Immerse yourself in the world of P.L Travers’ Mary Poppins until April at Aqua Shard.
As soon as I saw Aqua Shard would be putting on a Mary Poppins themed afternoon tea I knew I had to go; Mary Poppins is one of my favourite stories from childhood and who doesn’t love a trip down memory lane? Especially when it comes with finger sandwiches, cake and champagne.
The menu was printed on a mirror and impossible for me to get a picture of (first world problems) or to read (forgotten glasses problems) but I liked the concept.
My friend Lucy loves afternoon tea as much as I do so we booked our table in the summer and patiently waited for November to appear so that we could see what practically perfect delights we’d uncover in Mary’s infamous carpet bag.
Lucy and I opted for the champagne afternoon tea (£66 p.p) and contemplated which ‘medicine’ to add to our glass of fizz; in the end we both settled on strawberry. I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t taste anything other than champagne so I’m not sure how much they actually add other than being quite a cute idea.
We both chose Burt’s tea, smoky and packed full of flavour; it was a good choice. The sandwiches and cakes arrived and it was time to dive into the food. I had the truffled egg sandwiches which we absolutely divine and the honey roast ham and mustard; Lucy had the crab brioche and smoked salmon mini crumpets.
Unusually for me at afternoon tea I thought the savoury part was by far the best; the sandwiches were really, really lovely and a hard act to follow.
Our waiter turned up with Mary’s famous oversized carpet bag and produced a bag of warm scones which we tucked into with clotted cream and piles of jam.
First up was the ‘strike me pink’ sponge; a Victoria Sponge encased in what I think was raspberry powder and topped with fresh fruit and white chocolate drops. I found the powder on the outside quite bitter and the cake was a little heavy for me but it was still perfectly pleasant.
Next up was the ‘back to front zoo’ golden syrup tart which I had one mouthful of and really didn’t like at all. Too heavy, too sticky and too sweet. It was like eating a tablespoon of golden syrup and nothing else. Not for me.
I really liked Mary’s chocolate and cherry hat and this was the only dessert I managed to finish. The chocolate was beautiful crisp and the filling silky smooth.
Followed by Mrs Corry’s gingerbread star – I broke a bit off but by this point I wasn’t really enjoying anything and everything tasted of golden syrup still.
Finally, once you’ve finished your cakes (if you finish them…) you’re brought a stick of candy floss which is made out on the restaurant floor. I had a mouthful and then insisted I wouldn’t have anymore so I put it down and then picked at it until it was all gone. I have no willpower.
Aqua Shard have clearly gone all out on the concept and the attention to detail – some staff in costume, the candyfloss stand, the medicine bottles – is clearly something they’ve taken very seriously but for me, this didn’t translate through to the food. Whilst the concept itself is excellent I think the execution could have been better and I left feeling slightly disappointed; I’ve had much better afternoon tea for a lot less and where I’ve had afternoon tea in a similar price range they have all knocked spots off the Mary Poppins tea at Aqua Shard.
So while I really wanted to love the afternoon tea as much as the experience I just didn’t unfortunately.
Mary Poppins afternoon tea starts at £49 per person and runs until April 2019.