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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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Having recently returned from living in New York with all its wonderful restaurants with impeccable service, I was excited to try out the Aqua Shard on the 22nd of July. Amazing reviews… amazing views, amazing British food – so what could possibly go wrong… well quite a lot it turns out!
We were four diners and three of us started off by having drinks in the Oblix Bar. Really nice airy space with chillaxed Flexform furniture and views… views everywhere – lovely! Wonderful staff kindly offered us a table… great drinks menu and swift service… chilled Champagne. Wonderful start to the evening!
As our fourth diner arrived, we went across the hall to Aqua to have dinner. The front staff directing you down the stairs are brilliant and Aqua's maitre d' equally so… The restaurant room feels huge and has a trendy international feel… I guess it is boosted by the views and the high ceiling. Room 4/5.
Shame – from here on the experience goes down hill… unfortunately, as you are dining on the 31st floor, it is a long way to the bottom…
We are shown to our table and menus swiftly appear… all dishes appear to come with a huge amount of ingredients so it not easy to anticipate what you actually will be eating… Crusty bread arrives, bread plates are tiny so the whole table ends up covered in crumbs… nobody offers to take our drinks order… It is clear that there is no structure amongst the inexperienced waiters… we finally order food and wine… within just a few minutes our starters arrive… mine is not very hot… STILL no wine… after 10 minutes I ask if something has happened to our wine… there is a fight amongst the waiting staff at the bar… My fois gras and pea custard is not memorable, it has no seasoning and none is offered on the table. After another 10 minutes the waitress comes back, she can't remember what wine we ordered.
The wine finally appears with the main course… halibut, steak and risotto… flawlessly cooked fish, but virtually no flavour, the additional ingredients are so minuscule in size and quantity that they are pretty much pointless. The huge grilled ribeye is so thin, the chef obviously can't sear it properly whilst ensuring it remains medium rare… no steak knife… the HUGE risotto is a bright green mess… there is NO taste to anything! Food 2/5.
The waitress comes to our table an says the wine is on the house… nice gesture, but our dinner as an experience is totally ruined… Waiting staff are continuously fighting and the tension amongst them is clearly felt… Desserts arrive and they are well received at the table, but nothing worth writing about. Service 1/5
Inexcusable service, bland food… the views make it worth a visit… but I shall be sticking to the bar in the future.