Oslo Hackney review: Cheeky cocktails and creative dishes with a Nordic twist at a versatile venue
Hackney has been a popular social destination for some time, offering a variety of drinking, dancing and dining offerings. Last week, I popped along to one which offers all three, Oslo in Amhurst Road for dinner and cocktails. Oslo is a restaurant, bar and live music venue in a former railway station building by Hackney Central overground. It’s a huge space with high ceilings, with the exposed brickwork and metalwork giving a contemporary, industrial vibe.
Oslo opened in 2014 and offers British cuisine with a Nordic twist, encompassing lunch, dinner, Sunday roasts, weekend brunches and sharing plates. Our visit coincided with the launch of Oslo’s new menu, which features globally inspired dishes. Vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free foodies will find plenty of options to choose from, while carnivores will be pleased with some meatier offerings.
Starting with drinks, Oslo offers a large selection of cocktails, wine and craft beers, as well as the usual spirits. The cocktail menu offers plenty of classics, but many with an Oslo twist – such as a ‘Bull Fashioned’ with rum instead of whisky. I wanted a light, refreshing drink as the evening of our visit was sweltering so I opted for a lovely ‘Jubilation’ (Tanqueray Gin, Elderflower & Blueberry Syrup, Orange Bitters and Prosecco). It was well presented in a crystal, patterned glassware and a sprig of rosemary brought out the flavours. Meanwhile, my dining companion selected a ‘Melon Mojito’ (Havana Anejo Rum, Melon Liqueur, Mint Leaves, Fresh Lime Juice and Brown Sugar), which was a richer, fruitier approach to an old favourite.
Approaching the food menu, we shared a plate of Cod Bolinhos (Cod Croquettes, Seaweed Tempura and Lime Mayonnaise) as a starter. This is the first time I’ve had the dish outside of Portugal or a Portuguese restaurant and I was impressed. It was an authentic and tasty starter and we were actually tempted to order a second round. The crispy seaweed was a good contrast to the soft, chewy Bolinhos.
It took us a while to select a main as the choices were so varied. I eventually decided on the Nordic Poke (Smoked Salmon, Spinach, Barley, Brown Rice, Peppers, Pineapple, Pickled Cabbage, Edamame Beans and Mango Mayonnaise topped with Sesame Seeds) – an uber healthy fish salad. I must admit I’m usually not a fan of salads as I find they can be boring and I usually prefer them as a small, side dish. However, the description on the menu tempted me and I didn’t regret my decision. It was tasty, flavoursome and filling, and I wasn’t left with a heavy, stuffed feeling. It was a perfect choice for such a hot evening. Meanwhile, my boyfriend opted for the 10oz Flat Iron (Free Range British 10oz Flat Iron Steak served with Hand Cut Chips, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, Homemade Onion Rings and Peppercorn Sauce). As a 10 ouncer, it was a hearty dose of juicy steak, which was well complemented by the seasoned chips and the bright red onion rings in beetroot batter, which certainly gave the dish an injection of colour.
Due to my decision to order a Poke instead of my usual preference for a carb-heavy dish, I actually had room for dessert, and boy, did I need room for this! Although a nice selection of desserts, I zoned in on the Chocolate Fudge Sundae (Chocolate Brownie Chunks, Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate and Caramel Sauce) as it sounded too delicious to pass up. It was a gooey, calorific treat and perfect for sharing with a loved one. As you would expect, it was incredibly rich, but the ice cream was very welcome on a hot 30c evening.
While Oslo’s attractions as a drinking and music venue is clear to see, the food certainly matches up. Although the atmosphere is a casual, almost gastro pub-esque vibe, the food is a lot higher in quality than expected and was well presented. Although the food isn’t as heavily Nordic influenced as I anticipated, the dishes are certainly creative and varied. Oslo would be a perfect venue for catching up with friends over drinks and dining in a relaxed setting. The service was friendly and the music was the right volume level so you could have a proper conversation with your table.
Food aside, the night of our visit was the launch of ‘Request Line’ on Thursdays which is a fun concept. Guests are invited to request their favourite song on a beermat and put it in the tombola in the hope the DJ will approve and play it. It coincides with an all-night happy hour, two selected cocktails (from a choice of 6) all night for £9, which is very good value.
- Oslo, 1A Amhurst Road, Hackney, E8 1LL. Nearest station: Hackney Central or Hackney Downs. For more information, visit the Oslo website.
Disclaimer: Metro Girl was a guest of Oslo for this review. However my views are, as always, honest and my own.
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