Aqua Shard - the best view of London

Bit of a mixed one today...I couldn't help but feel hugely cheated and ever so slightly disappointed in Aqua Shard. It was my Dad's birthday and the bro and I thought I was high time we treated him to an evening out. I wanted somewhere a bit different and a place he would never have thought to have chosen himself. So The Shard was the choice of venue and not quite booking early enough for Hutong I settled on the oddly named (for a sky high restaurant) 'Aqua'.

The views from 31 floors up are second to none. We even popped across the river to Sushisamba for a cocktail and the views there are no where near as good as The Shards. Excuse some pics my phone was all I had... 

At the bar we were lucky to bag a small table right up by the glass and slurped on thirst quenching cocktails taking in London's beautiful starry skyline. If this doesn't make you appreciate our beauty of a city then I don't know what will.  

Telegraph pic
Our table was at 8pm and a little after that we moved into the dining area which seemed vast and expensively designed. It's good to note here that unless you're a romantic table of 2 you'll be further back and therefore not quite as dramatic a dinner as you may have hoped. 

Our table view
The 'innovative contemporary British' menu was surprisingly hard to choose from. Not because I wanted everything written in front of me but because every dish came with something that was either cooked fruit or sweet sounding for both starters and mains. 

They were hugely understaffed which wasn't particularly helping the evening. Seemingly rushed off their feet and some tending to all tables rather then being dedicated to certain areas of the restaurant we weren't particularly 'looked after' as one may expect in an expensive restaurant. Whether this was due to HRH's appearance earlier that day I'm not sure, however It did mean our starters arrived almost 45 minutes after ordering. 

I settled upon the Foie gras and Fat hen terrine, truffle cream, violette artichoke and pickled chanterelle. This was actually rather yummy and started my meal off with a high. Buttery smooth duck liver was excellently matched with some texture from the chicken part of the terrine. Two large shavings of black truffle sat atop the artichoke and cream. This all went rather nicely together and I was anticipating the next course to go down just as well.

Sadly my main of pork with buck-wheat pancake, spiced fruit chutney, black pudding, heirloom tomato with a pork and orange jus simply flattened all my good thoughts of the meal. Everything on the plate was sickly sweet. The black pudding was dolloped onto the plate inside a tomato and in mousse form (not appetising to look at). Sadly nothing was tasted over the powerful sweetness even though the pork however, was cooked well. 

Two of the family chose Venison which was off menu and in place of the lamb. It was slightly laughable at how smaller portion of meat was on the plate. So much so that you couldn't even see it for the vegetables...

As a side we had some steamed greens... which were nice enough however again coming with an overpoweringly sweet taste from the raisins and sherry.

We decided therefore not to have desserts and they kindly presented Dad with a decorated plate complete with candle. Which was rather lovely and took away thoughts of the meal for a few minutes.

Aqua has every imaginable box ticked in the bar area so much so that I would definitely go back for cocktails, wow-factor and the great atmosphere. It's a HUGE shame that they fell so heavily when it came to the meal. The view should not be the only thing I can more or less remember perfectly of an evening. The room is one of grandeur and elegance I just wish the food lived up to this especially when charging around £70pp. 

One thing to note is a trip to the bathrooms is a must. Not many places would you get to wash your hands (or in the men's case take a pee) and battle with potential vertigo. 

Bar -10/10
Atmosphere -8/10
Service - 4/10
Food - 4/10

Address: Level 31, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1.

Square Meal

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