Now Aqua is definitely a place that comes with a guaranteed WOW factor. Located on the 31st level of The Shard (Europe’s tallest building) it gives you breathtaking views of London, 360 degrees. Whether you come here for a business lunch or a date, it’s the sort of contemporary restaurant that would work perfectly well for both scenarios. Personally I look forward to coming back here for drinks on the Friday night as Aqua’s bar with three storey ceiling gave great promise.
To our delight we were seated at a cosy table right next to the window with views out on St Paul’s cathedral. Apparently Aqua do not take window seat requests so we felt really special indeed. Having come here for a work lunch we only had one hour to absorb the magnificent views and sample restaurants menu. We went with Market Lunch that offers two courses for £31.
For starter we enjoyed veal carpaccio that came with tuna mousse, clementine and caper dressing. First impressions – it was an absolute delight to look at! I really enjoy contemporary cuisine with what it seems an abstract presentation but arranged with precision of a surgeon. Veal was very delicate and clementine added a lovely boost of sweetness. However we could not figure out what these tiny little black jelly cubes were, they stained our lips faster than fabulous glass of Bordeaux!
Of course no table setting is complete without gorgeous bread and butter. And not just any bread – a sourdough – filled with massive air holes, it was crunchy on the outside and sticky on the inside.
For main I had grilled Loch Duart salmon with Brussel sprouts and sea purslane salad. I was warned that Aqua’s salmon is served slightly pink on the inside, which was totally fine with me. Stunning piece of fish, it fell apart at the slightest touch. My only slight disappointment were Brussel sprouts. As it was the ingredient that attracted me to that dish in the first place, it was sad to see only single sprout cut in quarters on the plate.
Second main was confit Tindenham duck leg, true to all confit it was cooked through and though, and was falling off the bone. We also added kale side to our order as we realised that mains didn’t come with as much veg as we hoped.
Meal was served and finished in exactly one hour. Little did we know that getting and paying for our bill would be another half hour. Gave me perfect opportunity to pop over to those famous loos. That busy lunch time, manager was flying from one table to another with the card machine. All can be forgiven for this great dining experience!
Level 31 The Shard
31 St. Thomas Street
London, UK SE1 9RY