Aqua Shard has become a well-known name among locals and also among visitors who come just to taste a bit of London life as it is mainly because it is situated halfway up The Shard – our tallest building cramped with different bars and restaurants that open with the sole idea of charging money for the view they offer. Which is somewhat understandable given the price they pay for rent. But some of them managed to grow up and turn into more than just ‘eye amusers’. Is Aqua Shard one of them? Opinions are controversial.
Aqua Shard has indeed great potential because it consists of very large halls. It has two parts – the restaurant which some call pricey but honestly, for London, I think it charges quite normal prices; and the bar – the better option for the majority.[/column]
Aside from the view, which is absolutely worth it when it comes to Londonners who feel like it’s time to look at their home from a higher point of view, reminding themselves of the ‘bigger picture’, for special occasions in which you want to get the benefit of excitement or for tourists who don’t want to come to London and leave it without having peeked at such a famous view. But Aqua Shard is not a public square, it is also a hospitality venue, so we should take the time to look through its other features.
Regarding bot the restaurant and the bar of Aqua Shard, I know that it is a bit silly to talk about the décor as nobody would actually prefer to look at it rather than gaze from the huge windows hanging hundreds of meters above London ground. But you must admit that at some point you might get dizzy or overwhelmed, so you will need to rest your eyes. And as Aqua Shard does offer an appropriate rest – dark colors all around, low but not dim – rather inefficient – lightning and simple furniture, I personally feel some lack of taste, lack of a centerpiece or at least of some whisper of the surrounding interior. It’s always better to keep it plain and simple than to go over the top and cause an epileptic seizure to your dear clients, but when you go out of a restaurant or bar and remember literally nothing about it – this probably means that it is a bit too invisible, not just simple…Let’s say that with a few small but proper additions and just one shade of light above the current degree – Aqua Shard would go a long way! And maybe some coals for winter…
Oh, I am having some difficulties here. I know what kind of a comparison I can make between Aqua Shard and some wonders scattered around the city cooking 2 weeks with the same oil. Yet, I am to not make such comparisons but rather look up to the higher level of food quality, at least that which is offered for similar prices. And if I do that, unfortunately, I won’t be able to shower this restaurant with many compliments. As the chef obviously strives to include a bit of everything in the menu – course meals, bar snacks, traditional English meals, contemporary tastes, fresh dishes, sea, land products and more…the kick of them all seems to be missing. This is a very strange resemblance to the interior – like both in the food and the décor, Aqua Shard is trying to be only a background.
Dishes definitely need more taste – not the minimal quantity of the seasoning or the main ingredient. Spice it up a little, I want to feel what I’m chewing! On our visit we started with the Norfolk Asparagus (£16.50) which happened to be cooked with too limited a number of ingredients which had the strange taste of something so tidily washed that it consumed the taste of water. My choice for later was the Slow-cooked Blythburgh pork belly & roasted fillet (£28.00) which was indeed an interesting idea but again lacked the center of it all. And even though such prices are the regular ones for a similar restaurant, especially at the Shard, I am quite baffled by the quality in exchange for my money – if I’m paying just because I’m eating at this exact window seat, then don’t waste products: just tell me in advance to bring a sandwich from home and £60 with it!
Moving on to the manner in which this plain food is served, I can certainly say that the staff is not plain! They manage to show very expressively how little they care for your coming! Don’t be confused – your order will be taken when the waiter has time for this and is in the right spiritual state to take the time and ask you what you would eventually like to eat tonight (or tomorrow night, at the latest). Probably the kitchen has some similar rules for the speed of service, because your meals would arrive right around the time when they grow their own feet and decide to pay you a visit. As you can guess, the same goes for ordering and paying the check. Well, at least you can hope to not hear the heated arguments which travel ‘interstafly’ – I can’t decide whether the waiters are more annoyed with the clients or with one another. But it might be interesting to bet on this question while you wait for you dish.
I already mentioned a few words on the price list. A normal dinner at Aqua Shard would sum up to the amount of £50-60 per head. And to be honest, for the same money, you could get a significant difference in service and food quality. The point here is that you won’t get the view anywhere else. So even with the bad words spoken about some of Aqua Shard’s features, you might reconsider whether it’s worth paying to have a meal there. You can take a look at their menu HERE.
There are some other good parts about the venue, of course. My personal favorite is that Aqua Shard does not require previous booking. You can turn up at the bar or restaurant and demand a table. Just keep in mind that the later you go, the worse your seats are likely to be.
A good thing about Aqua Shard also is that you don’t need to go only with dinner plans! You can just enjoy a night out with cocktails as the bar offers a decent menu. Some of them might also turn out to be a bit too watery, just avoid those whose main ingredient is tea or gin – there is room for water filling with such mixtures.
And finally, even if you decide to go only for a cocktail, the whole trip would be a plus if you take a selfie!
So even if you feel very doubtful towards the good experience that Aqua Shard can offer, try to give it the benefit of the doubt. Your night might not prove to be an unforgettable gourmet experience, yet the excitement of such heights, especially if shared with a good companion, is definitely something you shouldn’t miss!