A Tuesday evening in the capital presents itself with many options where after work drinks are concerned. Rather than weave in and out of a congested Oxford Street (made even worst with the run up to Christmas) thinking outside of the box has never been a better idea.
Which is how I ended up at The Shard. If you haven’t seen this colossal structure in all its glory, then frankly, you’re missing out. Dominating the current London skyline, The Shard’s exterior boasts a certain opulence, leaving your mind running wild at what to expect from its interior.
Greeted and guided to the lifts, the doors opened to the 31st floor in a matter of seconds. No ear popping or stomach dropping sensations too, which is a major thumbs up.
The dimly lit foyer and glass doors led us to a balcony view of Aqua Shard, one of three restaurants, which stopped both myself and my friend in our tracks, gobsmacked at the attention to detail, intimate lighting and the one thing we had both been anticipating – the view.
I purposely picked Tuesday taking my chances on the crowds being manageable and was pleasantly surprised to find that there were seats available around the bar area. Result! Drinks in hand, you couldn’t help but forget about all of life’s worries.
The décor, the ambiance and the type of crowd that Aqua Shard draws in is quite refined but not pretentious. These are people who want to fully enjoy their evening in a stylish, environment and share your enthusiasm at just how spectacular the panoramic view of London is.
On a whim, we decided to dine at Aqua Shard, unable to pry ourselves away. Our waiter ushered us to a very intimate, cosy table for two with chairs positioned to give you your very own slice of the London skyline.
Not only was our waiter attentive and patient, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the restaurant’s bar could concoct my favourite mocktail. A virgin Pina Colada with a pineapple shaped Shard garnish sat in front of me minutes later.
Dinner was what you would expect at The Shard, and with Aqua Shard offering contemporary British Cuisine, it makes a welcomed change from the array of multicultural foods lining London’s streets. I won’t lie, it is pricy, but considering the environment and the absolutely sublime views, anyone going to the Shard should be prepared to part with some cash.
Baked Scottish cod and a pearl barley risotto were the dishes of choice. I’ll leave the real foodies to dispute whether or not the menu is authentically British. As far as I’m concerned, that soft, melt in the mouth cod hit my seafood craving with little St George mushrooms packing a punch.
A blackcurrant cheesecake rounded up dinner and boy oh boy was it good. A very unusual looking cheesecake with all the elements pulled apart, individually dotted around the dish. Tasting the sweetness of the blackcurrant jam with the chewy ginger biscuit and the smooth blackcurrant mousse-like cream cheese was probably my favourite part of dinner.
Definitely worth the dine, do bear in mind that tables are needed back within 2 hours, which is probably the only downer of the whole experience. Good food. Stellar ambiance. Limited time to savour those views.
All in all I enjoyed my first experience there, despite the abrupt ending to our night. To top it off, my amazing dinner date was insistent on giving me my belated 25th treat, which for me, was the crème de la crème of the evening.
Am I not surrounded by the most amazing people?