montgomery’s Cheddar, Ragstone goat’s cheese and Ardrahanand Colston Bassett Stilton is the perfect way to conclude a meal though for those with the sweeter tooth, there is a chocolate walnut brownie with fudge sauce, a glazed lemon tart or a crème brûlée with homemade shortbread.
For those seeking something to share in the lounge area, Society Bar & Restaurant has a menu that includes chilli squid, a charcuterie board, an antipasto board and an Asian plater.
With a 2.30am licence, Society Bar & Restaurant is popular with city executives late into the night on weekdays and is also ideal for corporate and private parties.
Nearby Blackfriars Station is currently undergoing a major renovation and is due to open in late 2011. One of the main entrances to the station will be located in Blackfriars Lane and with new venues like Society Bar & Restaurant, there really is now a buzz to this previously hidden area of the City of London. Society Bar & Restaurant stylishly paves the way for others to follow.
Society Bar & Restaurant, 33 Blackfriars Lane, London, EC4V 6EP. Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7248 1323. Website: http://www.societycity.co.uk
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