28 July 2015
I was taken here for a birthday lunch last Saturday. I know that my sister had rung in advance and told them of this fact and that a friend of mine who knows the manager also told the restaurant in advance. We arrived about 15 early for our reservation and were told that if we were happy to go straight to a table that we could have a window table, but if we went to the bar first they couldn't guarantee it would still be available, so we went straight to the table. Unfortunately for us the view was straight down onto London Bridge station, which, whilst impressive, is not the most attractive view! Our waiter was very friendly and said "you are here for a celebration aren't you, what is your name", I told him and he called me by my name throughout and we had a few chats and laughs throughout the lunch, he was great.
Not being particularly large eaters we opted for half a crispy duck (served in the traditional way, in 2 servings), the lamb and fennel dumplings and asparagus in white sesame.
The duck was brought to the table by a chef, who carved it beautifully, perfect crispy skin, delicious, moist and tasty duck, and served with hoi sin, pancakes, cucumber and spring onion - we would happily have eaten the rest of the duck this way, but the remainder was taken back to the kitchen and then re-appeared in the style of a stir fry with peppers and onions, and lettuce leaves to make a "wrap" which completely dried the duck out and was pretty tasteless. The dumplings were full of flavour, although not sure it was a particularly "Chinese" dish and the asparagus was blanched, fresh and crunchy and a cut through the fatty food well. We had a bottle of Verdejo which was also very nice.
I am not really a dessert person, so we opted for the ginger and honey ice cream to share - which came with a piece of chocolate with "Happy Birthday" written on it. I eat out a lot and most restaurants if you tell them that its a special occasion make a little more effort than they do at the Shard, but hey, I'm a big girl and don't need candles - the waiter even said that he was embarrassed at how little effort the management put into these things.
The bar area was heaving with tourists, suitcases and people not adhering to the dress code of no sports shoes.
All in all, it was a nice lunch, with great views, excellent service and mostly good food, but I wouldn't rush back, this has been on my "list" to visit for some time, but there are many other restaurants that I would go back to before coming back here.