“Would you like an adventure now, or would like to have your tea first?” famously asked Peter Pan in 1911. And on the 31st floor at AquaShard, you can now happily have both.
We all know food fads come and go but there is one quintessentially English past time that’s always been a firm favourite of the nation- The indulgence of afternoon tea! Combine the elegance of tea, with a breathtaking panoramic view of London and you get the new Peter Pan themed afternoon tea at AquaShard, which is also in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Being a self-confessed afternoon tea addict with a penchant for all things sweet, I was thrilled to be visiting this popular venue, which is highly regarded for its contemporary take on modern dishes as well its exquisite champagnes and cocktails. But if like me, you get peckish between the hours of lunch and cocktails than there’s only one thing for it- An afternoon of pure indulgence!
Peter Pan is an incredibly poignant story from many of our childhoods and tells the tale of the boy who never wanted to grow up, with a twinkle in his eye and inclination for fun and adventure. So his playful character epitomizes the awe-inspiring architecture of the AquaShard building perfectly.
My guest and I were seated with a front-row view of London and beyond, at a comfortable table with ample legroom. We were greeted with the grand dame of champagnes, a sparkling glass of Veuve Cliquot, and our friendly waitress explained the menu. As well as the themed edibles, our feast came with a choice of two teas, Darling and Adventure. The latter holds melodies of mango, ginger, lemon and orange which my guest chose.
I went for the darling tea, not only because I thought the name sounded rather fabulous, but the interfusion of faintly sweet notes, a blend of rose petals and black teas from around the world sounded delicious. The floral finish did not disappoint! Our tablescape arrived and took us completely by surprise as it was a tiered ship!
It was in perfect ship-shape for a Pan adventure as it even had a dry ice finish, creating an illusion that it was floating atop the tea stand. Set on board was an array of treats awaiting us, all keeping in with the characters of the story. The menu was a decadent collection of sweet and savoury, including a ‘Codfish’ Captain Hook and a ‘Lost Boys’ chicken and bacon sandwich.
When the delicate desserts arrived (which are always my weakness) I was smitten. Freshly baked scones with lashings of vanilla and raisin were served in a wooden treasure chest, accompanied with jam and coconut clotted cream. A second helping was definitely on the cards!
Our ship held Hook’s perish coconut cake, crocodile jelly, Peters favourite chocolate mousse cake and a pastry ‘Tinkerbell’ – which was almost too pretty to eat! Adorned on the plates were Peter Pan and Tinkerbell motifs which evoked fond memories of being read the book as a child. Their attention to detail was second to none and the friendly staff were impeccable when serving us. The ambience of AquaShard is spacious and luxurious, yet relaxing and friendly. It is a perfect place for a catch up with friends while looking out across the views of the capital.
The Peter Pan tea is also particularly special as it is held in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital. AquaShard are donating £2 of every afternoon tea sold to help the hospital which features in the original story by J.M Barrie. In 1929, J.M Barrie kindly gifted the rights to the story of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital. And so, this wonderful donation from the boy who wouldn’t grow up still helps children all over the world today.
By Sam Milton