A Shard Supper at the Shangri-la
Updated: Jan 6, 2021
Half a dozen busy waiters buzzed around the tables on the 35th floor of the Shard where The Boyfriend was treating me to a fancy meal. Despite several queries of servers as they rushed by, the Sommelier was nowhere to be found.
The Boyfriend's thirst increased as my amaretto and orange juice arrived, along with a bottle of sparkling water which was held at the base and poured like a bottle of wine as if to mock the absence of such at our table.
We were offered morsels of fresh bread in silver tongues which dried out poor Boyfriend's face even further. Eventually a glass of vino arrived in time for the starters.
Wonton soup with pork and prawn dumplings (£15) and crispy salt & pepper squid with black garlic aioli (£16)
The broth was so delicately aromaticised that the flavour of the prawn was evident in the dumpling which was quite a culinary feat. Sadly this was more than one could say for the poor squid which was lost in the exquisitely crunchy batter surrounding it. Its black garlicky mayonnaise was glossy and perfectly emulsified but just added to the overpowering of the meaty mollusc.
For mains, I ordered fish whilst my dining partner went all out and ordered the Wagu beef. Undoubtedly you've heard of it: the one where they've named each cow, massaged them with saki and fed them high-quality beer...
Wagu (120g) with soba noodles, glazed enoki and tobiko cavier (£80) and Cornish halibut with smoked eel bordelaise, swordfish bacon and mashed potatoes (£36)
The Japanese beef was delicious but for £80 (+ service), I'd expect to be blown away. Or given a massage like the cow. The orange roe was a little off putting with the beef, giving it a fishy aroma and the noodles just an odd accompaniment.
Similarly, the halibut dish had too many soft elements to it - the beautiful fish paired with a mouthful of creamy potatoes just melted away with no substance. Perhaps texture was being sought with the swordfish bacon but personally I felt it all got lost.
Annoyingly, the server got mixed up with the sauces when he put them down so the wagu got covered with the fishy bordelaise whilst my dish got a slighty better deal and was doused with a beef broth.
Finally, we ended the meal with picture-perfect desserts, the best course by far:
Blackcurrant financier with chestnut cream (£12) and a chocolate and peanut bar (£12)
Our water was topped up so many times, even when the glass wasn't empty, that I had a sneaky suspicion that the aquammelier may have been bored despite rushing around everywhere like a frazzled fly.
It was somewhat ironic that the service was 10/10 when you didn't need anything and 5/10 when you did.
Overall, it was a delightful evening in lush surroundings with attentive service (when they were there), a phenomenal view of London at night and stunningly presented food.
10/10 for atmosphere
8/10 for food
7/10 for service
To book visit: Shangri-la Hotel