Zoe Fryday visits Oblix East at The Shard for a taste of the new ‘Foundation of Flavour’ menu
If you like to enjoy your cocktails with stunning panoramic views of London’s skyline, a trip to Oblix East is a must. At this urban bar and lounge, located on the thirty-second floor of The Shard, cosmopolitan crowds gather throughout the day, eating and drinking while admiring the beautiful city backdrop. As the sun goes down, the buzz sets in; guests chat freely, the DJ begins to play and the cocktail menu beckons.
Oblix East’s latest menu, ‘Foundation of Flavour’, emphasises individual flavours in a stylish, pared back and innovative way. “Most people who drink cocktails are almost forced to choose a drink based on its spirit. We want to remind guests that the spirit almost takes second place. It is the flavour that should take president,” says bar manager Aaron Masonde. Above all, the cocktails are culinary-inspired. To create the list, which currently boasts over 20 fascinating and varied concoctions, the bartenders employ ingredients commonly found in food, as well as gastronomic technology and kitchen techniques. This is reflected in the list’s layout, which orders the tipples into three sections, a bit like an a la carte menu.
The new cocktail offering caters to all different tastes. From the fresh, sparking Elderflower through to tropical Coconut, rich Coffee and spicy Wasabi, there really is something for everyone. The first section presents a selection of drinks that lean towards a dry, crisp or bitter element – a perfect way to begin the Oblix experience, notes Aaron. A popular choice is Cantaloupe, a blend of Hendrick’s gin, Aperol, bergamot and champagne. Moving through to the middle, tipples become longer, more refreshing and citrus-led. Whether its Raspberry, Grapefruit, Kiwi or Plum, these tipples pair particularly well with the main courses from Oblix’s eclectic food menu. Finally, the last section offers complex, texture-driven cocktails to be enjoyed at the end of a meal or as a nightcap. Aaron explains that Banana is one of the best-sellers, made with Bulleit 10 yr bourbon, coconut water, tonka and angostura bitters.
Although the serves appear simple and unpretentious, a great amount of skill and technique goes into their development and creation. “All drinks are unique to us, however I would say Mint is one of the cocktails that needs a lot of TLC to prep, making it especially special,” points out Aaron. To create this “classic Mojito with an Oblix twist”, the team use four different types of mint: fresh Columbian mint, peppermint tea, spearmint and Moroccan mint, alongside Chinese gunpowder tea and Japanese yuzu fruit. All the ingredients are clarified to keep the cocktail light and fresh, and then carbonated, so there’s no need for added soda. “Even now we are constantly making small tweaks to improve the experience of the menu for our guests. There is constant development, with new flavours added every couple of months in line with the seasons. Coming up next are Lemon and Apple!”