Aqua Shard | The Shard Restaurant
NOTE: Aqua Shard is closed for refurbishment until 30th January 2020.
We found your secret list of “best places to go for power breakfasts, cocktails at sunset and killer dates”.
It’s a pretty good list. But it could be better.
Which is an amazing coincidence, really, because now open is Aqua Shard – the sort of scene-stealing location that film-makers will be tripping over themselves to secure for those all-important scenes where “Lucky Girl A” visibly melts in Clooney’s seductive gaze, oblivious to the jaw-dropping panoramic views of London behind him.
Unlike Oblix and Hutong, Aqua’s been cleverly designed with an understated minimalism that puts London – visible, almost in its entirety, through huge floor to ceiling windows – at the very heart of the diners’ experience.
Which is just as it should be.
Here’s what you can find there, at any given hour of the day…
Turns out that coffee and croissants do taste better with a bird’s eye view of London. Breakfast (7am-10.30am on weekdays, 9-10am on weekends) is definitely made to feel like the most important meal of the day here, ranging from power options (a speedy set menu, fresh pastries, egg white omelettes) to the kind of decadence you’d expect from a restaurant hundreds of metres above the ground (brioche French toast with caramelised banana; Cornish crab scrambled eggs; absinthe and custard cream cocktails).
Later on the weekend (10.30am-3.30pm), it levels up to a brunch feast, in the form of a three-course set menu. Eggs Benedict and pancakes are but mere starters in a banquet offering sirloin steaks, lobster thermidor and Full Englishes, with treacle tarts and deconstructed cheesecakes to finish. It is, in a word, superb.
For lunch, the most sensible move is to go for the 2 or 3-course set menu – both of which come with a Bellini as standard. Blessed with horizontal, if not vertical, proximity to Borough Market, the emphasis here is on well-sourced, market-fresh ingredients from independent suppliers, so expect dishes like slow-cooked Dingley Dell pork belly; Isle of Wight heirloom tomato salad with Wiltshire mozzarella (who knew); and pavlova with Kent strawberries and Champagne sorbet.
As the afternoon winds on, mothers everywhere are swept across London here for the ultimate in special occasion afternoon teas. As well as the views (did we mention those?), it’s got everything you could ask for – delicious hat-shaped cakes, bespoke crockery, Champagne and a cake stand with an umbrella sticking out the top.
As dusk falls, Aqua Shard really comes into its own. You’ll take in London by day with a pre-sunset cocktail or two in the large atrium bar (try the Fig Manhattan or the white espresso martini), before either being seated for dinner in the ‘tea’ wing – with views over Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf – or the west facing ‘gin’ wing, overlooking St. Paul’s, Westminster and the London Eye. And at some point – possibly midway through your rock oysters gratin or Barbary duck breast – you’ll notice that it’s night time; that Aqua’s polished surfaces are now seductively glistening in candlelight…
… and that you’re enjoying one of the best views in the world.
NOTE: Aqua Shard is open daily from 7am (9am weekends) – 11pm, with the bar open 10.30am-1am (3am Fri/Sat). You can book online right HERE.
ALSO NOTE: There’s a smart casual dress code (no sportswear/flip-flops, etc) and bar-only bookings have a minimum spend of £50pp.
Aqua Shard | 31st Floor, The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, SE1 9RY
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