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Aqua Shard (restaurant)

Restaurants, British Borough and London Bridge
2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(37user reviews)
Aqua Shard Gin Wing (Paul Winch-Furness)
1/7
Paul Winch-Furness
Aqua Shard Breakfast (David Bebber)
2/7
David Bebber
Aqua Shard Afternoon Tea
3/7
Aqua Shard Gin Wing Facing (Paul Winch-Furness)
4/7
Paul Winch-Furness
Aqua Shard Dover Sole
5/7
Aqua Shard Grilled Ocotpus
6/7
Aqua Shard Strawberries
7/7

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

A double-height modern European restaurant on the thirty-first floor of the Shard.

There’s one really good reason to go to Aqua Shard: the view. It’s epic. The floor-to-ceiling glass walls stretch to double height, so wherever you sit – there isn’t really a ‘bad’ table – you’ll feel engulfed by the capital’s glorious skyline. The food is please-all hotel menu fodder: modern European with the occasional Asian dish thrown in. And is generally decent, as you should expect for these prices (£18-ish for starters, £30-ish for mains and so on). Red meat is a strength. There was a well-seasoned Hereford beef tartare, nicely offset by capers, mild micro-dollops of horseradish cream and crunchy, Lilliputian onion rings. Then a saddle of Welsh lamb: two short, stocky slabs of tender meat accompanied by pile of coco beans, a spiced lamb meatball and an intense, tangy jus. From the fish, a fillet of seared halibut with aioli and charred leeks was fine, if somewhat undeserving of a £42 price tag. But a starter of yellowfin tuna with bloody mary jelly was dismal: the cubes of fish were fridge-cold and had an unpleasant metallic tang. For £18.50.

We didn’t stick around for dessert. And not just because we’d already blown the budget, but because of the service. Or, more accurately, lack of. Our waiter completely disappeared for long periods. We tried to ask a passing staffer for help, only to be rebuffed with ‘you’ll have to ask your waiter’. This offhand attitude seemed the norm: we asked the chap polishing glasses where to find the loos and he waved his arm vaguely, without even looking up. The cloakroom assistant did the same, answering a simple question without making eye contact. Arrogance? Indifference? Who knows. It’s certainly not good hospitality. Still, if you’ve never experienced your ears popping as you take the express lift, or have never gawped at this view, I won’t blame you for wanting to. Just bring your thickest skin.

Details

Address: The Shard
Level 31
31 St Thomas St
London
SE1 9RY
Transport: Tube: London Bridge
Price: Meal for two with wine and service: around £140.
Contact:
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Users say (37)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:14
  • 4 star:10
  • 3 star:7
  • 2 star:4
  • 1 star:3
LiveReviews|38
1 person listening
1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Needless to say the view is stunning even from the toilets so you never have to spend a moment not enjoying the view. If you want a cheaper visit book for breakfast and bask in the morning sunshine over London.

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Every expectation I had of dining at Aqua Shard was thoroughly exceeded.


The price tag is very high, but it is expected and accepted. The view is phenomenal and the experience feels luxury and high class. 


I took bf for his bf for his birthday. When we arrived, we had time to photograph and admire the stunning views. After, we were seated. We went for breakfast, which I had a full English and he had lobster Benedict. From each bite, it was obvious these were quality ingredients, cooked very well. The apple juice was sweet and fresh, as was the Rise and Shine breakfast cocktail.


The service was amazing, as expected. Staff were courteous and attentive, without intrusion some restaurants overstep.


At the time of booking, I had mentioned it was a birthday booking. I completely forgot about this whilst seated, so I was pleasantly surprised when they bought out a complimentary dessert with chocolate, raspberry coulis with edible violets.


Overall, probably one of the most luxurious breakfasts I have had! I will definitely be returning, to try a different mealtime on the menu. 

1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

What a fantastic place to have an anniversary! I took my partner here to celebrate three years, and from the moment we arrived to when we left, we felt taken care of to the highest standard.

When I booked I mentioned in passing (I didn't make a big deal out of it at all) that we were celebrating, and I didn't think anything of it until we were treated by EVERY waiter with "congratulations on your anniversary". This may seem like a tiny detail but it threw us quite considerably, and it made the night all the more special.

We were then seated right by a window (I'm sure it's obviously but do try and request this! The views are AMAZING) and began our meal, which was just another level of exquisite.

To round of our romantic evening, we were given an anniversary plate with a marshmallow swan and a lovely note written in chocolate. Again a small detail, but it upped the romance no end!

Not for the faint hearted in terms of price, however the bar is quite reasonable if you are just looking for views and a drink!

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

So your palms are sweaty, your mind is racing and you’re shaking with nerves as the date you’ve been thinking about for weeks has finally arrived. Well, relax because you’ve booked yourself a table in one of London’s romantic most restaurants.


Set 31 floors in the iconic Shard (roughly half of the way up the Shard), Aqua Shard is super sleek and comes complete with its own bar. If you’re still feeling nervous about your date, just let the staff take it from here. The welcome is warm, inviting and you’ll feel well-taken care of by everyone.


Of course, being in the Shard you can’t ignore that sweeping vista before you. It’s beautiful and could arguably offer a better view than the gallery an extra 31 floors above you. Why? Because you’re close enough to make out the individual details of London’s landmarks and your view is not obstructed by pesky fogs that often clouds high altitudes.


The food as you’d expect is mind blowing. The smoked trout laughs in the face of that feeble smoked salmon you’ve been having all your life  and the Hereford steak is just the best foodgasm you’ll ever have.  You even have your own sommelier who will let you in his secrets and tell you the best wine for every dish. A Merlot just won’t cut it here.


If an evening in Aqua Shard doesn’t bag you a second date, then I don’t know what will. Aqua Shard isn’t just perfect for dates though but any special occasions, be it Mother’s Day, Hen Parties, birthdays, you name it. It’s no surprise during my conversation with the staff that there are a lot of celebs who come to dine here. So act cool if you spot Matt Damon and co. next to you.


Tip: Book a table well in advance to maximise your chance of nabbing yourself a table by the window. It’s the best seats in the house and will take your evening to new heights. And if you’re unsure whether to see London by day or night, why not both? RSVP to arrive at sunset and watch as the glowing sunset melts away to leave London in all its twinkling glory below you.


Needless to say, it’s going to cost you a fair bit. But the experience is unforgettable and it won’t let you down if you have a very, very special day coming up ;)

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

The Aqua Shard is a wonderfully looking restaurant, elegant and with an exceptional view over London. However, food didn't quite meet our expectations. Prices are really high - from about £14 for a starter - so we thought we would have been able to eat like princesses but that wasn't the case, I have to say I've eaten a lot better in cheaper places.


I was a bit disappointed with the menu, they only had one vegetarian meal and the rest was pretty unusual meats and fishes, which I'm not fond of, but that's just my personal taste. We ordered a starter with crab, it arrived in a few minutes and was very nicely presented, however it was quite tasteless, just very fishy. My choice for main course was the monk fish with kedgeree and coriander oil, tasty but the fish was very hard, almost impossible to eat without a knife. 


Overall I have to say, you pay for the view, but be careful, only tables for two can enjoy the best views! My suggestion, if you go to the shard, is to have a drink at the wonderful bar.

1 of 1 found helpful

Shopper2

Had a super meal. Waiters very attentive especially Gennaro .Fantastic skyline.

1 of 1 found helpful
Staff Writer

Definitely worth a trip for the views and good to go when it's getting dark to see the changes of light over London. Get ready for a hefty bar bill if you stay a few hours!

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Very busy in the evenings. and free entry if you manage to get past the lift that takes you up there first. If you prefer to avoid busy crowds your best bet may be visiting early morning when you’re more likely to get a table, better service and be able to relax and admire the spectacular London views whilst catching up over a few drinks.


1 of 1 found helpful

Views are great, but service.....not so much. Went in early December and it was, as expected, very busy. We were shoved in a corner table near the bar and entrance to the kitchen, so we were forgotten about and barged into by busy waiters on more than one occasion. Make sure that you book a table near to the window. Food was delicious though and well worth the visit

1 of 1 found helpful

stunning, stunning, stunning, and delicious food - kitchen people - good job !!! Front of house not quite up to your standard yet, have a word!

1 of 1 found helpful

No introduction is needed for the tallest building in London, so having a casual drink there is a very cool thing to do by definition! Even better, this bar offers amazing views and great cocktails at reasonable prices (for London) and in combination with the lack of strict dress code and entrance fee, it is a relatively affordable and easily accessible place for anyone to visit! Great for anything from dates to business meetings and casual outings!

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

I have only had breakfast and brunch here... staff are always a bit distracted. Breakfast the first time was amazing... second time... not so much... everything is starting to show wear and tear too. But brunch although busy and not cheap was very tasty and with a new chef at the helm, it's a must go!

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Amazing views even on a dull rainy day!

We came for lunch and ordered from the fixed price set menu.

Lets face it, the reason we chose here was the views and they do not disappoint. The restaurant is set out well and I doubt that there is a bad seat in the whole place.

The set menu dishes were a bit too offbeat for their own good and the dishes all seemed quite sweet - The bread came with sugar butter, the potatoes sautéed in honey......

Having said that, the service was excellent and watching the rainclouds roll in over London while we ate was a great experience.

#TOTastemaker

1 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

We had a weekend breakfast at Aqua Shard for my Aunt's 50th Birthday. It was absolutely delicious, the portions were huge and the views were spectacular. Also, having been slightly concerned about how our 16 month old daughter would be received, we were pleasantly surprised. The waiting staff were great with her, treated her like a little princess and even brought her own juice, hot chocolate and pastries! All in all, a fantastic restaurant for a special birthday treat with the family. Only reason I am giving 4 stars is because it is very over priced!

1 of 1 found helpful

Breathtaking view and exceptional service for every guest.

A tall gentleman from Front of House is really entertaining and polite at the same time. He is a perfect example of 5 star service! We were served by Giovanni and Chiara, who were really nice and pleasant as well.Thanks for making our night special!! Our b-day girl was really happy!


1 of 1 found helpful

The best service and food I have received in a long time. I went for lunch.  The space and view is amazing, perfect for all occasions. I would highly recommend this restaurant, very welcoming.  I will be back. 

1 of 1 found helpful

Wow... Window table... Best views.... Quite sensational.... Food really tasty... Good on presentation and quantities .... Service immaculate .... Memorable in every way .... Would happily revisit tomorrow

1 of 1 found helpful

Beautiful restaurant and amazing view. Great service. Nice atmosphere. Really enjoy the food also.

1 of 1 found helpful

We had such an amazing experience, We could not recommend this place highly enough.The service was just outstanding and the staff so friendly.


I went there with my parents and we felt so looked after throughout the whole evening. We had one of the manager coming at our table, greeting us and helping to decide what to pick from the Menu. We ordered some lovely wine and the food was just delicious, the lamb was superb. As soon as you get in the Shard the view is breathtaking, you really feel you are on the top of the World. Our table was facing the Tower Bridge, the Thames and St Paul all lit up, we felt blessed for being there. We had an amazing time and we cannot wait to be there again.

1 of 1 found helpful

Came here with friends to show off the amazing London views and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of food, drinks and service. Ambiance is very modern and chique too. Loved it all around and don't miss a stroll to the loo - an experience on its own :)

"title"

1 of 1 found helpful

I had very high expectations for the Aqua Shard and I'm sorry to say that it did not quite meet any of them. Everything from the service to the food was sub par starting with the fact that we were not seated until an hour after our reservation and our water glasses smelt like rotten fish and eggs. Needless to say, we will not be coming here again. If it wasn't for the beautiful London views this would be a one star review.

tastemaker

Expected the dining experience here to be overrated and you’d pay for the view and not the quality of meals but I was pleasantly surprised. Seafood was very good. The bread and sides were lacking but overall a great experience and you really can’t beat that view especially at sunset!


I was looking forward to have dinner at the Shard but unfortunately I got really disappointed. Food was just average while the service awful. Our waitress didn’t not explain anything about the dishes we got. Between the starters and the main we had to wait a very long. Everything was rushed as too busy. Very expensive but absolutely not worth the price. Amazing view of London I have to say.


Visited here for an evening meal, last night, after bags and coats taken we were swiftly seated by the glass wall with stunning views of London, whilst service arranged drinks and after our own negotiations our orders were taken. We had the burrata & octopus for starters, with pork belly & roasted cod for mains all of which were faultless with amazing sauces which made us crack and order dessert (a rare event). Recommended


Came here for the views. Definitely wasn't disappointed!

tastemaker

Visited here for the Roald Dahl Afternoon Tea, I was pleased to find other adults there without children and wasn't just me being a big kid. I was shamelessly excited for this afternoon tea and with the tea itself I wasn't disappointed! I loved the Quentin Blake illustrations around the windows and the fact that your afternoon tea arrived in a glass elevator was amazing! All of the Roald Dahl themed treats were genious and delicious and I was so glad I managed to get booked for this experience.


Our service on the other hand, was actually appalling the lady was rude and didn't bother to explain anything that we had on our Glass elevator and we had almost eaten half of it before our tea even arrived. I was utterly shocked and wouldn't expect this service from anywhere, let alone somewhere that is supposed to be prestigious. I had previously visited Ting at the Shard and the service was uncomparable, the service at Ting I couldn't fault. It's a shame as it did taint our experience but after speaking to manager he was lovely and totally redeemed the place for me. I'm not sorry I went, the tea itself was 5 stars!  


incredible experience, had a very attentive waiter who looked after us all night great food and a lovely selection of wines to go with every course. The view at night is just something extra special. Will be going again very soon


The best service and food I have received in a very long time. I went for breakfast, the blue lobster muffin with scrambled egg was done to perfection. The space and view is amazing, perfect for all occasions. I would highly recommend this restaurant, very welcoming. would definitely rate it 5* and I will be back. :-)

0 of 1 found helpful

Very poor management and service orientation by crew... highly over rated, no where near to other roof tops in world

0 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Definitely a place to go for special occasion drinks. I'd recommend booking in advance or you'll be hovering around other people and waiting for them to move from their seats if you want to see the views.

They have a selection of cocktails and drinks which are obviously not cheap. Even if you get up to get your own drink, an optional 12.5% service charge is added - which is highly annoying.

0 of 1 found helpful

Back it was shiny and new, the breakfast here was amazing but now it's like half the size (portions I mean) and everything has lost its sheen and the furniture is looking very dated. Need a revamp me thinks!

0 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

As always, anywhere in the Shard is spectacular and Aqua is no exception. We visited here for a friends birthday breakfast, sadly my order arrived wrong but the lovely staff were quick to correct it. Breakfast was nice and plentiful but I would probably go back for the views! 

0 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Unfortunately really disappointing, I booked for lunch with my parents visiting London, something I had not imagined is all the window seats on all 3 sides of the restaurant are only for 2 people. So we were unable to have a window table and were seated in the row behind with a very limited view. We ordered from the set menu which also disappointed our food arrived almost instantaneously followed by the main course shortly after. Feeling as though we were on a conveyor belt, I had the pork chip that was rather dry and uninspiring. Really worth noting if not a party of 2 I would not recommend as without the view the food it not up to par. The desserts we a small redemption in the form of a cheese board and peanut parfait.

0 of 1 found helpful

As a regular restaurant user I like to think I know the good, the bad and the ugly of the experience. The Aqua Shard falls into the ugly category.

At 9:45pm there was no food or drink on our 9pm table. In fact the drinks had to be requested three times, two arrived after the first course the third shortly afterwards. The staff almost fell over themselves to advise how attentive and user friendly they were. Really? after the third personal introduction ( before anything arrived) we resolved no tip would be offered.

The first course was decidedly average the jellied ham was so poorly presented that it was likened to a pouch of cat food by the unlucky recpient. The lamb should have been a semi signature dish for the price tag. underwhelming is probably a compliment. We did not bother with dessert and were mildly amused that two of the drinks had not found their way onto the bill however the service charge had.

This was a birthday meal for one of our party and the restaurant had offered a small treat on booking which never materialised . Not a disaster and a nice view from the 31st floor but not again knowing the average quality of the food. The darkness of area was also curious, allowing for the stunning night view of London probably means turning the lights down a bit but even the waiters were holding their pads near the ceiling lights to see what they were doing!

0 of 1 found helpful

Wow - what a disappointment. My husband and I treated our friends from out of town to a trip to Aqua Shard. When we arrived 10 minutes early for our reservation, we were taken to a table at the bar. Great. 10 minutes later we get our order in. When the waitress finished taking our drink order, the hostess came over to tell us that our table was ready. Great, we thought - we'll have our drinks served at the table. Well, not quite. We were told we should just order again at our dining table. Fine - easy enough. After a couple of minutes we were brought the drink and food menus. Then the waiter disappeared. After about 20 minutes, we decided to ask someone else. No problem - will check for you. 10 minutes later the waiter took our order - 1 bottle of wine and 1 beer (out of 3 possible selections - sure, not posh enough). 10 minutes later, no drinks. Asked someone going by. Will check. 10 minutes later, nothing. My friend then got up and went to ask the hostess. 10 minutes later, still nothing. No major apology either. My friend's husband decided to walk the two feet to the bar and ask. We'll be with you shortly. Then a few minutes later we finally got our drinks. More than an hour to get drinks for four people! Totally unacceptable! And no apologies. We then ordered 3 starters: Ham and Carrots, the Cured Makerel and the Burrata. All very average. The fish was extremely fishy and not that flavourful. The burrata was also bland. The mains were better, but for £34 - £42 for small portions, I was hoping for much more. We only ordered one dessert - the chocolate sponge cake. It was pretty tasty. Overall a poor experience that cost us £340 for 4 people. Go to the Duck and Waffle instead if you'd like to dine with a view - better food, impeccable service and much more fun atmosphere. The views from the glass elevator along the side of the building are fantastic - a bonus not available at the Shard.

0 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

Weekend brunch here was a mixed bag - we opted for the two course set menu. The lobster Benedict got things off to a great start - exactly as we’d hoped. A cocktail each was included in the price but arrived after our starter and tasted sickly sweet. The real nosedive happened courtesy of our main courses however, a ‘Sunday roast’ with tough meat, sad looking vegetables and tasteless gravy. I’ll stick to Duck & Waffle if I’m looking for a meal with a view.

0 of 1 found helpful
Tastemaker

I wanted to love it, but I was a bit disappointed.

We came here for a special birthday lunch and while the views are amazing from some angles, we overlooked London Bridge station - the renovations are coming along quite nicely.

The set lunch menu was limited to say the least, although tasty when it did come out. 

Service was scattered at best. There seemed to be too many staff and we were served by about six different people (although at times, there was no one to ask for another drink, for example). 

I realise you are paying to be at the top of the Shard, but I have had way better meals at half the price. 

0 of 1 found helpful

Average at best. You are paying for the view, which while nice on a good day, requires clear skies to appreciate. For the money, there is far better food on offer in this city.If you want to eat with a view, Duck & Waffle in Heron Tower is superior. If your priority is the enjoyment of unique and well prepared food with an attention to detail, there are so many better restaurants around.

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