The Shard has completely changed London’s skyline and no matter where you go, you can’t escape it towering high above all else. The views from the Shard are like no other, you can see for miles and while there’s a special viewing gallery in the Shard itself, my personal viewpoint is that if you’re going to gaze out across London in this shiny structure, you really need to do so in style.
Luxury hotel Shangri-La has set up residence in the Shard and so it seems so fitting that we’re here to sup on some champagne and munch on some cakes with the best view in town.
Ting Restaurant sits on the 35th floor of the Shard, alongside the hotel lobby and this is our final destination for afternoon tea with that indeterminable Shangri-La style! There are two on offer – the traditional Afternoon tea or there’s also one with a South-East Asian flavour and if you want to have your cake and eat it too, then of course you can try both! It should be said that the Vegetarian one is only available in the classic style so we have one of each – and some of the non-vegetarian sandwiches to make this a tea and a half for us to share!
I find it extremely difficult to say no when a glass of champagne is on offer and really I feel a glass of something bubbly is pretty much necessary to really sit back and check out those views. St Paul’s cathedral, London Eye, Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, all of London is laid out ready to set your eyes upon!
Those plates of sandwiches, savouries, scones and pastries distract you pretty quickly though – they look and smell fantastic!
Do you have a preference over what you eat first? I always do savouries first, then scones and then the sweets!
With the South_East Asian tea, you get a savoury selection instead of the standard sandwiches and these were delightful! The Rendang brioche bun was soft and pillowy with a melt in the mouth centre and my absolute favourite, but it was actually quite difficult to choose between them. There was that crab tart with a ginger/ sweet chilli dip but the beetroot cured salmon on rye was also delish and the duck mango rice roll was also pretty special.
The vegetarian sandwich selection in the classic afternoon tea was very impressive and not the usual range of flavours you could expect. We had Aubergine, Duck-egg mayo, Hummus and mozzarella with pesto and Moutabel. They also sent over a plate of the non-vegetarian sandwiches for us to try and they were all impressive although more traditional in style – Smoked salmon, Roast angus beef, Honey roast ham, Duck-egg mayo with truffle and a simple Cheddar Piccalilli. All the sandwiches were soft, generously stuffed with filling and all delicious.
So apparently there is a scone conspiracy that determines what sort of person you are – you’re either of the school of jam first or the cream first. I’m sorry to be shocking you right now, but I think I subscribe to the school of ‘I don’t care’ – I just like my scones topped generously with jam and cream and forget the order they need to go on!
We’ve got two types of scones – plain or fruit and with 2 kinds of jam – gooseberry relish for the South-East Asian ones and the traditional strawberry jam for the classic tea.
I have no complaints to levy at the scones, but those desserts are what really steals the show!
Like the sandwiches, the classic afternoon tea comes from a more traditional set of flavours – the cherry pistachio financier, a cassis/ violet choux bun, apricot lavender mousse, raspberry rose lychee macaron and a rhubarb ginger tart. They were all so distinct in flavour but I think if I had to choose my favourite, the mousse would win me over!
The Asian tea featured all the flavours that Asia is famous for – a gooseberry tart, Vietnamese coffee choux bun, Pandan gateau, pink guava mousse and a mango passion macaron. The mousses are clearly a speciality of the house because this pink guava one is spectacular!
After the glasses of champagne, we opted for an Earl Grey tea with orange to go with the rest of our afternoon tea and the richness of the tea went perfectly with the light sweet flavours of the desserts.
Top ups were numerous and the staff were really friendly and welcoming and as you can see by these smiles, we (plus babies) had a great time!
I couldn’t resist the idea of a sneaky little tour around the Shangri-La hotel afterwards, especially because I wanted to see that pool! I like that the pool has separate hours for families as well as adults-only so whichever camp you fall into, you can be guaranteed an excellent experience at the pool – noisy if you have kids like mine or more serene for the adults-only time. You could sneak in next door for a cocktail at Gong too…
You can have all this AND the afternoon tea if you stay over at the Shangri-La this summer with the launch of their new ‘Summer in the City’ at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London. This experience includes an overnight stay for two in a luxurious guestroom or suite, bottle of house champagne served in room upon arrival, a delicious afternoon tea to be enjoyed in the privacy of your room with captivating views over the capital, complimentary WiFi, complimentary use of the gym and the infinity Skypool, and English breakfast served in TING restaurant and lounge, located on the 35th floor. The offer starts from £615 for one night based on two people sharing a room. For further information and reservations please visit: www.shangri-la.com/london/shangrila/rooms-suites/offers/details/summer-in-the-city
We were invited to review.