Dare I say it but if you are looking for a break or an alternative to watching the World Cup then Oslo is the place to be on a Wednesday. Never fear they are still showing the football, on another floor. Who isn’t? Anyway, if you want to combine (and not interrupt) your nightly World Cup viewing with more competition then here you can play bingo, play your cards right AND a quiz round. Ah yeah!
My friends and I are always looking for the best pub quiz going. Actually that’s a lie, we have only ever talked (probably over the course of about 10 years now) about finding a fittingly good pub quiz and how, when we do go to one, we will ‘smash’ it and win the quiz. In the last month we have managed to go to two! My contribution to all two of these evenings ended in getting a date in everyone’s diary and finding a spot. To me this translates to finding a new spot for us to drink and top of my list is, ‘What’s on their menu?’. My great contribution paid off in bringing all of the above to the table – pub quiz, super excellent food and the added fact that we won! Well, we won a few of the rounds and got £40 off our bar tab. WINNERS!!!!
Even though it was still pretty early when we arrived the dining tables in the quiz area had all been taken, so we opted for some low seating by the window. As it was still sunny it was a great spot to sit in as the sun beamed in through the grand floor to ceiling windows of this renovated railway station. We were informed that it was £1 per bingo strip and that they had just put together a new menu that week.
Oslo is more a bar, restaurant and club than a pub and it aims at putting a little modern twist on Scandinavian food. When you look at the menu you may question what we may think is ‘typically’ Scandinavian since you come across dishes such as the Italy Fullstop (a classic Tuscan salad), Senor Fidel (flame grilled char siu pork in banh mi style) and Marrakesh (spiced lamb patty with charred onion, pomegranate, parsley and smoked harissa).
I was overwhelmed when looking at the long menu and found it a little hard to take it all in. I was wondering if they were able to execute all these dishes to a high standard and confused about how all the non – Scandi dishes came into play.
A friend and I swiftly decided upon a few dishes to share since the first round of bingo was due to begin. We went with the chicken livers seared in brandy with brioche and plum sauce, confit buffalo wings with BBQ glaze, roasted smoked bone marrow with caramelised onion and stoneground sourdough, padron peppers and chips triple cooked with Cajun salt. We asked if anyone else wanted to share with us as we listed our choices and another friend just sat and looked at us and simply said, ‘The only things that interest me are the padron peppers and the chips. So no’. That was a polite no as she frowned at our choices. I’m known amongst my friends for choosing dishes from the menu that make many purge.
Chicken wings are always a go to dish for my friend when they are on a menu so you may call her a connoisseur in wing tasting. The kitchen had been a little heavy handed with the BBQ glaze, but they did lure you in just by looking at them and would challenge anyone to eat them without getting into a total mess. My wing connoisseur was not as keen on them. She didn’t think they had incorporated the ‘fried’ texture of a true buffalo wing but felt they were super moist. They were succulent and juicy, and had quite a bit of meat on them for wings. There was a good balance of flavours with them not being too sweet and sickly. I was happy with them but not totally blown away. They were more BBQ than Buffalo wings (I guess they did mention that on the menu). Being Buffalo wings they could have done with some spice though I was not offended by the BBQ sauce. The bone marrow – and before you say anything and turn your nose up at it, yes it is fat but did you know that it is 69% unsaturated fat? And they contain elements that boost and maintain your immune system? FACT! – it was flavoursome and complimented by the caramelised onion though neither of us tasted any smokiness that had been mentioned in the menu.
The padron peppers not only came with the usual sprinkling of rock salt but also a squeeze of lemon juice. Good call as the simple addition of lemon juice was small but gave the dish some real attitude. The winning dish was the liver!! Yep, it was so soft and melted in your mouth. The rich combination of the brandy, brioche and plum sauce….oooooh, I could have eaten it all over again. There was just enough sauce on the brioche so that it didn’t go soggy. I actually had to stop myself from keeping the plate to myself.
Not that I had room left for anything else (bar wine naturally), I had no interest in trying or finding out how everyone else’s food was. The table was silent whilst we ate and there were no complaints from anyone. Though this can also be down to the fact that we were all in deep thought and concentrating on the quiz. No, credit where credit is due everyone was more than satisfied with their choices.
This truly was a top midweek outing. Considering Oslo is located in the oh so hip Hackney this place is in no way pretentious or trying to accomplish anything but an entertaining night out with scrumptious food. The staff were genuine, attentive and even with a little wine being spilt on us we didn’t care and all had no complaints about Oslo. When leaving, we made sure we went up to the bar and thanked the staff for a great evening. Without a doubt we will be returning.
See you there. We will be the winning team!