‘A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down….’
‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’…
There’s absolutely no mistaking these songs from the classic Disney film, Mary Poppins. Songs that for many not only bring back memories of that magical film but also evoke nostalgic memories of childhood. As one of my favourite films, the adventures of the infamous nanny becomes inextricably linked with growing up and not only is the film thoroughly entertaining but it teaches a few lessons along the way!
I’ve recently been exploring some of the best themed afternoon teas in London and I’m so excited that one of my favourite restaurants with a view is making the most of the nation’s love for the practically perfect nanny. The Mary Poppins Afternoon tea at Aqua Shard is actually based on the original books by PL Travers and it is well timed to coincide with the relaunch of the five original Mary Poppins classic books from HarperCollins Children’s Books and a new Mary Poppins film that will be hitting the cinema by Christmas.
Binny and Emma are fellow afternoon tea enthusiasts and also lovers of the original film; with songs and pictures being shared in our what’s app group, it’s safe to say were all very excited for the tea! They haven’t missed one tiny detail at Aqua Shard – absolutely everything has been thought of. Immediately we admired the plates and cups which are embellished with Mary’s Shepherd’s original illustrations from the book while the champagne glasses have a little kite referencing the end of the story.
The menu comes printed on a mirror, reflecting Mary’s vanity in the book and admiration of her ‘practically perfect’ appearance.
And not only can you enjoy a chilled glass of Veuve Cliquot, but you can take your medicine along with it. There’s an option of three different medicinal liquors (just for adults of course) and I opted to top my glass up with the homemade strawberry cordial. In terms of tea there are two bespoke options; ‘Mary’s Tea’ is blend of Darjeeling from India, Ceylon from Sri Lanka and Keemun and rose petals from China. While ‘Bert’s Tea’, is a more masculine smoky combination of Souchong and Keemun from China, Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka and vanilla flavouring and cornflower from Sussex.
Savouries came first and included:
Cackleberry farm egg and black truffle (Binny’s eyes lit up at this one!)
Dingley Dell honey roast ham and mustard with Norfolk cress – a really good thick hearty ham!
Mrs Kirkham’s Ploughman’s with cheddar, Branston pickle and English mustard.
Crab and cucumber brioche.
And referencing Mary’s love for crumpets there’s a mini version topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese
The staff at Aqua Shard are really getting in on the act and our host took his role as Bert, Mary’s dear friend, very seriously. Put in charge of Mary’s famous bottomless carpet bag he delved inside to present us with a little bag of warm and fluffy scones served with jam and clotted cream.
But the tea stand itself is perhaps the star of the show. It’s designed bespoke featuring Mary’s famous flying umbrella and her boots at the bottom.
Everyone of the pastries and cakes tells it’s own little story! There’s Mary’s own hat with a black cherry mousse covered in dark chocolate with an edible flower on the brim and a cherry on top. A reference to the Banks’ house on Cherry Tree Lane. Inspired by the trip to the ‘Back to Front zoo’ there’s a golden syrup tart baked inside a tin, garnished with raspberries and clotted cream.
The ‘Strike Me Pink Sponge’ is actually a famous PL Travers quote in edible form – it’s a Victoria sponge with plum jam, buttercream, white chocolate and pink royal icing. The gingerbread star biscuit is a reference to those bought from Mrs Corry’s shop in the book. Jane and Michael Banks keep the stars from the biscuits and Mary puts them back in the sky.
Located on the 31st floor of The Shard, you can really never fail to be awed when stepping into Aqua Shard with its dramatic triple-storey atrium and view across the famous London skyline. There’s something about this view that makes the practically perfect tea even better.
If you want to finish the tea with a final spoonful of sugar there’s the Fairground candy floss to tuck into. It’s raspberry flavoured with popping candy and served from a stand in the restaurant, prepared by your friendly Bert!
I highly recommend this absolutely supercalifragilisticexpialidocious tea and with it running until April 2019, you have plenty of time to make your way down there.
The tea is served every day from 1.00-5.00pm, priced at £49 per person, or £66 with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne, and £72 with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rosé.
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