A meal with a view; London has a few, no doubt. The view across the Thames at The Bingham; of St Paul’s Cathedral from Madison; of The Gherkin from Duck and Waffle. Yet, besides this latter lofty restaurant, there aren’t any restaurants in London that offer a view of the Thames, of St Paul’s Cathedral AND of The Gherkin…
…except for the small cluster of recent openings in Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, where incredible views from the 9000th floor will cost you around £25, but where you can also see the same views from half way down for FREE. Save that 25 quid for breakfast, I say.
Aqua Shard - the latest restaurant from the Aqua Group, which specialises in vertiginous drinking and dining experiences like Aqua Nueva, Aqua Kyoto and Aqua Spirit in Soho – is 30-odd floors above London Bridge station; a remarkable place to enjoy breakfast, even if you’re like me: not so great with heights.
We recently enjoyed a romantic breakfast at the glass edge, right on top of the world, sneering down on London’s busy workforce as it trudged its way wearily to work. Cosy two-person tables sat on most sides of the restaurant, affording plenty of impressive business-schmoozing possibilities for clients and colleagues; as well as doe-eyed romance for lovers (I predict a fair number of proposals will occur in this restaurant).
The view looking west, with the sun at our back, across central London included highlights such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral and the river. To our right, the Gherkin, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the City of London’s peculiarly shaped skyscraper obelisks of power.
The new breakfast menu at Aqua Shard is both impressively long - options, options, options – and surprisingly affordable. My gargantuan Shard Breakfast was only £14.50, and arrived on what I thought was a platter but was assured was merely a plate. It included two eggs, Staffordshire streaky bacon, Cumberland sausage, spinach, wine tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, toasted sourdough, Bermondsey salted ricotta, hash browns, smoked ham hock cannellini beans and a kitchen sink. Unusually for me, I was unable to finish.
I intend to return, once I’m hungry, for one of the many healthier options.
The restaurant’s 3-floor atrium space was a lovely place to start the working day and I recommend trying it for yourself sometime soon before everyone else catches on to the idea.