Celebrating Baby Sussex at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard

Afternoon tea served with view of Tower Bridge.

The long awaited member of Frogmore Cottage is here and we can hardly contain ourselves! Welcome to the world Baby Sussex! As London is now officially in jubilation I marked the occasion with Royal High Tea at Shangri-La Hotel At The Shard. In honour of the royal birth and motherhood everywhere the hotel has devised a very special celebratory menu for us to enjoy.

This however, is no ordinary occasion and as such this is no ordinary high tea. A view over Tower Bridge and the Thames from the comfort of Shangri-La’s TĪNG Lounge and Restaurant is one of the greatest privileges afforded to us by the hotel. I’m forever in awe of it no matter how many times I see it. So here’s what I had:

To eat

Wiltshire ham and piccalilli wrapped in the neatest of soft bread was the perfect nod to a traditional tea. Scottish smoked salmon, Elderflower poached chicken and cucumber were also part of this heavenly treat.

For my sweet tooth the blueberry cheesecake, chocolate sable with passion fruit cream and strawberry mousse with rhubarb cream were all I could have hoped for and more. May I add that the scones gratified all the senses.

To drink

Tīng Lounge and Restaurant welcomes you with their signature white jasmine tea with apricot. Coupled with Shangri-La’s devotion to refined and sensuous enjoyment of their guests the tea was pourled elegantly in to a magical cloud against the backdrop of London’s skyline. It was simply breathtaking.

There is also an extensive menu of the highest quality Shangri-La loose leaf teas. My favourite was the infused Beautiful Skin Tea of elderflower and hints of rose. China White Monkey tea with honey nuances was wonderful. I also tried the Green Mint of China gunpowder tea blended with peppermint leaves. It was crisp, fresh and utterly pleasing.

Why this menu is so special

To make this occasion extra special the Shangri-La At The Shard team have dug deep in to their past. Sentimentality, family recipes and childhood memories have been scoured to honour the most important women in our lives.

Executive Pastry Chef Benoit Defait has contributed his mother’s blueberry cheesecake recipe. Benoit fondly remembers the family making wild berry jam together. “It took three months for each jar to be ready which I was very impatient about. I would help my grandmother carefully place a label on each jar and then once three months had passed we would eagerly open them together and eat it by the spoonful.” As the family lived close to a farm who gave them cheese they’d make cakes and tarts using all the ingredients. I got a taste of that French countryside, those wild berries and share in the memories of grandson and grandmother cheekily eating spoonfuls of jam together. I felt truly honoured.

Commis Pastry Chef Lucy Wall cherishes memories of baking crumbles and cakes with her mother and grandmother. “My grandmother used to grow rhubarb and strawberries in the garden which we’d use to make crumbles, cakes and pies. I was responsible for rolling the pastry and loved getting stuck in. Although my favourite part was licking the spoon”, says Chef Lucy. So how grateful I was to taste her grandmother’s strawberry mousse which was divine.

Pastry Sous Chef Emma Watts was inspired to become a pastry chef by her grandmother who baked with her from a very young age. Chef Emma says, “My granny had a stack of cake cutters and cake decoration tools which my sister and I loved to play with. We were responsible for weighing the flour and sugar on the old scales. We’d constantly fight over who was right!” Her favourite cake to bake with her grandmother was a Victoria Sponge and that is exactly what Chef Emma contributed to The Royal High Tea. It’s truly worthy of the highest praise.

There was also a surprise bliss of Executive Chef Jeremy’s mother’s bara brith which I found exceptional. Executive Sous Chef David’s mother’s passion fruit cream with chocolate sable was the stuff of dreams.

So you see Baby Sussex, we are really happy that you’re here. We offer you the highest honour we could possibly bestow upon you; Royal High Tea served overlooking the greatest city on earth.


I was a guest of Shangri-La At The Shard Hotel. The Royal High Tea with a royal baby cocktail or mocktail costs £62 per person and available until 30th May 2019.

Can the Chinese God of Love save Valentine’s Day?

Two Valentine's Day cocktails tied together with red silk ribbon
Valentine’s Day cocktails tied with silk ribbon

Yep, it’s almost here. Valentine’s Day. The day that we can unashamedly celebrate how we feel about our significant other or anyone else for that matter. Year after year it raises the inevitable question of how or where is best for celebrating love. Restaurants are over-booked, bars over-crowded and weekends-away will almost always be spent with other couples who also attempted to get away. So who can save Valentine’s Day?

Cue Yue Lao, the immortal Chinese God of Love. Yue Lao translates to old man under the moon. In Chinese mythology he appears at night under the moon and ties divinely fated couples with silken cord. It’s believed that once this is done nothing can prevent their union.

This February we invite Yue Lao to work his magic over London. GŎNG Bar at Shangri-La at The Shard has created two his and hers cocktails bound together with a red ribbon to evoke the spirit of Yue Lao.

His is a peaty mixture with a meaty bite; Talisker, Mastiha, Cocchi Americano and yuzu with lavender bitters. It’s served with a cone of beef biltong. Needless to say the flavour pairings of salted beef with the smokey whisky and yuzu is heavenly indeed.

Hers is shaken Champagne in a flute garnished with rather romantic crushed rose petals. It’s crafted with Peter in Florence London Dry Gin, Noilly Prat Dry, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, lapsang, cranberry, orange blossom and raspberry blanc de blancs foam. Sip it slowly and it transforms into a full bodied, perfectly balanced drink.

Yue Lao cocktails can be ordered together in any combination; His and His, His and Hers or Hers and Hers. Be sure to experience them between 11th – 17th February at GŎNG Bar. Cocktails cost £20 each or together with single red rose for £45. Book in advance so you won’t have to share your romantic moments with anyone else.

A romantic table setting overlooking Tower Bridge
A candle-lit Valentine’s Day dinner over London

Once your romantic fate has been bound you may continue your evening on the 35th floor at TĪNG Restaurant which has created a very special Valentine’s Day experience. Between 14th – 17th February London can enjoy a three course menu priced at £85 per person or £140 per person with wine pairing and a glass of Champagne.

Scrumptious dishes on the menu include Cornish halibut and parsley velouté and braised haunch of roe deer with smoked beetroot and red cabbage. A meat-free option of foraged mushrooms, pickled onion, Jerusalem artichoke and mushroom tea is also on offer. Has Yue Lao saved Valentine’s Day? I certainly think so.

For more information visit: www.the-shard.com/shangri-la

Shangri-La London launches new cocktail menu at Gŏng Bar

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It’s October and we’re finally allowed to utter the C-word. Yes, it’s cocktail season and we’re ready to indulge. London’s Gōng Bar has taken this readiness to dizzying new heights. The bar’s new cocktail menu entitled A Miscellany of Inventions was unveiled just in time for the festive season.

It’s an acknowledgement of the incredible innovations that have impacted society and transformed the world we live in today. A total of 18 cocktails follow the journey of inventions which changed the course of humanity; an ambitious undertaking as well as an unusual one.

A Miscellany of Inventions is divided into five categories; floral and delicate, fruity and citrusy, bitter and sweet, punchy and long finish and non-alcoholic. My favourites of the menu included Director’s Cut (pictured above) which celebrates the birth of the motion picture. Served with buttered corn it combines Don Julio Blanco, elderflower and lime. Cooperman which is an aperitif with fruity notes honours the invention of the barrel; Nikka single-barrel Whisky, Ginjo sake infused Mastiha with melon and citrus make for a supreme cocktail.

The creation of the menu has been a labour of love for head bartender Christian Maspes and his team. He says of the new menu,

The cocktails bring to life inventions that have been real breakthroughs. It is hard to imagine the world we know today without screwdrivers and computers, and movies and guitars. Creating a new invention is like taking a leap of faith and being open to the possibilities and the same goes for the creation of a new cocktail. We really enjoyed bringing our ideas to life and we look forward to entertaining our guests with our unique creations.

For those with a more adventurous spirit there is also Look no Hands which celebrates the invention of the bicycle. The drink combines Copper Dog Whisky, triple sec, an IPA reduction and Fernet-Branca and is served complete with a bamboo bicycle.

If you’re Sober for October you might try La Dolce Vita which is one of the non-alcoholic options. With flavours of  coconut milk, halva, grapefruit and lime blended  to create a creamy and zesty finish it’s a fitting tribute to the creation of gelato.

As London begins to shift gear for the holiday season Gōng offers a fresh approach to the new season. Being the highest hotel bar in Western Europe, with unparalleled views across the city, it invites us to change rhythm in graceful refinement. Combined with Shangri-La’s exquisite hospitality it’s surely a call we must heed. Who would we be to resist?

 

 

Gōng Bar is located at: Level 52, Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London SE1 9QU. For more information visit: www.the-shard.com/restaurants/gong/

Theatre in the Clouds – exclusive plays at Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard

Revels in Hand, Actors Mark Donald, Henry Gilbert, Greer Dale-Foulkes, Melanie Fullbrook, Lucy Eaton, at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London (Photo credit Tomas Turpie)

After an indulgent, record-breaking summer, if we ever needed a reason to look forward to warm, cosy autumn evenings in London, Shangri-La Hotel has just awarded it to us. From 9th October 2018 – 31st January 2019 the hotel will offer performances of short plays in the privacy of its exclusive suites. As such, the aptly named Theatre in the Clouds, raises the bar in luxurious escapism. Theatre, arts and entertainment in London, as we know them, have thus been restored to the pinnacle of its beginnings.

I was thrilled to be invited to an evening preview at Shangri-La Hotel’s most exclusive signature suite the Shangri-La Suite. Spellbound by the view, through floor to ceiling windows, of River Thames curving its way around London’s treasured icons St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and Tower Bridge, I took my seat. Champagne and canapés flowed freely setting the scene for a double bill of unforgettable performances.

Hands Across the Sea

The comedy Hands Across the Sea, one of ten short plays of the Tonight at 8.30 series, written by English playwright Noël Coward, was first. This slightly adapted version was a pitch perfect choice for the lavish setting. The plot, spun around the characters’ valiant attempt to mask absent mindedness with British politeness, floated effortlessly to the end. I was so gripped that I hardly blinked. Melanie Fullbrook thrilled as giddy Lady Gilpin. In the absence of a traditional setting I was mesmerised by a riveting performance of an exceptional cast.

Revels in Hand, Actors Freddie Hutchins, Lucy Eaton, at Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London (Photo credit Tomas Turpie)

Ways and Means

Ways and Means, set in 1930s French Riviera, was second on the bill. The audience was ushered to the bedroom and we took our seats around the bed. Lucy Eaton and Freddie Hutchins were an heiress and her gambling husband, on the verge of overstaying their welcome, at a friend’s villa. This delightful comedy was a fitting finale presenting a cycle of unfortunate events with a gleeful ending. Lucy Eaton and Freddie Hutchins simply owned dysfunctional marital bliss.

Revels in Hand

Private theatre company Revels in Hand provided the entertainment for the evening. Lucy Eaton, Melanie Fullbrook and Freddie Hutchins set up the bespoke theatre company after meeting at Cambridge University. Proving that immense risks are the only ones that ever pay off, the three actors set about reviving a practice which had died out since Shakespearean times; performing to intimate gatherings in private homes. A pastime favoured by 16th – early 17th century aristocracy there was little guarantee that it would work in modern times. Bringing the theatre to one’s home may seem extravagant an idea. However, unadulterated entertainment has proved to have universal appeal as Revels in Hand have so far performed in drawing rooms, polo fields and even private yachts around the world. How fortunate for us that Shangri-La Hotel has collaborated with the company to bring this unparalelled experience to London. It’s an autumn event not to be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

Performance schedule for Shangri-La at The Shard: 9th October 2018 – Hands Across the Sea and Ways and Means (Nöel Coward), 8thNovember 2018 – Bell, Book and Candle (John Van Druten), 6th December 2018 – Voice of the Turtle (John Van Druten), 31st January 2019 – Voice of the Turtle (John Van Druten)

Tickets, including two glasses of Champagne and canapés, priced £85 can be purchased here: https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/theatre/theatre-in-the-clouds

An overnight stay including breakfast and show package based on two people sharing at £685 per person can be purchased here: shangri-la.com

Shangri-La Suite is located at: Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London SE1 9QU