So, I was excited to hear about a new opening, Oslo Hackney, an all day venue serving Nordic inspired cuisine with an emphasis on live music. I called up the day before letting them know I’d be coming for brunch; they seemed cool with this.
I arrived c.11:30am on a Saturday and took a seat on one of the leather chairs in the corner of the room and asked for a menu. The waitress brought over a couple of different menus: their weekday menu, Sunday menu and snack bar menu, proclaiming only the latter was on offer. Nevermind I thought, we’ll do with what the snack menu had to offer.
What I didn’t get though, was the bizarre hostility that was palpable. Were they irritated I still had my bobble hat on? It is bad manners afterall. It turns out they don’t open till midday on Saturday (though it says on their website, they open from 10am…). One of the chefs burst out of the kitchen to inform me of this ‘fact’. I just sat there dumbfounded. Then, a flurry of waitresses in quick succession, flapping, also informed me of this ‘fact’ and asked me if I was there to enquire about a job. Errrr,what?
So, I gathered my things and went outside to find my friends who had been denied entry because they weren’t officially open (at this point it was 11:50am, so only 10 mins before opening).
I totally understand it can be annoying when punters turn up early – I am not unreasonable. What did baffle me though, was the fact, that there didn’t seem like there was much to do in terms of setting up. Also, the impression Oslo is trying to give or what I gleaned from their sleekly designed website and Facebook page was that they want to create a relaxed cool space where people can while away their days. This was not the case from my experience. Maybe I caught them on a bad day, first few weeks opening nerves and a desire to make everything seem perfect.
The place is undeniably well kitted out, they don’t seem to have cut corners with the decor and dining pieces but this alone doesn’t make a place.
My friends and I walked a few metres down the road to a family run joint, Mess Cafe, which was glorious in comparison to the experience I had in Oslo.
I ordered the scrambled eggs and salmon on toast with a side portion of hashbrowns. I wouldn’t have thought to mince up the salmon and mix it in with the egg but hey ho, it was all good. I have mad love for hashbrowns, so all in all, I was feeling happy. I also ordered a hot chocolate which was very good, though the same can’t be said for the concentrated juice that came as part of the meal. Concentrated juice, can you imagine? Jokes. For the price, I really couldn’t complain; it all came in at under £10. We spent a long while here but as it’s a small cafe, we didn’t want to hug the table and decided to move on.
It was pouring down with rain, so my friend suggested we go back to Oslo. I was like f*ck it okay as I didn’t fancy walking too far to find another spot. We had a good time but my earlier experience definitely left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Oslo Hackney is a nice venue and the food based entirely on inhaling the aromas seems like it may be promising. However, the attitude of the staff is far from desirable. I really do hope they sort this out as it has a fairly unique offering and I would like to revisit but not be chastised for doing so.