Level 31 The Shard, 31 St. Thomas Street, London, SE1 9RY
Having seen the Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea all over Instagram in recent months, I simply couldn’t wait to pay Aqua Shard a visit and try one of the most talked about Afternoon Teas ever.
The lift in Aqua Shard has two buttons, ground floor and level 32, I loved the significance of this…. why would you want to go anywhere other than floor 32, after all, it’s where the magic happens, isn’t it? As you enter Aqua Shard, you are immediately aware of being somewhere very special, the floor to ceiling glass walls give you magnificent views over the whole of London and there is the most amazing buzz in the air. Luckily, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was impossible not to be in awe of the city, even though we have visited the capital on many occasions before.
We were seated right next to the window with completely unspoilt views of Tower Bridge and the “walkie talkie” building. Views on Level 32 are 360 degrees so there really isn’t a bad seat to be had. If the view makes you feel slightly uneasy, there are plenty of tables away from the windows too.
Huge 3-foot Mary Poppins books set the back drop of the Afternoon Tea area and every table had its own 3 bottles of “Medicine” to compliment your Champagne if you fancied a Lime, Strawberry or Rum Punch twist. Aqua Shard’s very own “Bert” brought us our menus and served us our Champagne. Bert was a great addition to the experience, he took his time to talk to all the Afternoon Tea guests and judging from their smiles, they were clearly enchanted by him. The menu for Afternoon Tea was printed on individual mirrors given to all guests, another lovely touch.
You were given the choice of two teas, Bert’s tea – A smoky tea with a delicate sweet flavour or Mary’s tea – a sophisticated floral tea made with rose petals. I opted for Marys tea and my husband took the more masculine choice of Bert’s tea. Both were served in silver teapots along with a wonderful selection of sandwiches and of course, Mary’s favourite, a crumpet served with a huge rose of smoked salmon. My favourite was the delectable Cackleberry egg and black truffle sandwich, a perfect combination but all the savouries were beautifully fresh and tasty.
The star of the show was delivered next, a custom-made Mary Poppins afternoon tea stand. The stand is footed by a pair of Mary’s famous black boots and is topped with Mary’s renowned black umbrella. It really was a beauty and I’m guessing one of the most photographed afternoon tea stands is history!! Our fruit and plain scones were also magically delivered fresh out of Mary’s bottomless tapestry bag by Bert. The extra touches were endless and clearly a lot of time had been taken to provide guests with not only beautiful food but an unforgettable experience as well.
The stand was decked with an array of yummies, I loved the way each one had been clearly linked to the film. Mary’s chocolate and cherry hat was delicious, a dark chocolate outer filled with an oozing, tangy, cherry filling. There was also a “Strike me pink” delicate jam sponge and Mrs Corry’s Gingerbread star. The winner for both my husband and I though was the “Back to front zoo” Golden Syrup tart. So simple but so, so delicious. A layer of indulgent sticky gooiness topped with clotted cream and fresh raspberries. It really was truly scrumptious! Our Afternoon Tea was concluded with Candyfloss, freshly made from a drum in the restaurant, a fabulous extra which everyone seemed to love.
Aqua Shard have done a fabulous job in creating an Afternoon Tea with a difference, everything from the Mary Poppins etched china to the magic tapestry bag help to make this a truly memorable experience for adults and children alike. We were thoroughly looked after from start to finish and nothing was too much trouble for the staff. The food was lovely, and the venue was world class. Bert, who’s name we later found out was Alex, is a real asset, he’s friendly but professional and we loved seeing how passionate and proud he was about the Afternoon Tea.
I can’t wait to visit again!