I was invited to review Aqua Shard and our food and drink was complimentary. I was not paid to visit and was not under contractual obligation to write this blog post or create content on any platform.
‘All children, except one, grow up…’
Peter Pan has to be one of my favourite childhood stories… who doesn’t want to believe that fairies exist, children don’t have to grow up and you can fly if you think wonderful thoughts? I can’t wait to read to Oscar about this mischievous little boy, his adventures in Neverland and his taunting of his adversary, Captain Hook. Fortunately Oscar has already had the chance to sample JM Barrie’s famous tale, in the form of afternoon tea at one of our favourites, Aqua Shard.
“Would you like an adventure now, or would like to have your tea first?”
Did you know that author JM Barrie actually gifted the copyright of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital, this means that the hospital receives royalties every time there is a performance of Peter Pan! Not only has the story enchanted people for years, the continual retelling of it also benefits seriously ill children. With that in mind, the new Peter Pan tea has been created in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity and £2 from each tea sold will be donated to the charity.
Aqua Shard is probably my most often recommended restaurant in London, partly for the gorgeous decor (it’s recently been refurbished), the great food but most of all for the sweeping views across the city. With floor to ceiling windows, there’s honestly not a bad seat in the house. We took a seat in one of my favourite positions with a view of the famous ‘cheesegrater’ and enjoyed a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne. There’s been no detail left unthought of here as even the plates contain illustrations from David Wyatt’s artwork published with permission from Great Ormond Street.
The afternoon tea itself arrived with a flourish and a puff of magic smoke! It’s served ‘onboard’ The Jolly Roger, Captain Hook’s pirate ship. A wonderfully original serving suggestion and another example of the great attention to detail that is typical of Aqua Shard.
Starting with the sandwiches, there’s the Little Bird sandwich coming from the line ‘I’m youth, I’m joy, I’m a little bird that has broken out of the egg.’ Which is a delicious egg sandwich on white bread. The Lost Boys sandwich (filled with chicken and bacon) is wrapped in paper stating the four rules of the Lost Boys.
- No Talking to Pirates
- Believe in Fairies
- Think Happy Thoughts
- Never Grow Up
Rules I think that we could all live by!
As well as the sandwiches, there’s a delicious selection of savouries. ‘Codfish’ Captain Hook is a cod brandade coloured red and with a breadstick hook, inspired by Peter’s nickname for Hook. ‘Hook is a codfish’. Baked pig is one of Peter Pan’s favourite foods, and it is represented by a sausage rolls (so morish we asked for seconds!). Finally in the savoury selection is the mushroom chimney which is a homage to the moment in the book that the Lost Boys use mushrooms to hide the chimneys in their underground home.
The scones are presented as a treasure chest loaded with treats and there’s mammee-apple jam and coconut clotted cream to go with them!
As usual sweet treats are the most eagerly anticipated in an afternoon tea. My favourite was Tick-Tock the crocodile after Hook’s toothy enemy! Here he’s a sweet hiding in jelly ready to try and pounce on Hook and devour his other hand. On top of the glass is a Tinker Bell cookie, modelled on Peter’s fairy friend. A sprinkle of fairy dust completes the confection!
Do you know how fairies were born?
“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.” Isn’t that a beautiful thought?
Chocolate comes in the form of Peter’s secret hollow tree, representing the tree trunk which hides the entrance to the Lost Boys home. It was as deliciously decadent as it looks!
Hook’s Perish cake is a Lamington and it is inspired by the pirate’s plan to leave ‘large rich cake of jolly thickness with green sugar’ on the mermaid lagoon hoping children will eat it before perishing.
Who better to reminisce about childhood with than my sister, who came along with Oscar and I to try the tea!
I can’t tell you how much we loved this tea, I mean honestly who wouldn’t. It’s the perfect treat for both old and young… and definitely for those who really don’t want to grow up.