There is no shortage of places to have afternoon tea in London but there is only one place that boasts the highest afternoon tea in the city, perhaps even Western Europe.
When Royal Brunei Airlines sent me to London for a luxury weekend, including flying their new Dreamliner, I knew that one of my stops had to be at TĪNG, the Shangri-La London’s signature restaurant and lounge located on level 35 of The Shard.
As I settled into my chair, the greeter pushing it in for me, I couldn’t help but marvel at the view. From the ground London is a pretty city but from level 35 it’s something else. From where I was seated I was overlooking regal Tower Bridge, the curving Thames and, much further in the distance, St Paul’s domed cathedral. Classic, elegant and, dare I say, beautiful.
TĪNG offers a choice of two styles of afternoon tea; a Classic which features traditional sandwiches or the Asian-inspired that has a yum cha plate. I ran my fingers over the embossed felt menu cover. I knew what I was going to order without opening the menu, the result of pouring over the menus online the night before.
Along with choosing what style of afternoon tea you’d like there is also tea, coffee or champagne. Eric, who seemed to know exactly what I wanted before I asked, offered me a glass of the Deutz Brut Classic. What girl can say no to champagne?! I definitely can’t!The tea menu is quite impressive with over 30 teas on their menu, including signature Shangri-La blends. It was difficult to settle on just one tea butI finally decided on the light but fragrant China White Monkey, as recommended by my server Richard who seemed to know something special about each blend on the menu, as the accompanying tea.
The tea menu is quite impressive with over 30 teas on their menu, including signature Shangri-La blends. It was difficult to settle on just one tea but I finally decided on the light but fragrant China White Monkey as the accompanying tea, as recommended by my server Richard who seemed to know something special about each blend on the menu.
(This photo was taken after the server in the front of the picture jumped in front of my picture
to pose in a “tah dah!” position. Love when staff have a sense of humour!)
Movement caught my eye, distracting me from gazing out across London, as a tiffin was placed in front of me.I had ended up choosing the Asian inspired menu. Three layers of beautifully crafted bite-sized treats were delicately positioned and my taste buds sprung alive at the sight of gyoza.
On the savouries plate I was presented with ‘Char Siew’ Pork atop a thin bun, cucumber slice and topped with scallion, a rice paper roll with sweet potato, shredded vegetables and basil lay delicately next to it and the thing that excited me the most, gyoza style dumplings.
On the menu is also steamed prawn dumplings and crabmeat on top of a soft roll with cream cheese and chilli, however I don’t eat seafood so rather than wasting food I asked them to simply remove the items.
Instead of causing a fuss, like some establishments, TĪNG listened to my requests and even thanked me for advising them during my booking earlier that morning. I spoke with them about catering for gluten intolerant guests, allergies and vegetarians, which they do but prefer guests giving advance notice in order to be more fully prepared for their arrival rather than having to wait while they prepare substitutions.
My favourite was the Char Siew Pork, which surprised the inner gyoza lover in me. With a taste akin to a deconstructed pork bun the soft textured buns of the Char Siew Pork, along with tasty bite-sized pieces of meat on top won my taste buds approval as the pick of the plate. I ordered a second plate of savouries without hesitation.
On the second tier two scones were wrapped away in the thick serviette; one plain and one chamomile-flavoured. I’d taken a long time to enjoy the savoury plate and they had lost most of their warmth. As I cut into them they still had a beautiful flakiness, though a little bit too dry.
Accompanying the scones were clotted cream and mango jam that had small cubes of the soft fruit dispersed through. I’m not a fan of mango but this jam was delicious, particularly on the chamomile scone. It offered just that little bit of sweetness without being overpowering.
The most colourful and inviting plate was the beautifully put together Asian-influenced pastries plate.
Featured was a Chinese-Style Egg Custard Tart and the CoCo made from coconut dacquoise, calamansi curd, ginger and coriander-infused pineapple. There was also the Cha, a matcha tea sponge with a green tea cream and red beans and of course a Chocolate Temptation made of chocolate sponge, red fruit tea infused with a Ghanaian chocolate ganache and raspberry compote topped with a soft chocolate cream. It was dessert heaven and I didn’t know where to begin!
The highlight was the CoCo. It was a light refreshing dessert and something I hadn’t tasted before. It had a beautiful sweetness but the coconut dacquoise adds that slight savoury taste to balance.
Come for the afternoon tea but stay for the relaxed and refined atmosphere. Comfortable chairs and couches, iconic London views, an open kitchen and attentive staff will have you wanting to come back for more; Maybe for breakfast, lunch or dinner or to experience the classic luxury within the hotel, the Shangri-La at The Shard.
Now it’s over to you
Where is the best afternoon tea you’ve experienced?
What do you enjoy splurging on when you travel?
At The Shard,
31 St Thomas Street, London
SE1 9QU, United Kindgom
Phone: +(44) 0207 234 8108
Monday – Friday 2pm – 6:30pm
Saturday & Sunday 11.30am – 6.30pm
The Asian Inspired Afternoon Tea costs £54 or £62 with a glass of champagne.
The Classic English Afternoon Tea costs £49 or £57 with a glass of champagne.
Bookings are highly recommended.
The nearest underground is London Bridge Station alternatively I recommend using Uber.