The swanky new Shangri-La hotel has just opened at the Shard, the tallest building in London, and indeed Western Europe. Occupying floors 34-52, it is London’s most high-rise hotel, and one of the most anticipated new openings in the capital. On entry to the ground floor reception, high speed lifts whisk you up to the main hotel lobby on the 35th floor, which impresses with spaciousness, understated opulence (all grey marble,) and floor-to-ceiling windows wherever you look, to make the most of the fantastic views. The restaurant, Ting, occupies most of this level, along with the adjoining Ting Lounge, which serves a more casual oriental street food and British classics menu alongside an extensive drinks list.
The restaurant area is suitably opulent and comfortable, with tables well spaced (no danger of feeling cramped here,) seating comfortable, and the ever-present vistas across London to admire in between courses.The menu itself looks notionally British, but, as becomes clear when the dishes arrive, the cooking brings a slight Asian influence, in keeping with the heritage of the Shangri-La.
I went for the Dorset crab to start with, fulsomely praised by one of the several charming and helpful staff, followed by John Dory for the main. These hardly sound like Asian dishes, but, when they arrived, it was clear that they were subtly infused with Asian flavours, and that there was no lack of ambition in the kitchen in aiming for real culinary heights.
The crab was exceptionally good, with the meaty flakes offset with cool, moist pieces of cucumber to balance the strength of the crustacean flavour, and the dish providing a satisfying mix of meaty, crunchy and fruity textures.
The John Dory was also prepared to a similar level of excellence, with a surprising but superbly delicious combination of flavours, making a complex but easily appreciated dish from a relatively straightforward fish, whose flavour still shone through all the combinations and twists of taste.
For dessert, I chose the Rosewater Parfait, and it turned out to be one of the best desserts I’ve tried this year. The sweet rosewater jelly and sorbets combined to give a powerful and heavenly sensory experience, though one could have too much of a good thing- this isn’t a dish to have every day, such is its sweet intensity. Eating it is something akin to inhaling a fine perfume.
There were no hiccups in either the service or cooking, despite this being the first week of opening, and Ting can immediately be welcomed into the upper echelons of the London dining scene, in every sense. Prices are pretty much par for the course for ambience and quality at this level- hardly cheap, but not unreasonable, in context.