A couple of days before I left the UK for Cebu, we went back to London to celebrate a milestone. We rarely do fancy dates nor any food dates, really, so we went all out and treated ourselves to have a nice afternoon tea at United Kingdom’s Tallest Building, The Shard.
To tell you truthfully, I’ve rewritten this paragraph countless times already. I started with being personal, but I ended up crying, lol. So, please forgive me if I have to detach myself a bit.
Maybe I can afford a window of emotion (read: back story).
The boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship, hence, the lack of traditional dates. This was one of our most memorable trips together and that weekend was beautiful but heartbreaking at the same time, knowing that I’d fly back home again soon. I was an emotional wreck (I mean, I’m already crying just attempting to write about it, haha) but I’m proud to say I held it all in. I didn’t really want to spend my first couple of fancy dates crying (I don’t think my mascara was waterproof, too). Fancy date, yes, but no fancy shots. I left my big boy camera and these memories are from our phones. The last thing I wanted to do was think about the blog or how I’d share this to people. I just wanted to cherish those final moments (I sound like we’re dying, but you know what I mean). Therefore, this is very close to my heart despite the fact that I’d be completely objective (and shut my emotions off) in a few sentences after this.
If you’re so emosh and private and doesn’t want to share personal things, why are you still writing about it, then?!
I’m glad you asked! Well, it’s a bit of a waste not to. The experiences we had were incredible and I want someone else, YOU, to experience it, too. For now, with us, but maybe, someday, you get to have your fancy date here, as well. Maybe, you already did.
But I digress. (Robot mode: ON)
Afternoon tea is custom for the English and was brought upon by the wealthy classes back in the day. It’s a light meal of various savouries and pastries, typically eaten between lunch and dinner. You get layers of plates of these with a serving size and food arrangement akin to hor d’oeuvres. There’s a number of hotels and restaurants in London, alone, where afternoon tea is served. However, Ting Lounge of Shangri-La Hotels at The Shard seemed to attract us more because of the view it also provides. Imagine sharing a meal while looking out and seeing the Tower Bridge. Dreamy, eh?
You need to book early for this kind of date. I’m not sure if there are walk-ins but we were given a specific time to arrive at the location. We were also given a duration which is 2 hours. Luckily, our schedule was near the end of Afternoon Tea sessions (it is only available from 12nn to 4pm), so we didn’t feel like we were being rushed at all.
The food is on the pricier side, as one would expect but it’s not as outrageous as I thought it would be. However, if you really think about it, these tiny eats and our drinks almost cost as much as a 3-course meal we had at Duck & Waffle. And that one’s fancy, too.
You get to choose between an Asian Inspired Afternoon Tea and English Afternoon Tea. We chose the Asian because, guess what, we’re asians! But no, seriously, it appealed to us better than the English savouries and pastries.
At the bottom, we have the savouries. Sushi, dumpling, spring rolls, meat bun. Second level are scones, to be paired with the spread in the white pots near our drinks: butter or marmalade (I forgot if it was orange or mango). The top tier is for the pastries (my favorite as everything was delectable!). Ube macaron, raspberry cake, tart, mango pudding and pandan-and-sticky-rice pudding.
Quick side note: these aren’t their menu names. I didn’t take note because, again, I didn’t think much of the blog that day. I’m trying to recall everything as much as I can without drowning myself in tears. There’s a high probability that I’m wrong with my descriptions.
Of course, the proper drink to pair these with is tea. Them Brits love their tea. So, we ordered cocktails, haha. They have a wide selection of refreshments from mocktails to some of the most expensive wines. I settled for this milk-based cocktail, the alcohol wasn’t overwhelming and it tasted like Bailey’s, a creamier version. The boyfriend had this refreshing Asian Fruit Punch (Lychee juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, almond syrup). I believe it didn’t have alcohol (or it was very subtle if it did). I recommend both!
If you can, do request for the tables near the windows. Great view and great lighting. We were seated in the middle and due to the massive windows around us, it was very hard to take pictures that aren’t against the light.
An experience to try a few times. Nice excuse to dress up, too. And what a gorgeous view it comes with!
Book your seats and see the menu here. Please note that their menu changes, I believe according to the season. What we had may not be the same as the linked menu.