Aqua Shard was one of the most talked about openings of July 2013, with the British restaurant installing itself in one of the most enviable locations in London – on the 31stfloor of the Shard, our newly crowned tallest building.
A meal with a view is nothing new in London (Heron Tower’s Sushi Samba and Duck and Waffle, Paramount at Centre Point and now Jason Atherton’s City Social at Tower 42) but the temptation to dine out on the view gimmick must be tempting – after all, you’ll get willing punters up to the 31st floor whether the food is up to standard or not. This is certainly not the case with Aqua Shard, which almost a year after it opened is continuing to churn out happy customers (with incredible Instagram pictures to boast about). The menu is thoroughly British – with local produce and classic dishes – but with a twist, usually in the execution and presentation. Think new cuts of meat, deconstructed desserts and magical finishing touches (there were more than a few pieces of edible gold floating around our three-course feast). Oh, and portion sizes that won’t leave you craving a sandwich after dinner.
To get things started, we’d recommend trying the oxtail rillettes. The juicy, melt-in-the-mouth cut of meat is served with blue cheese and potato croquettes topped with avocado puree, caviar, and gravy – a heady and decadent concoction that satiated our appetite for a salty, rich entrée, and looked nice to boot, served with edible gold and pansies. Ask for a glass of Veuve Cliquot to accompany it – there’s nothing better than light bubbles with a greasy dish. Next, we’d have to urge you to try the open crab ravioli. A deconstructed pasta dish, it features layers of pasta with generous helpings of crabmeat tucked away in each, topped with crab bisque. The manager confessed it was his favourite, and we can see why. If you’ve room for dessert after all of this hearty fare (Aqua is not one for fashionable bite size portions) then we’d suggest the egg custard – another deconstructed dish complete with what looks like a fried egg (but don’t worry, it’s just mango and coconut).
Aqua Shard is the ultimate special occasion destination thanks to its panoramic views of London, its buzzy atmosphere and its confident menu (we mused about how many couples must have gotten engaged there).
Book ahead for birthdays, anniversaries and parties – it’ll be a talking point for weeks after.
It started fifteen years ago when the first aqua opened. It proved so popular that today Aqua Restaurant Group has grown to over 25 venues spanning Hong Kong, London and Beijing. Each restaurant and bar encompasses the founding philosophy – serving exquisite dishes using the freshest produce, presented with style and in buzzing environments. Welcome to Aqua Restaurant Group!