Stepping out of the ear-popping lifts onto the 35th floor of Ting in The Shard is a treat. There are majestic views of the River Thames, St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London. The black cabs, red buses and people down below, like tiny ants scurrying around.
Restaurant with a view. We were lucky enough to have a table facing the Tower of London, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf. Photo by Nicole James.
Ting means 'lounge room' in Cantonese. The soft Oriental furnishings in greys, blues, browns and white, portray a relaxed ambience. Light tinkling drifts over from a pianist in one corner and the chic flower arrangements dotted around make it feel like we are sitting in someone's rather posh lounge room. The decor is modern and the glass walls allow crystal clear views over London.
A telescope for guests to get up-close views of the sights around London. We managed to spot Big Ben and the London Eye. What will you spot? Photo by Nicole James.
Our waiter presents us with a choice of over 30 teas and asks us to choose between the classic English or Asian-inspired afternoon tea. The traditional tea set comes with crustless Roasted Angus Beef finger sandwiches and Local Duck Egg in a mini brioche, while the South East Asian afternoon tea features Mango Rice Paper Rolls, Crab Tart and Vietnamese Coffee Choux.
Both menus are enticing so we opt for one of each. The waiter nods approvingly. To whet our appetite, he brings cold welcome tea in fine bone China cups. Warm water poured over the dry ice sends billows of vapour spilling out and over the edge of the table. It's a fun way to start our high tea experience.
Sky high tea in the clouds. Welcome tea presented in a theatrical swirl of fog. Photo by Nicole James.
We starved ourselves all day for this much-anticipated afternoon tea and broke our fast with the sandwiches. Particularly tasty on the classic afternoon tea set, were the Roasted Angus Beef, Vintage Cheddar and London Cured Salmon.
The beef was paired beautifully with the English mustard butter. It reminded me of a hearty Sunday roast. The London Cured Salmon flakes in my mouth and has a piquant umami quality. We shyly order more sandwiches and our waiter is happy to oblige.
Classic English Afternoon Tea or South East Asian Afternoon Tea Menus. The Asian-inspired scones came with gooseberry jam sharp and sweet notes.
We were pleasantly surprised by the canapés on the Asian-inspired menu. I am not usually a fan of fusion food but the Crab Tart complimented with ginger and sweet chilli sauce is an exquisite myriad of flavours and does justice to this classic British ingredient. The Beetroot Cured Salmon with Sesame and Yuzu is decidedly moreish. We cheekily order the entire Asian savoury menu again.
Unusual but surprisingly tasty pairings: Well-seasoned Rendang Brioche Bun, unctious Beetroot Cured Salmon Square, Mango Rice Paper Roll with Shredded Duck with a crunchy texture, Crab Tart encased in a beautifully crisp case and my friend declares love for the Taro Spring Roll with Peanut and Chilli Dip. Photo by Nicole James.
We expect the scones to be the star of the show and they do not disappoint. They are fluffy inside and even the glaze on top is tasty. There are two types, plain and raisin and both are delightful. The big question is should one put jam on first, followed by cream a la Cornwall style or clotted cream topped with jam as per the Devon method?
Raging debate about which is the correct method to layer on jam and cream; or is it cream and jam? Cornish way (jam first, then cream) or Devon style (cream topped with jam). Both are delicious!
We hardly have room for the cakes but for the sake of this review we push ourselves. Among the more interesting are the fragrant Pandan Exotic Gateau with piped coconut cream and Raspberry Lychee Macaron with a subtle hint of rose. For me though, the cakes are prettier to look at rather than eat.
A gorgeous selection of cakes and tarts to round off the perfect afternoon. We lingered in their lounge room for nearly four hours. By the time we had digested the finger sandwiches (and second finger sandwiches) and scones to make room in our dessert stomach, some of the gelatine and cream puddings had melted. Next time we will pace ourselves correctly! Photo by Nicole James.
Service is friendly although becomes slightly patchy as it got busy towards the end of the day. We call over the maitre d' to chase up our order. Impressively he manages to remember our complicated request of savoury and sweet treats and brings them promptly. We all agree that the savouries have a slight edge over the cakes, pretty though they look.
The waiter assures us that all the teas taste fabulous in his sky high restaurant. We take that with a grain of salt, but my friend who knows a thing or two about tea tastes my pu er tea and confirms it is smooth for a two-year old tea and one of the better ones she has tasted.