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Bar Review: GŎNG Bar, Shangri-La The Shard, London

Parading the title as Europe’s highest hotel bar, GŎNG Bar at the Shangri-La The Shard is certainly worth a visit.

By Anuja Gaur  |  December 4, 2021
GONG, Shangri-La The Shard

Come rain, shine or moody grey skies, it’s indisputable that London boasts one of the world’s most awe inspiring backdrops of our beloved capital’s striking skylines.

Resting with ravishing grace inside the soaring sky high palace of Shangri-La The Shard, London, lies the urbane cocktail bar trappings of GŎNG Bar. Parading its stature as Europe’s highest hotel bar, GŎNG boasts a palatial menu showcasing the Grandes Marques of cocktail medleys, champagnes and wines, and paired with a delectable apparel of Asian delights whilst gazing at the captivating tapestry of the city’s landmark skyline gems, which will leave you shooting for the stars.

GŎNG claims its name from ‘dougong’, one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture, of a structural facet of interlocking wooden brackets.  

GONG at The Shard
Parading its stature as Europe’s highest hotel bar, GŎNG boasts a palatial menu showcasing the Grandes Marques of cocktail medleys, champagnes and wines

As I ascended to the floating Arcadia of the Shangri-LA’s 52nd level, the exquisite feature of the wooden brackets were a transparent trademark in the bar’s design model. This synchronised in harmony with the dusky habitat of wooded, dragon red velvet seating, dimly lit spotlighting, and a marbled backlit cocktail bar, all of which evoked an intense red blooded, yet mysteriously sultry, penthouse like gist, not neglecting the sleek trappings of the champagne bar, playing host to their refined guests by the flute.

Turning heads was the rippling, aquamarine oasis of the infinity under-lit sky pool, whose beauty was nigh eclipsed by the architectural stunner of a chiselled scroll like design, mimicking a floating mirage like image above the pool. At around a micro 11 metres, this 63-ft water haven serves more as a posers paradise than a pre Olympics warmup. The dashing pool boys remain at your beck and call for a poolside tipple, as you indulge in a luxuriant bath with a view, whilst soaking up the panoramic sights of London’s wondrous, landmark spectacles.

GŎNG Bar prides itself on its ever evolving menu, encompassing a cocktail portfolio of photogenic artisan concoctions spiced up with a tropical Asian flair, created to ignite and provoke the envious Instagram devil buried deep within your green-eyed followers. 

Cocktails at GONG
Expect an array of exquisite cocktails at GŎNG Bar

Post an animated discussion, expressing my many a disappointing encounters with the sugar loaded pornstar martini, my debonair host turned his attentions to the bartender, not before an unruffled nod of the head and self assured wink. Sitting back to absorb the unparalleled, 360-degree visions of the London Eye and Big Ben, I was soon acquainted with, as the menu claimed, a deluxe edition of the dainty flower topped, passionfruit brimmed beverage, accompanied by a gleaming, hollow stemmed shot glass of crisp Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label NV.

No throat burning vodka liquids dare disgrace this skyward bar’s lavish martini mixture. GŎNG Bar infuses the pure, priceless silk like texture of Beluga Gold Line where the notes of cream, vanilla and cinnamon blended effortlessly with the vibrant, fresh sweet tartness of passionfruit, and left me sinking in content in my aerial throne.

The gourmet menu contents keep to a piquant selection of an uncomplicated, yet elegant oriental fare centred around the sharing is caring concept. The small plate of chicken gyoza arrived steaming hot and generously loaded with fine diced meat, with an uplifting spice kick of chilli, ginger, and dark soy sauce. Following suit were the tender morsels of chicken satay, lightly marinated in heady spices and fuelled with earthy, barbecue charcoal notes. Creating a multi-dimensional flavour experience, were the moreish helpings of peanut sauce with its creamy coconut base, and a cucumber salsa toning down the sweet richness with a tangy zest.

Gong bar in London
GŎNG Bar claims its name from ‘dougong’, one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture

Absorbed in the evening’s exotic ambience and flavours, the ‘flowers and coconut’ from the bar’s interlocking cocktail collection grasped my attention. The smooth, toffee hinted lashings of Woodford Reserve Bourbon, with inklings of chocolate and spiced caramel, were given a tantalising jolt with a velvety, coconut oil-washed amalgamation. Adding a little mellow mandarin burst with a floral touch was the splash of orange flower, whilst the smidgen of tonka provided the cherry on top with a sweet vanilla spice.

Accompanying the cocktail and rounding off the evening were a selection of Maki sushi rolls, including spicy tempura prawn, and salmon and avocado. Solid, rice encased pieces of hearty fresh prawn in a light, golden batter had sprung to life, with the light drizzle of a mild chilli infused mayonnaise and delicate shallots, whilst the confit like salmon with creamy avocado melted in the mouth, finished with toppings of fragrant salmon tartare. 

As I prepared to make my cue to exit, my ever charming host magically reappeared with an ice cold flute of Veuve Clicquot, buying me a priceless supply of extra moments to take in the city’s twinkling night skies, and placid majestic backdrop, which never ceased to keep me captivated.

In a nutshell 

Food at the Gong
The gourmet menu contents keep to a piquant selection of an uncomplicated, yet elegant oriental fare centred around the sharing is caring concept

Not content with their bon vivant feasting, and flamboyant aperitifs amidst a sprawling milieu far below, GŎNG Bar has also dared to shun the traditional age concept of the British afternoon tea, by roping in their cherished Eastern heritage with their one-of-a-kind liquid afternoon tea. 

Turning their back on the classic hot Earl Grey and English Breakfast beverages, guests can expect miniature tea inspired tipple pairings, including sparkling green tea and Ketel One Vodka matched with orange compote and ganache choux buns, and liquorice brewed chamomile followed by beef tataki with horse radish nigiri.

GŎNG Bar has accomplished the epitome of colossal towering grandeur, whilst hosted by an astounding team whom strive to have you serenely floating on air. Whether exploring a romantic sunset evening, or a late night cocktail soirée encircled by a million dollar visionary indulgence, the sanctuary of GŎNG awaits to welcome you into its cloud nine palace.

Factbox

Address: Level 52, Shangri-La The Shard, London, 31 St Thomas Street, London, SE1 9QU
Telephone: 0207 234 8208
Website: gong-shangri-la.com