Set up a restaurant/bar decorated in wood and bricks with a rugged edge next to Hackney Central station. Hire staff that know more about the latest trends than the food served. Name the place after a Nordic city people might have heard of but do not know much about. That’s the combination of ingredients in the recipe behind Oslo Hackney’s success, at least if you judge the number of likes their Facebook page has attracted within 2 months.
This is a place where your entrance will turn heads to see if you are cool enough to blend into the forward crowd, because sticking out here is the last thing you want. Next thing that grabs the attention is Oslo’s decor. In combination with the tall ceiling the interior has a certain cold charm to it, much thanks to the hanging lamps draped in ghost like cloth. Once seated down to the table I recall the purpose of why we were here: to eat.
The menu is fairly simple, offering a small range of dishes from burger to fish. I was intrigued when I saw a beer called ‘Oslo Lager’ on top of the drinks menu and naturally asked the waitress if this Oslo Lager was made in-house. She didn’t know which I found surprising considering it was the first item among the beers and bearing the same name as the restaurant.
I started with smoked mackerel which was alright but a bit uninspiring. It was basically fish on cucumber and a slice of apple. The fish was good but the rest of the dish could have been more integrated.
Next was the main which was much more inspiring than the starter. It was actually an assembly of ingredients with more thought behind it. The fish was well seasoned and not over cooked. This was a coherent plate of food, nothing fancy, just comforting.
What would a hip place be without serving burgers? By the description “42 day aged Devon Longhorn patty with 12 hour braised oxtail, horseradish cheddar, smoked bone marrow mayo, hot oxtail shot and chip” it sounds like Oslo Hackney nailed the perfect burger. However my friend wasn’t that impressed.
It was more the curiosity to see the space than the food that brought us here this evening. I didn’t have high expectations of the food to begin with so I guess it didn’t let me down. I wouldn’t give high ratings to the staff who were busy doing their own things and lacked knowledge. The food gets delivered to the table and that’s it. All in all it’s a good place for people watching but don’t expect the dinner experience to live up to the hyped Facebook page. To be fair I believe most of those are more related to the club rather than the restaurant.
For more photos from Hackney Oslo, please visit my Flickr set.
1A Amhurst Road
London E8 1LL
Tel. +44 (0)20 3553 4831