1a Amhurst Rd, London E8 1LL
It’s hard to make an effort on a Sunday. I have to fight against the adumbration of Saturday nights, wearing me down like a paper thin bag. So, when invited along to dine at Oslo on a Sunday night, I had my reservations.
Predictably, I find myself feeling a little delicate on my way to Hackney. But a promise of a roast with a side of Blues music spurred me on. Fortunately, Oslo isn’t located far from the Overground station of Hackney Central. A short minutes walk and I find myself in Oslo’s shadow without having time to finish a cigarette.
Oslo is fortunate enough to be housed in a huge brick building. It has a separate space for live music nights and a ground level area for drinking and dining. Tonight, is their special Sunday event, Hus ‘Av A Blues which will feature an acoustic Blues set to accompany the diners as they graze their way through the evening. The bar lines one side of the room, containing the most diverse selection of drinks. Craft beer, a lengthy wine list and a melange of interesting spirits. I would have to spend more than an evening here to taste such a range. I even spot an Absinthe tower tucked on one of the many shelves.
I grab a large glass of Chilean Merlot and head to a window table. Night has fallen, and the bar lights are dim enough to relax whilst not feeling the artificial glare. Their Sunday menu consists of Roast Beef or Chicken, all served with kale, Yorkshire pudding, potatoes and carrots all for £14-15. Some people think it’s hard to go wrong with a roast dinner but then they must have never tasted a truly great roast.
The dinner is served just as the blues starts. A man called Joe Corbin takes to the stage and begins strumming with the cliché ‘whiskey-soaked-vocals’. I feel like the choice of one man and his guitar is fitting for a slow Sunday evening. A band would have been too loud for my extremely delicate skull.
The food is well presented with a gravy boat sat beside it. This is an important detail for a roast. It gives a choice for those who prefer their roast dry or for those who, like me, love it smothered. The rump of beef is cooked into a melty slice of meat that rips apart obligingly. Velvet and chewy. The roast potatoes are coated in goose fat, and although I like them a bit crunchier, they are fluffy and light. The chicken does not lack in moisture but has a little too much pepper sprinkled over the top. The vegetables are also well-cooked, and are all happily washed down with a swig of Merlot.
These are great dishes, and in comparison to most live music dinners, is one of the best I have ever tried. Other people seem to enjoy it too. As I left for a post-dinner cigarette, my table had been swiftly taken upon my return. I take to propping up at the bar, navigating their many drinks on display. Even if I weren’t to have the space for dinner, it’s a fine place to unwind after a long week; listening to the strumming of live music whilst knocking back a couple of bourbons alone, or with my favourite person.
Over my last glass, I realise my hangover has disappeared and I am sufficiently full. I don’t know whether it’s the wine or the charm of blues by candlelight, but it feels a little like love.