Heady heights are not for me. When I visit New York, I always manage to get excellent deals on my room because I never want one higher than the seventh floor. I don’t know about the reasoning behind seventh, so don’t ask. I guess it still feels survivable there.
It wasn’t always the case and I used to make fun of friends from the top of the Empire State Building. But suddenly I joined the squeamish brigade.
So it took a fair amount of convincing, therapy, breathing and self-denial to somehow decide I wanted to take Angel Wife and some friends for dinner atop the Shard. I actually made the plan after she had dropped hints one day when looking at it with its top sheathed in low cloud. And just like having gone platinum-blond a number of years ago after she dropped hints about Beckham’s highlights (David’s, that is), I somehow thought it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Standing on the threshold of the elevator that was to take us an innumerable amount of floors up, it suddenly didn’t seem such a good idea at all, just like the hair, only this time my children didn’t run away crying when they saw me. Just a bad idea, even if eager to please.
Eyes closed, I jumped over the gap and wedged myself against the elevator wall and waited. The ears popping aside, it was an easy ride until I had to jump over that gap again, with wind rushing up through it, enhancing the realisation that it was 32 floors down from there. No food or restaurant was possibly worth this.
But it was! Oblix at the Shard turned out to be one of the nicest restaurant surprises of the year for me. OK, I didn’t arrive with the highest (haha) expectations nor positive approach as per above. Nonetheless, after a small kerfuffle with cute reservations girls and their iPads that didn’t work or they couldn’t work (sounds like back at home), rapidly and elegantly sorted by master of ceremony Juan Ramirez, it was a real delight.
Quite a sexy décor in a weirdly Indiana Jones dark wood, flames and stones way led us through open kitchens and grills to a table thankfully away from the edge, but with absolutely stunning, really breathtaking views. I still think these are the best, vertigo or not.
The menu is eclectic and changes regularly so I trusted the knowledgeable and genuinely interested waiter with our starters and you should do the same. For mains however, I hope you are a meat eater. There are plenty delicious non-meat treasures on the menu and we had quite a few. But the rib of beef for two is out of this world.
They use some special grill, and I am sure others like 34 or Cut do too. But none do it like Oblix. It feels nearly sweetly caramelised on the outside and incredibly soft and juicy on the inside. I can’t say more, or it will be filled with innuendos à la Bake Off. Just eat it.
Trust the sommelier too, he has plenty of reasonable surprises in his cellar, and finish off with the dessert tasting, which is a bit (a lot) of everything.
And like me, jump back in the elevator, pop those ears and book again for the following week.