Yesterday I took my parents to Oblix to try the “London Afternoon Tea” menu, a traditional afternoon tea with dishes that pay homage to the city of London. I booked the table weeks in advance and as the day approached I began to worry about the weather. Luckily we were blessed with a gorgeous day and clear panoramic views across the London skyline from the 32nd floor dining room.
Oblix is a contemporary, New York-style grill restaurant owned by German Chef and restaurateur Rainer Becker. The decor is sleek and sophisticated: dark floor and walls, low ceilings, granite tables, lots of yellow lights and golden details.
Becker previously worked as a Chef at Park Hyatt in Tokyo (where Sofia Coppola filmed Lost in Translation). As a big fan of the film, I have been to the 52nd floor bar years ago and thinking about it, Oblix does remind me of it.
Oblix is located on the north-east corner of The Shard, so it offers views of the City of London (Sky Garden, Heron Tower and the Gherkin), City Hall and Tower Bridge; and Canary Wharf.
The all-day menu aims to showcase British and European produce with many dishes prepared on the grill or in the wood-fired oven. In this upscale setting, the choice to serve a traditional English afternoon tea appears odd, at first. As I am used to go to 5-star hotels for afternoon tea, a skyscraper restaurant was a first.
Not that the novelty of the location stopped me from enjoying the meal at Oblix. With a view like that, I would have had a great time no matter what. That the afternoon tea was quite good was an added benefit.
Our table was right by the window facing the east side; around it were two comfortable sofas in the place of chairs. Shortly after sitting down we were served glasses of Billecart-Salmon Champagne, which tasted delicious and was exactly what I needed to relax and kick-start the weekend.
The Oblix Afternoon Tea menu draws inspiration from London boroughs and features a blend of ingredients sourced from different parts of the city. A nice idea, so the afternoon tea becomes like a tasting journey through London.
After the Champagne, we were served loose leaf tea, chosen among a selection of eight types. The Oblix blend tea is rich and aromatic with subtle citrus notes. I ordered one of my favourite teas, the Jasmine Silver Tip, a delicate white tea made with fresh jasmine flowers.
The savoury sandwich selection at Oblix includes classic flavours like smoked salmon & cream cheese; ham, cheese & mustard; coronation chicken (with mango and coriander). There were also unusual pairings like cured Angus beef & horseradish; duck egg & truffle mayonnaise.
After the savoury dish it was time to taste the scones, which were served warm with clotted cream and two choices of jam. I like big, light and golden scones – the kind you find in tea rooms in the English countryside. The ones at Oblix unfortunately were over-baked: the crust was brown and the bottom slightly burnt.
As part of the Afternoon tea menu we were also served five kinds of cake: sea buckthorn meringue tart; chocolate stout and pear choux bun; pumpkin cake; cafe mocha mousse; and “crunchie” chocolate pecan bar.
The bite-sized pumpkin cake with frosting was my favourite cake, followed by the decadent chocolate pecan slice.
We were at Oblix for a couple of hours and so we experienced the restaurant’s daytime relaxed atmosphere as well as the night-time upbeat vibe. It’s a great spot for drinks and dinner (but maybe not a date as the room can get quite loud). Oblix is glamourous, without feeling pretentious or over the top. I am looking forward to visiting again in the future.
The Oblix Afternoon Tea is served every Monday to Friday from 12pm to 4pm. £38 per person (£48 with a glass of Billecart-Salmon Champagne).
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Oblix. All opinions are my own.