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Friday, 7 February 2014

Oslo, Hackney

I've never been to Norway. There was a near miss, aged 13, when I was invited to the land of the Ford Fjord by Jorgen from Bergen, a pen pal. (Note to dem yoot: that's the ancient equivalent of a Facebook friend.) As luck would have it, the parents of another pen pal, whose name was Yves, I vaguely recall, invited me to France that summer. Blackhead-plagued geek Yves may have been of zero interest - 'Experiment with your chemistry set?' Moi? At 13? 'Es-tu fou, matey?' - but his parents' villa, overlooking St Tropez, where I'd escape after lights out to cruise its cafe terraces, sure as hell was. Tonight, I finally make it to Oslo. That's Oslo as in the latest lounge to open in baradise aka East London, not as in Nordic nowheresville. Oslo occupies the Victorian pile that, until 1945, housed Hackney Central station's booking hall. Its handsomely conversion in the post-industrial bare washed brick stylee is just the ticket. Alight here for local microbrewers Crate and Five Points' ales at a butch bar flanking the dining room. Cocktails, if at all, are basic: no-nonsense Oslo is not your place for fancy Nancy molecular malarkey. Bar food includes 3 for £10 sexysloppysliders, oxtail poutine (£5) and chicken poppers in BBQ sauce. Two further bars inhabit a live music room/  electro club upstairs, open until as late as 3am at weekends. At the former station, hear tomorrow’s big tracks on a badass sound-system when grime MCs, garage. surf, nu-folk and grunge bands play. Norway, nul points? Not so at Oslo!

 1A Amhurst Road E8 1LL 3553 4831