The incredible Pink Afternoon Tea at Ting in the Shangri-La London has been inspired by the journeys of four incredible women, Gina, Maggie, Mandy and Michele, who received breast cancer treatment at Guy’s Cancer. [Disclosure: we were guests of the Shangri-La London hotel but all enthusing is very much my own.]
I wanted to begin the review with their stories – this wonderful afternoon tea is as delicious and luxurious as befits a Shangri-La creation – but as someone who has had friends and family who have battled breast cancer, the fact that the Shangri-La team is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month with rose-hued dining, means so much.
What’s more, a portion of the proceeds from the pink provisions available at TĪNG Lounge and Restaurant, GŎNG Bar and Bar 31 will be donated to the breast cancer ward of Guy’s Cancer, the hotel’s charity partner.
As soon as you walk into the magnificent hotel entrance, the pink enfolds you, and carries through all the way to Gong, London’s highest hotel bar. (As well as the Pink Tea, they have a special dish on the menu at Ting, a special cocktail at Gong & a bit G&T at Bar 31.)
Covid note: the attention to detail is magnificent; dedicated walking lanes, hand sanitiser everywhere, tables well spread out, they are seating parties at different times in similar areas, and all of the team are wearing beautiful pink masks. Did I mention the mannekins acting as placeholders?
Shooting up in the lift to the 35th floor, we were welcomed to our seats and handed sanitised iPads in lieu of paper menus.
We began with a flourish; the palate cleanser of apricot, berry and Calamansi iced tea was presented on a bed of dry ice, and swiftly followed by a glass of Laurent Perrier rosé.
The savoury tier was delicious; a Bermondsey cheese spring onion quiche, Wiltshire han Tunworth on white bread, salted cucumber cream cheese & pink peppercorn on harissa bread, plus a smoked salmon and wasabi “gourgere”. Gorgeous.
They were followed by perfectly baked pink scones served with homemade marmalade, strawberry jam & clotted cream.
The hotel’s special Pink Afternoon Tea was inspired by the journeys of four incredible women, Gina, Maggie, Mandy and Michele, who received breast cancer treatment at Guy’s Cancer. The group also named the pastries, which are featured on the tea’s top tier.
In 2009, Michele was studying to become a social worker when she noticed a change in her left breast. Shortly after receiving a referral from her doctor, she was diagnosed with cancer. Michele continued her studies periodically while going through treatment including six months of chemotherapy, a lumpectomy, left side mastectomy and reconstruction. Michele completed her degree four years later with upper second-class honours. “Michele’s Can-do Cremeux” was named for her perseverance and positive outlook.
Gina was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 after finding a lump in her breast during a check-up with her doctor. A single mother to a 10-year-old daughter, she made the difficult decision to leave her job to focus on treatment and recovery. She named the pastry “Flo’s Fig and Hazelnut Tart” as a tribute to her daughter Florence who was her “absolute rock throughout.”
Maggie, a dance teacher, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 after receiving the results of a biopsy from her doctor. During her second six-month round of chemotherapy, Maggie began to lose her hair and described this as the moment her diagnosis sunk in. “While my two sons, husband, brother and school were so incredibly supportive, it was still quite frightening when my hair began to fall out,” she recalled. Maggie named “Syd’s Smashing Sponge” after her cat, who began sleeping next to her head during this challenging time. “It’s like she knew what I was going through,” she said.
Mother of two children and previously a nurse, Mandy was diagnosed with primary breast cancer after discovering a lump in her breast in 2011. After overcoming a number of difficult operations, she experienced her first recurrence in 2013. Two years later, her condition was diagnosed as treatable, but not curable. Her optimism and strength inspired the name of the tea’s macaron, which was coined ‘Mandy’s Mantra Macaron.’ “I don’t let my diagnosis define me,” commented Mandy. “Every day I make the choice to pack as much life as I possibly can into the next 24 hours.”
Oh, and I suppose the view is ok. [BE STIIL MY HEART.]
This Pink Afternoon Tea at Ting in the Shangri-La London (and the cocktails & menu items that are additionally supporting Guys Cancer) is at the Shard, available from 1st October to 8th November 2020.
On a more serious note – while breast cancer screenings were temporarily paused in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, the vital service has since resumed. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is an opportunity for all people to prioritise their health and that of their loved ones. Please check yourself.
So, jam then cream, or cream then jam?