If you’re looking for a bar with the X factor, Vertigo 42 should get your vote. However, it does require some effort. You need to be ‘smart casual’, make a reservation, check in, head through airport-style security gates and endure some ear popping while the dedicated one stop lift whizzes you up to the 42nd floor.
On entering the intimate bar set in a round, my vocabulary is reduced to ‘wow’. The twinkly lights of London are magical and, in the daytime, I’m told you can see anything within the M25.
Comfortably seated in a low squidgy swivel chair, my companion and I set about the onerous task of sampling the winter bellini menu. The charming hospitality manager, Mike, tells us the mixologist ‘really pushed the boundaries’ in creating the range and glancing at the menu, I tend to agree.
The mixture of ingredients look incongruous, but on a taste of each, I agree with Mike that the combinations ‘really work’.
First up, and one for those with a sweet tooth, was the lychee and hazelnut bellini, the unusual twist receiving a definite thumbs up from the male point of view. My favourite was the perfumy rose and plum concoction closely followed by the orange and raspberry bellini. This was not just orange and raspberry though. The addition of fino sherry gave my palate a distinctive delicious hit.
Number four combined fruity flavours from raspberry and passion fruit with chocolate syrup, which added depth to the cocktail without overpowering it. And finally, the yuzu and cranberry bellini went down very easily. The tartness of the Japanese citrus juice set off the sweetness of cranberry and raspberry perfectly.
If fruity bubbles are not your thing, you can toast the view with wine (from £9.20 a glass) or champagne (from £14 a glass).
The bar food is also stunning, although the prices are as eye popping as the views. Highlights were some deftly seasoned seared scallops with crispy bacon (£19.80), a creamy blue cheese quiche (part of a plate of canapés for £32) and some chunky oozy olives (£4.95). If you’re feeling flush and hungry, you could head downstairs to the Gary Rhodes restaurant.
Saturday opening of Vertigo 42 is relatively recent and a reduced cold food menu operates on this day.
Regardless of the panoply of flavours bombarding your taste buds, the focus of your attention should really be on the stunning views. It’s worth a walk round the bar to take them in from different perspectives.
Vertigo 42 is an unforgettable venue from which to marvel and appreciate London far away from the bustle and noise. Although if relaxation is your thing, you might prefer a more subdued evening earlier in the week.
25 Old Broad Street
Tel: 020 7877 7842