Oblix

Ming Tang-Evans
Southwark

By Guy Dimond

Nearly halfway up the Shard, Oblix is the first of a few bars and restaurants to open in Western Europe’s tallest building (the others being Aqua Shard Hutong, and Shard 35). Nando’s and McDonald’s didn’t get a look-in at this glimmering landmark; the Shard is reserved for platinum-card restaurateurs such as Rainer Becker. He’s best-known for his outstanding modern Japanese restaurants, Zuma and Roka. His new venture, by contrast, is more West than East.

Oblix feels more awkward than its blingtastic siblings. You need to get past a battery of gatekeepers before being admitted to the restaurant. Along the way you traverse viewless corridors and a dark hallway which appears to be made of Toblerone. It’s about as welcoming as boarding a Klingon spacecraft.

Turn right and you find the restaurant with its fabulous open kitchen and smart tables. Turn left and you’re taken to the bar. I was told the restaurant was already fully booked weeks ahead, as were all the reservable seats in the bar. We therefore arrived early to take advantage of the small no-bookings area in the bar, which serves a simpler but similar menu to the restaurant.

The temptation, when you enter a room that’s 32 floors up, is to rush to the windows, press your nose to the glass and take in the view. Most other bar-restaurants that find themselves similarly blessed (notably Sushisamba) allow you to do this freely and at leisure. In contrast the Oblix bar has bookable tables and chairs blocking this sought-after periphery, forcing you to invade someone else’s space. Do it anyway. The restaurant side has the better views (including such sights as the London Eye and Houses of Parliament) as well as a tiny bar counter where you can eyeball central London; those from the bar side, of green, hilly south-east London, are also impressive.

Twenty paces back from the glass, seated at the no-bookings table, our succession of dishes almost made up for the absence of a view. The presentation was like that at Zuma, but the menu resembled a New York grill. A starter of tataki-style beef (£12) was a few tasty morsels while the main course of halibut (£28) was perfectly cooked, though rather oddly served with something resembling a dollop of lemon curd. Pork belly (£16) was perhaps the best dish – the meat pink and tender, the skin nicely crisped, served with a piquant apple chutney. Desserts consisted mainly of ice-cream combinations, though the New York cheesecake (£9) was exemplary.

Oblix is expensive and showy, and has a Dubai-style blandness to it. Most diners will come here expecting an impressive panorama – but The View from The Shard, at more than twice the height of Oblix and with dedicated viewing platforms, is a far better choice of lookout.

Venue name: Oblix
Contact:
Address: Level 32, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street
London
SE1 9SY
Opening hours: Lunch served noon-2.45pm Mon-Fri; noon-3.15pm Sat, Sun. Dinner served 6-11.45pm daily
Transport: Tube: London Bridge tube/rail
Price: Main courses £16-£54

Average User Rating

4.6 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|5
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H R

Couldn't agree more with the review above. We only had drinks, stood at the bar- until we eventually moved to the sofa. Didn't agree with the 13.5% service for ... Uhh... Pouring the drink and supplying a glass? A joke considering we didn't even get what we ordered?!?! Aside from the that the food looked amazing and the atmosphere was fantastic. The waitresses were very attentive and pleasant.

Patricia jones

Had brunch today in the lounge at the Oblix . Great views, atmosphere, attentive service, food was very good. Nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Would recommend .

Tara Cowland

My boyfriend booked a table for us in the lounge area for an impromptu birthday treat - he booked in the morning. We had never been in the Shard but love anywhere with great views. We were not disappointed. We got great views of The City. Lovely live music. We had the set menu for £58 and loved it. Especially the Lobster Pappardelle! They suprised me with a selection of cakes as a birthday treat. Staff were lovely, I think it was so great as we didn't have any expectations. We read reviews but chose to experience it for ourself. Would return again.

Monikasays

The Shard is London's newest, tallest, hottest, glossiest bit of architecture . This is the one building you can see anywhere in London (like a big glass spike in the sky). Oblix is by the owners of Zuma and Roka, so you know what you are getting. Book over the phone or on line or even try a late cancellation on the day (always worth a try, worked for me on my 2nd visit), just go, you will be wowed. Enter through the secret side entrance of the shard to your personal lift that has only one stop, Oblix (prepare for altitude ears within 10 seconds). Once you enter, you are greeted by well groomed staff who can direct you to the lounge on the left or main restaurant on the right (both fab). Try the lounge (must be pre booked) if you are with 1 or 2 people and ask for a table by the window and see the night through with lush cocktails, high end food and live music (every night after 9) and watch over London town, as the sun sets (a view that makes you proud to be a Londoner). The restaurant is also buzzy and has the same spectacular views (better with a larger group). The whole experience is v. Hong Kong/ New York like, unfortunately the OXO tower does now not compare (sky high dining will never be the same in London). Now, the food as you can see this place is at least 50% ambience. The market bowl is a large light salad with fresh ingredients from Borough market 31 floors down (probably the best salad i have ever eaten). The food is grill food e.g. lobster, steak, prawns....but the best was 4 lip-smacking, caramelised lamb chops (had them twice now!). To be honest the food is good enough, but it is the whole package that will wow you. This is perfect for the special occasion meal or even a glam, sneaky mid-week meal with the gals.