- The Carnivale is coming to town! - 30 May, 2014
- Ting, Shangri-La Hotel – The Shard – Restaurant review - 20 May, 2014
- The Noodle House – Shaftesbury Avenue – Review - 10 May, 2014
Standing at 1004ft, The Shard dominates the London skyline. The new addition to London’s eclectic skyscraper club has been met with mixed reviews, but personally, I love it. The design is something quite genius and beautiful and the sheer scale of the building continues to leave me in awe when I walk past it. With 72 floors to fill, it was only inevitable that there was going to be a bar and restaurant. Then when I heard that Shangri-La Hotel were moving in, I was beside myself with excitement!
Occupying floors 34to 52, Shangri-La Hotel would undoubtedly offer some truly amazing views across this great city. But could the food and service match this highly anticipated opening?
I invited my housemate Luke out for dinner as we hardly get to spend much time together. I’m either working or he’s out and about with other friends and enjoying life. But, when you’re a good looking 22yr old, gym going, Essex boy who has a plethora of admiring men, why wouldn’t you be out enjoying life? Luke and I met a few years ago when he came to work with me at the BBC. We hit it off straight away and he ended up coming to live with me. Since then, it’s just been a laugh riot.
We arrived at The Shard on a drizzly Monday evening. Straight away, we became two over excited tourists and started going selfie crazy. The late night office workers didn’t seem too impressed with our antics, but we didn’t let that us stop us from having fun.
We walked to the entrance of The Shard and was greeted by a doorman who escorted us from the foyer to the lift. It was a nice little touch having that escort service. When we arrived to the 35th floor, we were then greeted by the hotel reception team and a manager, who were so incredibly friendly and welcoming, that I felt like I had known them for a while. Before the manager showed us through to the restaurant, he took us over to one of the windows to enjoy the view. It was incredible. This is the first skyscraper to be built on the southern river banks, so for the first time, you could completely see the whole north of the river area. It was stunning.
After taking in the view, we then moved to our table in the Ting Lounge. It’s quite possible that we had the best table in the house. Directly opposite us was the Walkie Talkie, The Gherkin, The Cheesegrater . . . the whole damn city! Again, the staff in here were incredibly accommodating and helpful. Luke and I were getting all camera happy and taking pics of pretty much everything. After our waitress had spotted us, she came over to be our cameraman. This is one thing that the staff are going to have to get used I think.
The menu in Ting Lounge is a fantastic South East Asian mix. I was really hoping that this meal would match or exceed the meal I had last week at The Noodle House, and you know what? It did.
Drink wise, Luke ordered a Virgin Mary and I opted for a kaffir lime-infused Grey Goose vodka and tonic. The vodka and tonic was stunning. It was a little sweet, with a huge lime presence. Around the rim was black dyed salt, which leant another tone to the drink. It was great.
To share, we ordered the lamb kibbeh and sujuk. Sujuk is a dense sausage made of finely grounded meat with a lot of spices. Usually, I find it to be way too salty, but this sujuk was just delicious and the pomegranate sauce was divine. Highly spiced and cooked to perfection. The lamb kibbeh was also pretty good. Kibbeh is more of a Middle Eastern dish than SE Asian and are small torpedo shaped parcels that have been deep fried and are made with onion, wheat and, in this case, lamb. I found them a little dry, but Luke seemed to enjoy them.
We also ordered the fried rice ‘Yang Zhao Style’. This was a mountain of fried rice served with shrimps, spring onion and egg. Placed on top of the rice was a delicious barbeque pork that was garnished with spring onion and chilli. I pretty much told Luke to keep away from this dish. It was too good to share.
I went on to order the laksa curry. This is a traditional dish from Malaysia. It’s a spicy noodle soup with chilli and coconut milk. This was just phenomenal! It was incredible moreish with great heat to it. Served with chicken, prawns, boiled egg end bean curd puffs, this was really a hearty meal. There was so much that I had to ask to have a container to take it home.
Luke went for the nasi goreng kampung, which was a flavoursome fried rice dish, served with a fried egg, prawn crackers and chicken. The mix of herbs and spices in this dish were incredible. You could get the slight hints of garlic, chilli and nutmeg without any of them over shadowing the other. Everything just married up so well with this dish. Perfect mix of spiced chicken, pickled salad garnish and fried egg sunny side up, so when you cut in to it, a whole new level of richness came through.
Luke and I shared our desserts as we were both torn between the chocolate tart and rosewater parfait. The tart was served with griotte cherries and vanilla ice cream. The tart had a sweet, crumbly chocolate base and side, which was home to a filling of pure indulgence. This warm, thick, oozing chocolate filling would bring anyone to their knees. It was quite possibly the best dessert I has ever eaten. Even the presentation looked like a piece of art! But I may have spoken too soon.
The rosewater parfaits came out as these two little balls of delight surrounded by a pink champagne jelly, guava and white chocolate crumbs. The parfaits were so light and creamy that it didn’t even feel like I was eating a dessert. The jelly still tasted of champagne and the white chocolate crumb was so good that it should have been made illegal. This dish was all about texture. The creamy parfait, the crunchy crumbs and the jelly all just worked brilliantly and the flavours were a true delight.
The whole experience in Ting at Shangri-La Hotel was just flawless. Everything from the welcome to the service to the food and to our exit. Even the toilets were incredible. Sorry to lower the tone, but the urinals are facing out of The Shard! So whilst you’re standing there doing your business, you get this stunning view of St Paul’s Cathedral, London Eye and even Soho. It really is a loo with a view. I just can’t wait for next week when their bar opens on the 52nd floor. It has an infinity pool!
But like with any restaurant, you can have the best food in the world with the best views, but what really makes your place successful, is your staff. They are the life and soul of any business. I have never met so many members of staff who take so much pride in what they do and what they offer. Every single member of staff I came across was happy to chat and have a little joke. So forget the delicious food, the well know name, the unrivalled views and the best toilets in the world. Instead, go to Ting to experience what true, professional and exceptional service really is. Because my friends, it’s that service that is going to make you return and return.
Total bill including service £130.50.