Oblix East at The Shard | London (UK)

The upscale restaurant has the style, but fails to deliver miserably.
The food is far below par and the brunch concept needs to be reconsidered

On the 32nd floor of the Shard, with panoramic views across the London skyline, it is hard to compete with Oblix’s setting. A modern, smart but relaxed experience. The restaurant is divided into 2 areas. Oblix West has the view over West London and has been designed with traditional dining in mind. Whereas Oblix East has a more upbeat, livelier atmosphere and it is also where the bar is located and the view over East London includes front seat views on Tower Bridge. Menu offerings vary between the east and west side

Our view

Oblix at the Shard is the brainchild of chef Rainer Becker, who started out his career at some of Germany’s top restaurants including Michelin star Königshof in Munich and Göthehaus in Bensberg. He later moved to Australia, working as the executive chef at the Park Hyatt hotel in Sydney before heading to its sister concept in Tokyo for six years.
His first big London project was Japanese inspired restaurant Zuma, with business partner Arjun Waney in Knightsbridge. Roka, in Charlotte Street, followed. Restaurant Oblix opened its doors in 2013 and has established itself as one of the Shard’s dining options.

Oblix East offers lunch on Friday only, brunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner 7 days a week. We went there on a Sunday afternoon to have a Mile-high Brunch as they call it. A 3-course brunch at £55 per person with bottomless wine at an additional £20 per person.

Bread, Butter with Olive Oil and Hummus

Bread was fine, hummus also, but the olive oil was really bitter. Not sure if it’s the quality of the oil, but I would recommend to start using another brand!

The starters are served in a tapas style. 8 different dishes that are served in a rapid pace, so you end up with quite a buffet on your table.

Lobster & Prawn Cocktail

Like being back in the eighties. Large chuncks of avocade with a couple of prawns on top (couldn’t find the crab) and topped with a thick cream. The cream was a bit fatty, not a nice mouthfeel and to me it was not a cocktail, just a view loose elements.

Pork & Chorizo Sausage Roll, Garlic & Saffron Mayonnaise
Selection of Charcuterie
Sardinian Pasta, Mozzarella & Basil Pesto
Broccoli Salad, Cured Salmon & Sugar Snaps

The sausage roll was dry and under-seasoned and the saffron mayonnaise didn’t work with it. The charcuterie was more decoration than taste. Pasta was boring in taste as it was quite bland and you basically just taste the pesto. Cured salmon with broccoli and sugar snaps was fine, but nothing special. Don’t know where the salmon was cured in and couldn’t taste it either.

Beetroot & Goat’s Curd Salad

Combination of beetroot with goat’s curd works fine of course. Nice flavours and taste. Beetroot chunks were too big though.

Caesar Salad & Soft Boiled Eggs

Ceasar salad was basic, but okay. Very large croutons in a small bowl. As everything is served in small bowls or on small plates, size does matter. This really needs more attention.

Asian Slaw, Chinese Cabbage

Asian slaw was to heavy on the fish sauce which overpowered everything. The few bits of duck in salad contained brittle. Not impressed.

Overall the starters were disappointing. Too many different dishes and flavours that didn’t really match. Too much diversity. And as it’s all being served in a small amount of time, you kind of eat it all together, which doesn’t improve things.
My advice would be, loose a number of the starter and improve the quality and attention to detail. And create and overall harmony of flavours and tastes if you are serving everything together.

There are 9 different mains to choose from. We choose the cheese burger and the grilled prawns. There are 2 sides (tenderstem broccoli and chips) and you may choose 1, so we chose one of each.

Oblix Cheese Burger, Truffle Mayonnaise

The burger was nice and juicy. Seasoning was heavy on the black pepper, but fine. Brioche bun okay and garnish quite basic as you can see. Served on a cold plate and the burger was warm, but just. A nice burger, but I can get this in any good pub. Going for brunch at the Shard, you do expect a lot more.
In the back you can see the sides. Not much to comment on those.

Josper Grilled Tiger Prawns, Lemon Verbena & Garlic Butter

Only 2 prawns can’t be considered to be a main dish. And when you slice the prawns in half before grilling them, it’s kind of impossible not to overcook them. And they were very dry, rubbery and tasteless. And lukewarm at best. This is embarrassing.

Desserts and cheeses are served as a buffet. No problem with that, but everything was already on display when we arrived. About 2 hours before we started dessert. I do have a problem with that.

Innes Log, Goat’s Milk, Stoffordshire
Cheddar, Cow’s Milk, Somerset
Stilton, Cow’s Milk, Oxford

Again a presentation and a selection that I can get anywhere. And where are the crackers or biscuits? We are in England you know. The Innes log was dried out (as the picture shows as well) and the cheddar was sweating a bit. That’s what you get when it’s out there for hours.

Dessert Buffet

As said, I don’t like that this is already been there for more than 2 hours before we start dessert. I tried a few of them anyway to give them a chance.

Mixed Berry & Vanilla Flan
Chocolate & Passion Fruit Tart
Crunchy Meringue, Fruit Compote

The flan was way to stodgy and taste more like scrambled eggs than anything else. The chocolate tart was really bitter. Just a small dollop of passion fruit puree doesn’t make it a Chocolate & Passion Fruit Tart. They also looked and tasted more mass-produced than home made.

Overall the food was really disappointing. It’s difficult to pick something that was up to a standard that I expect from a classy London restaurant. And as mentioned before, when you charge £55 per head for a brunch menu, the quality and presentation should justify that, even for a London restaurant!

The bottomless wine was excellent value at £20 (Ah, managed to find something positive to write about….). Good wines and plenty of it! Actually I would cut down on the wine and invest it in the food.

The staff is young and seem inexperienced and needs to be managed. Drinking and eating behind the bar by the staff doesn’t go for me. And a couple of them were quite intimate with each other as well. We observed pecks on the neck and smacks on some bums. Unacceptable to me in any restaurant or any workplace for that matter.

So in summary, this has been a disappointing experience. And even though it is reasonably priced for downtown London, this is no value for money. A real shame as all the ingredients for a great experience are there. The upscale restaurant has the style, but fails to deliver miserably. The food is far below par and the brunch concept needs to be reconsidered. Maybe we will come back to try if dinner service is better, but not sure yet.