When I feel it’s time for an indulgent treat, Aqua Shard is usually the place I head to. One, because I am a creature of habit, so when I find somewhere or something I enjoy my fierce loyalty (let’s call it that and not boringness, yes?) soon comes out to play. Two, because while clearly pretty indulgent – just LOOK at those ridiculous views – it’s not actually that unaffordable. I have been living on a student budget for close to five years now, so I should know – is £17 for a fry-up a tad expensive? Yes. But equally, you can sit and relax and enjoy the sights for a couple of hours while nibbling on a £3 pastry. Have I ever been content with nibbling on a pastry? Admittedly, no – but hey, there is a time and a place to put my greediness on trial, and this is not it (phew).
There is a third reason I make Aqua Shard my breakfast restaurant of choice – the staff, though probably not for the reasons you would expect. I love the fact that the service is, well, not great. Crazy? Perhaps, but when I rocked up to the impressive building for my first time, I felt a little apprehensive. Was it going to be one of those intimidating places that make you feel super out of place for not looking like an off-duty model or snazzy business person? Ugh, maybe that McDonald’s across the street would suit little unassuming me better? Well, if you too like me suffer from crippling self-doubt, NEVER FEAR! No upturned noses or arrogant half smiles for this staff! Slightly bored, or wide-eyed confused stares when you ask for some water for the fifth time, maybe. Don’t get me wrong, the food has never, in my experience, been anything but excellent, and the fact it takes about five people to actually transfer it from the retro trolley to your table just adds to the mismatched charm of the place in my opinion. It’s all very endearing and homely, something I was not expecting from a swanky restaurant whose overheads must be astronomical. I do love me a good juxtaposition.
This month the special occasion (ahem, excuse) was my birthday, and the plan originally included the aforementioned £3 pastries. Blame it on the exhilaration of the day, or perhaps the headrush-inducing lift ride, but I soon found myself bespeaking smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, rye bread and corn fritters with crème fraîche (yup, you guessed it, my staple – and I highly recommend it) AND their unmissable signature Breakfast Martini. Sorry not sorry.
My lovely co-diners went for the Full English and the Tattie Scones with kippers and black pudding.
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Breakfast is served 7.00 – 10.30am Monday to Friday and 9.00-10.00am Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.