Oslo, Hackney: Innovative food in a Nordic-inspired interior

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Effortlessly cool dishes, drinks and design

“You eat with your eyes first…” is a golden little phrase I’ve spouted for years. Food definitely tastes better if it comes up trumps in the aesthetics department, rather than a sloshed bowl of slop being slung in front of you. I’m telling you; good design definitely ups the ante.

Zyzz-wise, Oslo in Hackney had nailed this rule before we’d even seen a menu. Nothing to do with the food, though -at this stage, anyway. My design-appetite had been satisfied by Oslo’s greatest strength; their ultra swag interior design. Breathing new life into an old Hackney train station, this is an absolute dream for anyone with a love for luxe interiors.

Maybe this is a cheat’s approach towards delivering the ultimate go-to hot spot for paying customers… “dress the place up to look super swanky and serve beans on toast. They’ll never notice…” Luckily for us, the food was far from lazy and Oslo seemingly delivered on every level it could.

Scandanavian-cool is what’s channeled in this place, with more battered wooden furniture than you could shake a battered wooden stick at. It’s moody, atmospheric and effortlessly badass.

Whilst I was crushing over the lampshades which I eloquently summed up as looking like ‘dip-dyed ghosts’ whilst frantically Googling “Nordic-furniture-buy-London”, my fellow ILL Town-er had cast a steady eye over Oslo’s varied menu of solid gastro-pub offerings.

With choices boasting innovative medleys of flavours and ingredients, it was wholly refreshing to feel surprised and challenged by choosing something from a menu. Salad choices included charred broccoli, pine nut dressings and maple bacon. Sandwich options included fillings of Sauerkraut, ginger soy and chili with lemongrass slaws. Amongst the mains were sea bass, portobello mushrooms and a cut of the day.

…Christ. Were we hellishly dull by ordering what we went for? Probably. Either way, an awesome spatchcock chicken and an impressively-juicy lamb burger arrived in front of the two of us and we delved into it as though we’d both been starved in the outer-reaches of Norway for a month.

Clearly, a lot of thought has gone into mixing up and balancing unusual flavours at Oslo and we were far from disappointed. They also have a tiny but perfectly formed space upstairs for gigs, events and club nights -details of which can be found on their website. Add to that a bar of varied, classic favourites plus a smorgasbord (Nordic ref. Nice.) of Scandanavian-inspired bottled beers and tipples and you’ll probably wind up leaving as drunk and happy as we did.

Oslo: for the drinks alone -and, well, everything else I guess -we salute you.

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