Aqua at the Shard


We went for a business lunch at Aqua which is situated in the Shard. We had been to Oblix at the Shard a year before and were a little disappointed by the service. I expected the same as you do pay for the views, less so for service and cuisine.

Saying that the menu looked well thought out with a mix of Asian/fusion dishes. At lunch you can order a set menu which is at a wallet pleasing price or the al a carte option which is substantially more – yet arguable no more superior.

There was a little confusion in the main entrance as we were told the wrong floor and when we arrived at the Oblix reception. We were seated at one of the larger booth seating areas that was set back from the windows but still had sweeping views over the city. A tip from me; if you want a really great window seat you are much better to dine with just two people as the majority of window seats are for a cosy duo only.

We had a very cheery waiter seat us and was very attentive so I began to think my worries of poor service were unfounded. For starter, we ordered the foie gras and chocolate, the burrata and tomatoes and the market salad. We were feeling quite smug with ourselves as we had ordered ahead of a large group so hoped that we had missed the wait – we all had only an hour and a half for lunch – but there was a good twenty minute wait. To be fair when the food arrived we were impressed, the food looked like a painting; striking, creative and colourful. It tasted damn good too!

My foie gras was cooked to perfection; jelly like, it was just set and melted in the mouth. It was served with what looked like a chocolate pudding that once sliced oozed out into a rich creamy chocolate sauce. It was so rich and not one for those watching their waistline but my god it was good. The burrata was colourful; the creamy cheese worked with the slightly bitter fruit and oily olives. The salad, despite being by far the dullest option on paper, looked like something from a fairytale garden. It was incredibly colourful, with flowers, nuts & seeds and unusual leaves.

It took a long while to clear away our plates – we assumed that this was because there was a busy service, but  really our main course took a ridiculous amount of time to arrive. It was made worse as we knew we had to leave. Twenty five minutes after finishing our starters the main courses was served. We got a swift apology from the waiter who originally was very enthusiastic – as I assume he saw that we were not best pleased.

The main courses were lovely but the wait really did put a dampener on things. We ordered the black cod, steak tartare and lamb. The cod was a little overcooked but it did have a tasty sticky sauce. It was served in a spicy herbed salsa. The tartare was nice, with fine meat strips served with a rich egg yolk, although the meat could have been slightly spicier for our taste. The lamb was the star dish, served medium rare it was served with root vegetables that had been beautifully sculpted and a rich sauce, delicious!

Our dishes were cleared and we promptly asked for the bill. The food was fantastic, we thought out, beautiful and tasty. The skyline views speak for itself but the service was incredibly slow, confused and a little OTT at the start. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

Food                       Service                      Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars4 Stars

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