By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
For a short while, I thought that our most recent reservation at Oblix would never have gone ahead. Thankfully, the restaurant understands that Southeastern can be a cruel beast, with it a train service that’s more temperamental than the British weather. Located upon the 32nd floor of London’s tallest skyscraper – The Shard – it’s a real shame that the view is often more famous than the restaurant’s food. Having visited Oblix twice beforehand, for an evening meal a couple of years ago, I’m tremendously excited for my first lunchtime trip. The first visit, in early 2013 was sensational, yet another visit a few weeks later was less exceptional. However, it seems that Oblix have upped their game significantly since my last trip.
Arriving at London Bridge station, upon finding the right entrance on St. Thomas Street, you’ll pass the venue’s security and enter the direct lift that launches like a NASA rocket before landing on floor 32, home to the first of The Shard’s restaurant openings. Next up, upon entering the restaurant, one of the glamorous receptionists will lead you through the open kitchen, similar to that famous Goodfellas scene, as you silently yearn for a window-side table. Fortunately for us, the restaurant is relatively quiet at this particular time, so we’re spoilt for choice as to perches for us to watch over the bustling city below.
The food is expensive, but given the fact that the view alone from the 72nd floor will cost you £26, it makes more sense to enjoy breath-taking views across the capital from the comfort of a dining table, while enjoying some delicious food. Choosing from the A La Carte menu, there’s a strong emphasis on sharing at Oblix, with a selection of dishes “for the table” recommended. We begin with the Truffle Flatbread (£19.50), to share, spread with Ricotta and topped with Pancetta and a scattering of luxurious earthy Truffles. To start, Grilled Diver Scallops (£16.50) are served atop a bed of vibrant green Pea Puree and a Pistachio crumb, adding two further contrasting textures to the seasonally suitable flavour combination. Deep-fried Soft Shell Crab (£14.50) served with Chilli Mayonnaise is perfectly crisp and coated in Asian Spices that add real depth to the dish’s flavour, and a prettily presented Beetroot salad (£12.50) with Goat’s Curd and Rye Crumble is plentiful enough to work as a light main course for one.
From the rotisserie, the Duck (£28.50) is a little overcooked for my preference, yet the rich crispy skin makes up for the slight cooking err, with a surprisingly complimentary spiced Mango Chutney. On the other hand, the Whole Sea Bass isn’t just one of the most reasonably priced mains, it’s also one of the most enjoyable. Crumbled Black Olives work alongside Pesto and slivers of shaved Fennel, accompanying the tranche of perfectly cooked Fish, which sends us straight to Mediterranean food heaven. Also, the Josper Oven Lamb Chops, although lacking a little kick from the Harissa, are satisfying as a main course, wonderfully matched with the Mashed Potato that’s topped with potent Garlic crisps. As for desserts, with a broad menu on offer, we opt for the equally delectable Coconut Semi Fredo (£8) and the Pecan Nut and Chocolate bar that’s accompanied by rich moreish Bourbon ice cream (£9.50).
Although expensive, Oblix’s combination of setting, surroundings and substance makes for an impressive lunch experience, strong enough to stand alongside the rising competition of London’s sky-high restaurants.
Oblix can be found at Floor 32, The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY.