It is not exactly a secret that I am a proud London girl. Frankly, if you have missed it, I would question your attention to detail.
Not only is this true, but also that I am a big fan of the shard as one of the masterpieces of the London skyline. Without sounding like one of those people who falls in love with inanimate objects, the view both of and from the Shard is just plain impressive and so, imagine if there was a restaurant which you could look at London from 360 degrees from the 52nd floor that happened to serve gastronomic food. This is Ting London.
Ting is located within one of my favourite hotel groups, The Shangri-la and boasts what no other restaurant in the shard does… almost 360 views of London. I know what you are about to say… “erm, no Zoe thats not true… There are two others that I could name” and to that I would say… Non. Those have only a one sided view each.
If I were you, I would start first with a little cocktail on the 66th floor bar while waiting for your table.
If views were airplanes, this would be the G6 version and quite honestly… I’m not sure I know of a better.
What can I tell you about the view that isn’t IMMEDIATELY evident when you walk in? Well how about this… It is perfect for the sunset and sunrise given its positioning.
So the question is, is the food as good as the view?
We started our dinner with a glass of Veuve with a side of Tower Bridge (My other fave) and frankly, I was swooning at that point.
We had the set menu with wine pairing.
I need to take a moment for perhaps one of the most charming sommeliers that I have met (the fact that she plied us with wine was perhaps an addition to the fact but not the reason for it).
For someone (me) who is not a huge red fan, she steered me clear of most of the rouge while gently suggesting one or two to try that I might (I did) like. I don’t like being proven wrong but on this occasion, I’ll get over it.
To start we had Chalk Stream Farm Sea Trout with Fennel, Baby Grapefruit & Avocado. As you know, two of the ingredients happen to be my worst flavours of any… Grapefruit and don’t even talk to me about fennel. However, ever open to change, the trout was delicious and PERFECTLY cooked and the avocado mousse was a perfect accompaniment. My guest (who does like fennel) enjoyed the other bits. Little known fact: Trout is actually one of my favourite fish. Paired with a Verdelho, ‘Maranoa’, David Traeger, Victoria, Australia, 2012. This wine was light and delicious. (I may have ordered myself a little bottle since).
She had the Beetroot Salad with Hazelnut, Goat curd and semi-dried grapes. While I think that beetroot salad is always a pretty safe dish, I have to admit that it is always crowd favourite. It was a nice addition with the dried grapes and gave an update to the dish. Paired with a Blaufränkisch Blend, Heinrich Red, Burgenland, Austria, 2015
For main, I went for fish on fish and had the Line Caught Stone Bass with XO sauce, Turnip and Salt & Pepper Squid. Again, the fish was perfectly cooked and seasoned but what really set it off was the little crunchy S&P Squid bites. Lets be frank, everyone likes a little bit of crunch and it was like adding a little Fish & chips comfort to an otherwise refined dish. Paired with a Chardonnay, ‘Arthur’, Domaine Drouhin, Willamette Valley, United States, 2015
My guest went for Chicken Breast with Paris Brown mushroom, chicken cream and winter salad. Now… let me tell you my issue with this. I don’t believe in ordering chicken in a restaurant… for me it is a waste of an order and then add the word salad into it and it has lost my order. However, I have to admit… this was actually very tasty (this may have something to do with the mushroom cream). Served with Marsannay, Les Grasses Têtes, Domaine Coillot, Burgundy, France, 2015
I would have loved to see some red meat on the menu, but it is an ever changing menu so I have reason to return.
For dessert, I had the Mille Feuille with Caramelised Hazelnuts & Vanilla. Why? Because who sees Mille Feuille on a menu and doesn’t order it. More importantly, who has the opportunity to say the words Mille Feuille and passes it up??? Not me. This was rich, sugary, almost dulce de leche in richness but still light. It was served with the Château Petit Vedrines, Sauternes, France 2015
My guest had the Eton Mess with Passion Fruit, Cardamom Chantilly which was served with the Tokaji Muscat, Exaltation, Holdvolgy, Hungary, 2012
Interestingly, the cuisine is described as British with Asian influence. I didn’t see any Asian influence (other than use of Green Tea in one dish) on the menu and I think the reason is not the restaurant itself, but instead from how media has allocated is genre due to the hotel and decor.
For me, as a British cuisine restaurant, it had all the hallmarks of really good British cooking and flavours and I think it is fair to give them credit for the use of classic ingredients while showcasing London’s finest vista. The menu and wine pairing has been carefully crafted and very well balanced.
The atmosphere… For me, it is the one area that they could do with increasing. With a package that is so well wrapped as this, you’d expect everything inside to match the Tiffany box on the outside.
It is a matter of noise and background. Yes, it is a hotel and so with that it attracts a mixture of hotel residents, business-professionals and outside dinner customers and people are always “mindful of guests”.
However, I think the addition of mid level background music, some maître d’ chatter and perhaps a piano (of which they do have) always makes all the difference and as soon as we started laughing and being a little more animated, the room followed suit.
Note; I am not suggesting that they turn it into an underground (aboveground) rave, but to the atmosphere level of some of the other restaurants in the Shard.
With this in place, this could be a real upscale mid-week hit in London and a definite Friday night hot-spot.
As a final point, I may could say that this may well be the best view in London… No. I’m committing. There, I’ve said it. It is the best restaurant view in London. Add the cocktails on the 66th floor and you have a winning combination. Throw on some mid level music and you’ll find me as a permanent resident.
Ting: Level 35, Shangri-La Hotel, 31 St Thomas Street, SE1 9QU London