Screw The Turkey, This Christmas Menu Will Have You Fighting Over The Camembert
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Tis the season to wear flimsy paper hats while drinking copious amounts of booze and, if you’re lucky, someone in the office with a healthy bank balance will arrange a cranberry-steeped meat-fest to soak up the gallons of prosecco, mulled wine and craft beer swilling around your liver.
If you and your colleagues are down with the Hygge-preaching, fixie peddling kids (or think you are) you might find yourself in the eclectic Nordic-inspired Hackney bar/restaurant/venue hybrid that is Oslo.
Its festive menu — a mixture of meat-heavy traditional faves and fish dishes (for the flexitarians) — is bookended by flavour but, like Santa's belly, sags in the middle when it comes to the mains.
So let’s start with the starters: Any cheese fan (who hasn't been put off by the recent Giant Cheeseboard fiasco) will find their mouth watering at the sight of puncturing this perfectly gooey slab of Camembert. Served with crusty bread, doused in honey and topped with crunchy hazelnuts — it's the kind of indulgent you can only get away with at Christmas.
Cutting into the melt-in-the-mouth Teriyaki salmon was a dream but the bok choy it came with could have benefitted from an avalanche of garlic (when it comes to garlic, more is definitely more, in my books).
On to the mains: the braised lamb is tender, the turkey is well, turkyish (is there a reason we only eat it once a year?), the vegetables well seasoned. But if you don't want to end up in a meat-and-gravy induced food coma, opt for the sea bass. It's served up with sauteed leeks and crushed new potatoes — it won't blow your taste buds away but it's light enough to leave room for that mulled wine cheesecake.
The veggie option (above) — a stodgy mash-up of roasted butternut, spinach and pearl barley is disappointingly devoid of flavour or moisture, — thankfully you can drown it in tomato sauce.
All this was washed down with Oslo's tasty new wine menu. If you're saving the pennies go for the house red, rest assured, it's a step up from the nose-wrinkling, vinegary plonk served up elsewhere.
We could have gorged on the starters, cut the mains and moved swiftly to the surprisingly moist Christmas pudding, which contrary to what Jay Rayner says, deserves to be scoffed no matter how full your belly thinks it is.
Oslo, 1A Amhurst Road, Hackney, E8 1LL
Londonist tried Oslo's Christmas menu at a complimentary tasting event.
Last Updated 03 January 2018