Breakfast at the Shard

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Bed is the best place for breakfast, but eating it up the tallest building in western Europe with views across London could promise a close second. Aqua Shard, from Hong Kong’s Aqua Group, is a restaurant and bar sandwiched at floor 31 of the 72-floor landmark building, with a five-star hotel, viewing platform and multi-million-pound apartments above. With such geographical credentials, the expectation for the 

Despite this, first impressions are unspectacular. More oh than whoa, it’s a sedate, corporate space with formal tables and dated plush chairs, not dissimilar to an average hotel. Functional, easy-to-clean, not for losing yourself in. But the main draw here isn’t to look in, it’s to look out, and in that respect you can’t help but gasp. The floor-to-open-ceiling windows down the far side are a jaw-dropper and the tourist and business crowd come to enjoy the view over a waking London, down the river both ways from its London Bridge vantage.

Breakfast is from 7am on weekdays, later at weekends, and has everything you’d expect – pastries, full English, eggs, fresh juices – plus some lofty pimping. The eggs benedict was very good, lemony with a touch of spice, and came with an optional lobster add-on. The full English Shard breakfast was tasty enough with a punchy black pudding, and the lowly baked bean was replaced with posher butter beans, and a nice smoked ricotta to keep them company.

The floppy bacon, however, where it had steamed rather than roasted, had a rind so thick you could swing from it and reminded me of school. The muesli, too, was disappointing. Dusty oats with not quite enough panna cotta balls to go round and great gobstoppers of fruit, served in a tiny logistically awkward bowl. Alternatives included boiled eggs with marmite soldiers and various breads. The mandarin punch juice blend was a highlight.

The service reinforced the vibe of the anti-climactic food, well meaning but tired and slow. A similar outfit on the Bund in Shanghai or on New York’s Hudson River would I suspect feel glitzy and shiny, but Aqua Shard doesn’t deliver the best of contemporary London in the way it should. It felt more Premier Inn on stilts than a showstopper. And for around £50 for two, either savour the view or stay in bed. With such credentials, the expectation for the food was high.

by Vicky Paterson

Breakfast served 7.00-10.30 Monday to Friday,

9.00-10.00 Saturday and Sunday

31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY


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Glass Online dining writer

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