I received a virgin experience days voucher for The View from The Shard and Afternoon Tea at the 5* Luxury Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard for Two in the GONG Bar on the 52nd floor.
I used the voucher to celebrate my wedding anniversary.
We arrived on the 52nd floor and were shown to our window seat. Great!………. Oh actually not so great…. Window seats are quite close together, as we were about to sit, the table next to us were dominating the air space with their conversation. I discreetly asked for a more private table but my request was denied. We sat and tolerated trying to talk over the next table for about 10 minutes but then my husband got up and asked to move.
We actually got a better seat. Not right next to the window but a sofa against the wall with us both looking out onto the view.
We were offered champagne but as we had a voucher we asked if there was a supplement we could pay to upgrade to the champagne afternoon tea. This was denied and instead we were offered the wine list. The difference between a champagne afternoon tea and a standard afternoon tea is £8 but the cheapest glass on the drinks menu is £19. We declined the champagne.
The tea was served with pre packed sugars. I know this might come across a bit snobbish but sugar cubes in packets? I’ve never come across this before in a London afternoon tea. It would look more elegant loose out of the packet.
We were given an amuse bouche of gazpacho and it was absolutely delicious! Lovely flavour and a lovely spicy heat. I couldn’t wait for the food now. So we waited.
The sandwiches were cold, so I presume they were taken straight from the fridge. The beef sandwich had a thick layer of hard mustard butter which was not very pleasant.
The rest of the sandwiches were really nice, especially the chicken. The truffle egg mayo was also really good. We did ask for another round of sandwiches but the temperature spoils the overall taste and texture. I really dislike fridge cold bread. Our hearts were beginning to sink. What a disappointment.
Next we tucked into the scones. There were two fruit and two plain. My ‘fruit’ scone contained 2 pieces of fruit. My husband had no fruit in his. They were ok but lacked fruit.
Before we moved onto the cakes I wanted another pot of tea. So I managed to get a staff members attention and ordered another pot of earl grey. I waited but it didn’t arrive. We were due up at the view so I didn’t bother to chase it up as we didn’t have time.
We ate the desserts and I stole a cup of hubby’s tea.
We were given an apple crumble and custard dessert in a shot glass, but had no cutlery. I ate mine with my dirty tea spoon but my husband refused to do that. He would have asked for a spoon but it was so hard to get anyone’s attention. We’re not used to such inattentive service.
We got up to leave and got our coats. We told the staff member about the tea not arriving and she apologised.
Whilst we were talking about our disappointment in the lift a different staff member interrupted us as he was concerned about our negative comments. He took my contact details and within a few hours I had an email with an apology and an offer of two complimentary glasses of champagne.
I know I am a food snob and I am used to eating in Michelin star restaurants and I’m accustomed to incredible customer service. I had gone to The Gong Bar expecting high standards but unfortunately they were not met. I can’t say I would recommend this afternoon tea. The cocktails did look amazing and obviously the views are incredible, even on a rainy day, but in terms of value for money, well, I’ve been to quite a few afternoon teas in London which have cost similar amounts, and the food and service has been far more superior.
I don’t believe in writing bad reviews but I feel really disappointed with my experience and it was done for my Wedding Anniversary, which wasn’t even acknowledged.
I have been offered a drink as an apology which does soften the blow I just hope that I’m not disappointed again on my next visit.