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|Address:||Level 31 The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY|
|Tel:||020 7768 3416|
|Price: £60.00||Wine: £26.00||Champagne: £71.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon–Fri 7-10.30am 12N-2.45pm 3-5pm Sat–Sun 10.30am-3.30pm Mon–Sun 6-10.45pm|
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The Sociable Chatterbox was super excited to get an exclusive preview and to join her fabulous friend the bon viveur Hugh Wright formerly writer of the much-lauded TwelvePointFivePercent to get acquainted with Aqua Shard Our dinner date begun as many do with a little reminiscing on how we first met. In fact we bonded over our love for the Chase marmalade Martini one evening in Clerkenwell … and the rest is history Hugh has now evolved from writing about his wining and dining experiences and has soared to new heights. He is now working on the other side that is “in-house”. So for the evening it felt somewhat like we had traded places Upon arrival I was whisked by a very cheerful chap in an express lift directly to the 32nd Floor. Aqua Shard is part of the Aqua Restaurant Group and is owned by successful restaurateur David Yeo and is sister to Aqua Kyoto, Aqua Neuva and Aqua Spirit on Regent Street and their other outposts in China On the 32nd Floor you will find Hutong London offspring of the critically acclaimed Group’s flagship Hutong Hong Kong. It opened last week and boasts the best of Northern Chinese cuisine the menu looks amazing and I cannot wait to return and try sometime From 32nd Floor you are led to a glass stairway that leads you to the 31st Floor which is where Aqua Shard is located. People this is as good as it gets when it comes to dramatic entrances, I felt like I was stepping into a sublime new world and escaping from the real one First impressions do last and mine were that the team exuded professionalism and passion from every pore and as I also am a strong advocate of impeccable service I found this instantly gratifying Compliments to the Designers Jestico and Whiles who worked closely with David Yeo to create a space that optimizes the panoramic views of London and draws heavily on the rich history of the Southwark location. Southwark was once a hub for the tea trade and for gin distilling and a mouth-watering cocktail list has been created around the design concept The magnificent Atrium Bar is three stories high and is well stocked with both premium labels as well as plenty of eye candy for us all to enjoy The floor to ceiling panoramic windows and open plan layout serve as the perfect cat walk for the bold and beautiful. This is definitely my kind of place one to mingle with other glamorous urbanites. The flattering hues of twilight radiated through and everyone looked exquisite I had the pleasure of meeting some of the true professionals involved, the front of house team are led by the dapper and highly polished David Kyle Boyd who previously worked at Sketch and Galvin at Windows, after the intros we sashayed through the restaurant to be seated for dinner Head Chef Anthony Garlando was born to Italian parents in Australia he stopped off in the Middle East, Russia and France before settling here in London. Along the way he has worked with many of the Master Chefs including Pierre Gagnaire. Described as a quintessentially modern Londoner his care and attention for locally sourced ingredients and attractive presentation showcase the best of British fare For dinner I had the Heritage British Carrot Salad to start and the Pearl Barley Risotto with Bermondsey salted Ricotta for main both were delicious. All vegetables were cooked to perfection and proved that the Chef had the utmost respect for the rustic and local ingredients he had used. Special mention for the top side order of the evening which was the Corn cob with chilli lime butter and Bermondsey Hard. Hugh had the Poached Veal Tongue then the Dover Sole the handsome Sommelier Chris suggested a crisp chilled glass of Gruner Veltliner which amplified the wholesome flavours of each dish I must confess that I don’t usually have dessert – because of course I’m sweet enough, but when temptation knocks one has to open the door. The wonderful Chocolate mille feuille concoction of loveliness didn’t last long meanwhile Hugh indulged in the fantastique fromage selection from Neals Yard which featured Stinking Bishop, Ragstone, Cashel Blue and Westcombe Cheddar served with a to die for chestnut honey and Quince paste and some Melba toast he washed it down with a glass of Mataro Oh mon Dieu I almost forgot to mention the amazing powder rooms with sensational views, full length mirrors and a little glimpse of the Chefs in the kitchen what more could a girl ask for..? After dinner we retired to the Atrium Bar and joined two gorgeous diners Dominic and Jonathan and indulged in some of the fabulous Gin and Tea inspired Cocktails. Elizabeth the wonderful Cocktail Waitress lovingly described each one but lets just say that the Battenberg Martini would knock even Mr Kipling’s socks off Alas once the lights went down the cityscape illuminated even further and became even more magical but I needed to bid adieu to my friends as Notting Hill was calling me home Aqua Shard will soon be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as Afternoon tea The perfect backdrop for a fabulous night out with friends, a romantic date, or private party Dinner for around £120 for two Cocktails from £12 For more details please visit