“Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.” – and although I’ve never been very good at navigating using the stars, I am very much confident of finding my way up to one of my favourite places in London, Aqua Shard. Having thoroughly enjoyed my past afternoon tea experiences there, including the memorable Mary Poppins Afternoon Tea, I was delighted to be invited back to review their new Peter Pan Afternoon Tea, launched in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. A spectacular dining space on Level 31 of The Shard, I can never get bored of the breath-taking views of the London skyline through their floor-to-ceiling glass windows.
As always we were welcomed by the friendliest manager, David, a familiar face to those who have frequented Aqua Shard. Our glasses were filled with chilled Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne which is always the perfect way to start off. We ordered a pot each of their new bespoke black teas by premium tea company, Camellia’s Tea House. The Adventure Tea is a fusion black tea with exotic notes of mango, ginger, lemon and orange peel, an ode to the fun and exploratory character of Peter Pan. The lighter Darling Tea is a celebration of the sweet character, Wendy, blended with elegant rose petals to give a faintly sweet and floral finish.
Designed to encompass all of the magic and nostalgia of the classic children’s fairy tale, the afternoon tea was served on a creative tea-stand that resembled Captain Hook’s infamous ship, complete with masts and sails, the dry ice effect adding a bit of theatre to the whole experience. Aqua Shard just never fails to deliver on quality and presentation.
We began with the sandwiches which included the Little Bird, a twist on the classic egg mayo sandwich, with cucumber, chives and aromatic truffle – as you may know by now, anything with truffle always wins me over. The Lost Boys was an equally appetizing sandwich filled with roasted chicken, crispy bacon, mayonnaise and mustard, wrapped in a sheet on which was printed the Lost Boys Rules: No talking to pirates, Believe in fairies, Think happy thoughts, and last but not least, Never grow up. I think that I would have made an excellent new recruit if I were a boy, but as you know from the storyline, there are no “lost girls”, because as Peter explained, “girls are far too clever to fall out of their prams”!
The trio of delicious savouries included An Enormous Mushroom Chimney made from a light brioche bread with duxelles, a mushroom condiment, which had a lovely earthy flavour. The Baked Pig was a delightful pork sausage roll with caramelised onion, encased within a crisp and golden puff pastry. The “Codfish” Captain Hook was a deep fried cod brandade shaped as the infamous villain’s hook, coated in a vibrant red breadcrumb.
When we were finished with the savouries, we were presented with a charming miniature treasure chest which opened up to reveal the much anticipated freshly-baked vanilla and golden raisin scones, accompanied by mammee-apple jam and coconut clotted cream.
We finally tucked into the array of sweet treats that were named rather creatively and presented. Peter’s Secret Never Tree Entrance resembled the shape of a log, made from a rich dark chocolate mousse, raspberry jam, chocolate sponge, and ganache. Hook’s Perish Cake was an eye-catching lime green Victoria cake, coated in desiccated coconut, and topped with some fondant icing – you may recall the poisoned cake that was sent by Hook which almost killed Tinkerbell, but I can assure you that this version is safe for consumption! Served in a shot glass was Tick Tock the Crocodile, a much tamer and friendlier version of Captain Hook’s great nemesis, in the edible form of a crocodile gummy swimming in a raspberry and Roobois tea jelly – the red colour is supposed to represent Hook’s blood I believe, although I would choose raspberry over real blood any day! Hovering above the glass was a sweet pastry biscuit with white icing in the shape of Tinker Bell, finished off with gold fairy dust – I was secretly hoping that we were going to be able to fly off to Neverland! Here’s a fun fact though: in the original story, Peter and the Lost Boys could fly unaided, before JM Barrie added Fairy Dust as a necessary factor for flying later on, after several reports of children injuring themselves attempting to fly from their beds (!) Okay, maybe ‘fun’ isn’t quite the right way to describe it, but intriguing nonetheless – health and safety first as they say.
And of course we couldn’t miss out on the Fairy Dust cocktails, a refreshing concoction of mint & cucumber Ketel One, apple liqueur, ginger switchel, Kaffir lime leaf powder, Absinthe, and of course, gold fairy dust. For the younger crowd and teetotals, there is a non-alcoholic option aptly named, ‘Never Grow Up’ punch, made out of pineapple, elderflower tonic and grenadine.
Great ambience and top-notch food as always, it was overall a wonderful afternoon tea experience that is sure to be a hit amongst both young and old (but young at heart!)
The Peter Pan Afternoon Tea is currently served from Thursday to Sunday from 12:15pm – 4:15pm, priced at £52 per person. Or for a more decadent experience, you can choose to upgrade to one of the champagne options: £68 per person with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne or £79 per person with a glass of Veuve Clicquot Rose Champagne.
£2 from each afternoon tea sold will be donated to the charity, to help seriously ill children from across the UK who are treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).
- My afternoon tea experience at Aqua Shard was complimentary – views and photos are my own.