Yesterday was the first time in what seemed like ages since I had gone somewhere exciting – something worth blogging about – I went for afternoon tea in an Asian-inspired restaurant called Ting, hidden away in the Shangri-La Hotel on the 35th floor of The Shard

In general I am simply amazed by The Shard, it’s sheer beauty and how it just sparkles amongst the smoke of the city is just magnificent – I know it sounds sad being amazed by a building, but I really do appreciate the architecture and creativity of a building of that magnitude. I found myself looking up and it’s the little girl inside me that says ‘wow look how tall that is’ – but then I think maybe it’s because I don’t live in London yet (it’s the dream one day) and I’m not accustomed to seeing a piece of construction of such a huge scale, anyway I get blown away by it every time I come into London.

The Shard

The Shard

We were directed by the polite staff to go into the lift (the poshest lift ever, must I add) which was dimly lit with moody lighting, furnished from marble, and headed straight up to the 35th floor – which was the only option in the lift. I was again amazed by how quickly it took – probably less than 10 seconds to climb 35 floors, it was fast!

The lift doors softly opened onto a spectacular uninterrupted panoramic view of London, dominated by the River Thames, The London Eye and also St Paul’s Cathedral – it is simply amazing to look down on London, when normally you’re staring at unhappy faces on the tube or trying to get past people in the street.
The foyer was dressed with fresh orchids and twigs with low tables and armchairs where you could wait to be seated.

Panoramic View 35 Floors Up

Panoramic view 35 floors up

 

"Don't look down"

“Don’t look down”

Once we had done the normal tourist-y photographs and snapchats (of course), we headed round the corner to the restaurant Ting. Just like the foyer, the restaurant was beautifully decorated with rich heavy fabrics and soft hues of browns, black, creams and taupes with plenty of glass to mirror the spectacular views.
We got seated and started the afternoon with a glass of champagne in hand (did you expect anything less? No…) and were served an amuse bouche to cleanse our pallets… well yes it did do that, but maybe for the wrong reasons – it was a celeriac mouse with a beautiful mini tart (that was the favourite – they should’ve just pilled those on a plate and we’d be happy – I sound so common!) but it tasted of onion and leeks, it was very overpowering for something that looked so plain.

Celeriac amuse bouche

Anyway, after having washed the not-so-amouse-bouche down, we tucked into our royal afternoon tea. The restaurant also offers an ‘Asian-Inspired’ afternoon tea but, we stuck with the traditional option, craving sweet treats, warm scones and beautiful mini sandwiches over spicy dumplings and cold sushi.

Royal Afternoon Tea & The ‘Asian-Inspired’ Tea

The Royal afternoon tea was lovely – we had a choice of (starting from the top tier) lemon meringue eclair which consisted of lemon curd chantilly with toast meringue – so light yet so more-ish. Then in a what looked like a long shot glass, a vanilla custard with apple compote topped with brown sugar crumble, again delicious and light. A royal afternoon tea is not a royal afternoon tea without a Victoria sponge cake, this Victoria crown cake was filled with strawberry cream, buttercream and strawberry caramel – just the right sweetness to hit the sweet tooth. Next was my favourite, the earl grey tea chocolate layer consisting of milk chocolate mousse infused with Earl Grey blossom, topped with a mint bubble and a leaf of gold – simply beautiful, a mixture of deep chocolatey flavours sandwiched between thick slabs of chocolate sponge infused in Earl Grey tea, it’s a combination to die for – or maybe was it because the layered finger-cake had gold on it? I wonder…

After the dainty sweet treats on the first tier, a choice of plain or rain scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry jam came next – I literally had about 5 scones, they were so light and fluffy though, and the clotted cream was so thick and creamy – this afternoon tea is definitely not for those who worry about what food they eat. I mean you’ve got to go all out for this type of event, plus the waiters and waitresses do come over and check whether you want anymore of anything – in my case “Bring me more of EVERYTHING”.

Getting stuck into the sweet treats

If you know me or if you’ve read my last post on Easter recipes, you’ll know I have a massive sweet tooth so with my sweet tooth satisfied (for the time being – I went back for more!) I had to see what the tiny sandwiches could offer. The must for a traditional British sandwiches had to be done and it was… cream cheese and cucumber sandwich drizzled in champagne vinegar (boozy sandwich anyone?), organic duck egg mayonnaise and winter truffle sandwich – this one I didn’t try because I’m not a fan of egg sandwiches [enter a gasp, I know it’s a British classic]. But, my favourite sandwich had to be the five spiced Dorset Crab with papaya gel – oh my word, the richness of the spicy crab in a soft light mini-baguette (and I mean mini, it was like the size of your finger or in my case bitesize) it just worked so well with the papaya gel which added a sweetness to such a deep strong flavour of the crab. I am not going to say how many I ate, because I’m not proud of the number (close to double digits), so lets just say there probably isn’t any more crabs in Dorset (sorry, not sorry). The last sandwich wasn’t as good as the others, I have to admit – roasted Angus beef with English mustard butter topped with Winchester watercress – I mean mustard is a strange taste, nonetheless it had to be sampled.

I have to say, after reading some reviews of afternoon tea at Ting restaurant, I was dubious of going and paying the prices (£54 for afternoon tea without champagne & £62 with champagne) I was proved wrong. You definitely pay for the spectacular views, but I was expecting the food to be of an michelin star quality because you see The Shard as a playground for the affluent and in itself is a prestigious landmark. So, even though I stuffed my face with the food, which was lovely and I had a fantastic time, I don’t think I’ll be heading back there unless it was to try one of the five other restaurants housed in The Shard. I guess when it comes down to The Shard, it’s the views which will always be the main attraction, and maybe the lunch/dinner menu at The Ting is superb but the afternoon tea wasn’t as grand as I expected.

Overall marks out of 10: 7/10

Autumn x