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Level 32, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street
High in the sky above the sweeping London landscape sits Oblix, one of a handful of restaurants in tourist magnet The Shard. Boasting truly stunning views of the capital, alongside a menu of “first class” food, it has long been a favourite among SquareMeal readers.
At Oblix, moody modern aesthetics (the reception desk is in almost complete darkness) soon give way to truly stunning panoramic vistas. Owner Rainer Becker is better known for Asian-themed Zuma and Roka, but Oblix is more firmly rooted in Western gastronomy. The menu kicks off with snacks and small plates, including a decadent and crisp truffled flatbread which is topped with shavings of pancetta and flakes of ricotta. Elsewhere, try springy crispy squid pepped up with chilli and lime, or perhaps a super fresh and creamy lobster and clam linguini.
Sizeable mains come from the in-house Josper grill, rotisserie and wood-fired oven – think steaks in various sizes served alongside thick-cut chips and helpings of rich mac ‘n’ cheese, and a tender helping of duck with a crispy skin, dipped in a vibrant mango sauce. For pudding, the dessert platter is surely the only way to go, featuring miniature versions of Oblix’s entire dessert menu, including a bar of chocolate topped with crunchy bourbon ice cream, and a fluffy slice of New York cheesecake.
If dinner reservations prove hard to book, Oblix also offers a weekend brunch menu complete with an extensive dessert station, and a luxe Sunday lunch featuring the likes of lamb rump with puy lentils, parsley and mint. For the budget minded, a “good value” set lunch menu offers an affordable way in.
Saké is the versatile Japanese rice wine that is starting to break out from its niche-interest status. It can be dry and sharp, floral and smooth, nutty, sweet or even sparkling – making it delicious with anything from briny oysters to pasta and cheese. No wonder more than 500 London restaurants now offer saké on their drinks lists. Click here to find out more.
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SquareMeal 3 Stars
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Level 32, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street
London Bridge Tube Station 194m
London Bridge Station 347m
Glaziers Hall 134m
Borough Market 164m
Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm (Sat-Sun -3pm) 6-10.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
I had a reservation with 3 of my friends to celebrate my engagement on Friday night (8th Dec). Whilst the food is undeniably enjoyable at the restaurant it is nevertheless very expensive for what it is, and the views spectacular, Oblix unfortunately let itself down very badly on customer service. The staff in the West restaurant were very charming and attentive however, be warned, they do operate a strict 2 hour turnaround on tables and shortly after finishing desert we were told we would have to leave our table without being able to order coffees as the next sitting were already in. We were informed we could take a table in the East Bar for drinks which wouldn't be a problem, however when we returned to the East Bar and finally managed to get a table we were approached almost immediately by the Bar Manager enquiring whether we were eating. I advised we had just eaten in the West restaurant and told we could come through for drinks however he told us that "Tables are only for our guests who are both eating and drinking in the bar. We were welcome to stay, but would have to stand up at the bar". I told the manager that we had just spent over £400 in their restaurant and were celebrating a special occasion however was promptly told that "That's our policy I'm afraid". Needless to say we gathered our belongings and left - zero out of ten for customer service! I will honestly never return to this restaurant again. I felt that our meal was rushed and we were just on a conveyor belt to get them in and out as quickly as possible to generate the most revenue. Interestingly, there is no email address on their website in order to complain directly to their restaurant manager but I would honestly advise spending your money in the multitude of other lovely restaurants in our vibrant city rather than be treated so poorly at Oblix.
Food + drink: 3
I got the collywobbles on my way up the Shard, but it had nothing to do with the altitude. As a rustic, lived-in kinda gal, I'm not terribly comfortable with putting on the glitz and everything about Oblix shouts 'event dining' to the max. But I'll admit; when you've tottered your way to the 32nd floor, the moody, modern aesthetics give way to truly stunning views of the capital. It's impressive. Low lighting enhances the moonlit skyline, but also renders menus unreadable and makes for a baffling meander to the loo in the absence of signage. The atmosphere was one of occasion during our pre-Christmas visit, as excitable couples swooned over the spectacle and each other. City boys appeared to have migrated to the bar from Coq d'Argent and were vigorously splashing the cash, but were commendably well behaved. Door staff, on the other hand, exhibited a bit too much Zoolander-esque posturing for my liking, leaving me with the distinct impression that I was lucky - rather than welcome - to be there.
And so the financial assault began... With no cava or prosecco at the bar, it was straight to Champagne (from £65). The food was all about excess: nibbles included truffled flatbread for a mere £20, so you get the picture. Veggies and preggies don't fare well, although there was a shout out for dietary requirements when we were seated so perhaps off-menu options are available.
Mains consisted of protein-rich offerings from the josper oven. At 30 quid a sirloin plus another £12 for chips and a tomato salad, we at least expected sides to arrive in timely fashion. Instead, our delightful yet despairing waitress advised we tuck in due to a 'hold up' in the kitchen; we were more than halfway through our steaks when the accompaniments eventually rocked up. As for the meat, it was clearly good quality; closer to well done than the requested medium, but still a fine specimen. A Bearnaise emulsion was very tasty, but the pepper sauce was disappointingly weedy. Black cod proved a let down too; the ethereal fish flesh had pleasing translucency but was slathered with a gloopy and overbearing BBQ sauce that both diners endeavored to scrape off. Our verdict? You can eat far better for far less, and the view alone didn't justify the splurge for me.
If you're wooing someone with a taste for the high life (no pun intended) then Oblix might be just the ticket. But the occasionally surly staff, patchy cooking and timing issues simply shouldn't be happening at these prices. Permit me a rant: there was talk of the late sides being stripped from the bill, but sadly I didn't spy the receipt to confirm. If the dishes were indeed comped, then how on earth did we rack up a ton per head for some garlic bread and a single course (particularly given the keenest boozer knocked back only one G&T and two small glasses of Malbec, and several of us were teetotal)?! And another thing, while I'm approaching Hulk-like levels of rage... hiking up the standard service charge to 13.5% smacked of arrogance to me, particularly given everything came at a price. Even a freebie bread basket or tap water at the table would have softened the blow somewhat. All in all, the view from the 32nd floor was smashing... But then so is that along the Southbank, and it doesn't cost a button.
Food + drink: 5
Lunch for 4 blokes on a day out in London.
The website is a bit poncy, and uninformative – no sample menus or description of the 2 rooms. On phoning you have to choose between the Restaurant and Lounge with little prior knowledge. I chose the fixed price lunch in the Lounge (£29).
On arrival you need to spot the ‘oblix’ sign written on a pillar that gives access to the tastefully lit lobby with 2 ladies to re-assure you that you have come to the right place. A rapid lift ride takes you up to a tastefully lit passageway where your coats can be left, and then you are escorted to the eating area.
Fortunately ‘tastefully lit’ gives way to daylight with great open views of the Thames and a friendly atmosphere. Our waitress was great.
The first course buffet had lots of tasty options, and you are encouraged to go back for more. There were 4 mains, all good, and then a limited but tasty range of puddings. Excellent bread and butter pudding.
It is correct that the internal decor is not imaginative, but the seating is comfortable and this is all about the view out, with the Tower of London and Tower Bridge just to your left and the City of London with the Gerkin and friends straight ahead.
12.5% ‘discretionary service charge’ is added to the bill, but this still gave us an excellent lunch for only £13 more than it would have cost to go to the viewing platform. True, you don't get a view to the West, but hey ho.The wines are expensive, but optional!
The only hiccup once we got into the restaurant was that, although our main courses were booked before we went for the buffet, they were late arriving. If you are under time pressure, mention it to your server.
Excellent for what we wanted.
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