6 August 2018

Summer at Oslo

It's OSLO, take two. I blogged about Hackney Central's (not) best kept secret last year, when I was invited to try the summer cocktail menu and ended up being treated to dinner, too. I was excited to return with the promise of sampling their summer food menu.

Normally when I'm invited to review, it gets a bit Cady from Mean Girls when she's at the Maths Championship Finals - the (food and drink) limit does not exist. However, on this occasion we were told we could pick one cocktail and two courses - starter and main, or main and dessert - which got me in a right tizz because I HAD TO GET IT RIGHT.

I chose the Jubilation, which consists of Tanqueray gin, Elderflower and Blueberry syrup, orange bitters and prosecco.

Whilst it looked pretty, I didn't get a sense of the syrups, or the orange, but the bubbles from the prosecco cooled me down a little, so I wasn't complaining. But I wasn't in a state of jubilation from the Jubilation, you know?

On paper, the cocktail was my type. But in reality, it fell flat. I tried the Oslo Spritz - their take on the classic Aperol Spritz - but again, it didn't rock my world. If only I'd consulted my previous post, I would have been reminded of just how good the Mai Tai was.

I opted for a starter and main (the desserts were way too heavy for the heat) and went for the 'special' starter of sourdough, heritage tomatoes, figs and mozzarella.

It was H U G E. The mozzarella was the size of the ones you buy from supermarkets, and even though I removed the sourdough, I couldn't finish the portion, fearful that I'd be too full for the main event. The mozzarella could have been creamier and a bit richer, but I adored the tomatoes and figs - both juicy, with the sweetness of the figs complimenting the slight tart of the tomatoes.

Other starters included Polse - chargrilled Norwegian sausage on nordic potato tortas with pickled cabbage and radishes...

And sweet and spicy chicken wings in 'our homemade sauce' (i.e. barbecue), sprinkled with peanuts and served with pickled radish.

All the starters were huge, so I'd suggest picking two and sharing.

The cocktail I *would* recommend is the Bull Fashioned - essentially a sweeter version of the rather potent Old Fashioned - Rumbellion rum, Myrtille syrup, Peychauds bitters and whiskey barrel ages bitters.

And the Mai Tai, which continues to haunt me...

Mains got rather luminous.

The 10oz flat iron steak with cherry tomatoes, hand cut chips (as opposed to what, foot cut chips? I will never understand this) and of course, those bright red onion rings. I was told by multiple parties that the steak, requested medium rare, was served rare, and was stringy. I'd avoid if you're a steak lover.

I ordered the Portobello burger, which conversely, was a TRIUMPH. It was divine. The portobello mushroom was (again), battered in bright red batter - really not sure why, but hey - with gooey scamorza cheese, pickled cabbage, tomato and garlic mayo. It all just worked - the crunch of the batter and cabbage, the soft, salty cheese, the warm tomato and just a *hint* of garlic. Yaaaaaas!

Portobello burger, I love you

All in all, a bit of a mixed bag on this occasion, which was a shame. If I'd picked the Mai Tai and the starter had been more about quality over quantity, I probably would have had a different experience. I do rate the venue for the buzz, and the food is always interesting and varied, but you just have to be careful what you pick. 

Anyone for a Mai Tai?

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