This was my third experience having afternoon tea at the Shangri-La and so, after having my proverbial socks blown off in Paris and Tokyo (to be blogged at some point…), I was expecting greatness. Fortunately, the only disappointing thing was that we had to leave at some point.
It has been a particularly intense year; the weight of academic expectation finally hit me and I pretty much spent the entire academic year in a committed relationship with my library card and a sore left shoulder from lugging books around. So, to celebrate the end of our exams, Andrea – a classmate and friend – and I decided to indulge in scones and champagne, Asia-style, meaning tea with a view. 128 metres above ground and a stunning view of my city, we opted to share both the classic and the Asian-influenced afternoon teas. From the delightful afternoon classics like smoked salmon on wholemeal bread to my favourite cucumber sandwiches to switching continents and sampling prawn dim sum and pork gyoza served warm. An afternoon tea first for me.
Listening to our helpful French waiter speak Mandarin to a table of fellow diners added to the international vibe and, for language learners like us, served as a boost to persevere with our studies, though obviously not until dessert had been served. Priorities! The combination of both classic and camomile scones served with lashings of the creamiest clotted cream in the city, and both strawberry and mango jam, made this rich, sweet and tangy combination a culinary dream come true. It’s interesting because in Asia desserts aren’t sickly sweet as they tend to be in The West, and that influence really came through at the Shangri-La. Usually scones are my favourite part of afternoon tea but that was before I tried the matcha cake… The sponge is light and the matcha flavour strong without any bitterness. A masterpiece! The egg custard tart was creamy and the pineapple dessert balanced coriander and ginger flavours. As if this wasn’t enough, I got to share this experience with a friend whilst overlooking the sights of London. Happiness abounds!
Three and a half hours and two servings of matcha sponge cake later, we bid farewell to the Ting Lounge and left our little piece of Asia feeling even more in love with London’s diversity and a stiff resolve to return to the Shangri-La in the very near future.
Shangri-La at The Shard
31 St Thomas St
+44 20 7234 8000