The Great Big Nordic Brunch Off
Written by: Sophie Taylor
You know the feeling on a Saturday morning when both sleep and food deftly obliterate your sober, well meaning, healthy-person-plans you made earlier in the week? Thoughts like, I’m going to lift weights every morning slowly die and even the slightly more feasible, I’m exclusively drinking skinny bitches this weekend announcement you make on a Friday afternoon drowns in a jug of 12% cider that evening.
Last Saturday morning, gym memberships gave way to lie-ins and sleep finally bowed down to some serious carb cravings. Finding ourselves at Oslo later that morning, it was a case of hangover meets diet, salmon vs chorizo.
If you’re not feeling too peckish, Oslo isn’t the place for you. Looking at the rather tasteful interior shots and admiring the delicate decor, we imagined flakes of salmon sprinkled on thumbnail crostini and Prosecco dribbles in skinny glass tubes. HOW WRONG WE WERE.
Ordering extra spicy Bloody Mary’s, two large hangover-procrastinators arrived laced with pepper and tabasco to slap the bloodshot out of our eyeballs. Our waiter was attentive to a fault and we felt as though we could’ve asked for three jugs of mimosas each without judgement.
Reclining beneath tall railway arches, with an airy carriage sized space between us and the next table of kilt-clad wedding brunchers, we were feeling positively roomy.
The menu reflects the Scandinavian ownership, from the salmon to the Norwegian sausage, and I for one wanted to know what a Nordic Cure entailed. Still imagining wafer thin salmon slices on mini cubes of rye bread, I ordered absentmindedly, sipping on my spirited tomato juice.
But what arrived was a serious display of Viking prowess.
A long ship of a red pepper sailed afloat a baked bean fjord, rocky with grilled halloumi glaciers and two mountainous poached eggs shaped to perfection with runny midnight suns. The waffle-y city beneath; fluffed up, sturdy and far reaching, was decked out for winter sports and reassuringly expensive.
What finished me off was the dense, ski-pole of a chorizo sausage, reclining atop a hefty portobello mushroom and basking in the polar light of a whole sliced avocado. Mumbling something about a doggy bag halfway through I was told to finish it like a character out of Mortal Kombat. So that I did.
My slightly less greedy brunch guest ordered Eggs Royale on sourdough toast, with generous slathers of smoked Norwegian salmon, beautifully poached Clarence Court eggs and tangy, creamy hollandaise sauce.
Loudly breathing a sigh of ultimate satisfaction, our waiter returned with a knowing smile. “Next time you should try ordering the spatchcock” he grinned, gesturing to suggest something rather large and impressive. “A whole chicken arrives at your table!”
We’re not surprised, checking out someone else’s plate groaning under a whole beer battered haddock and double cooked chips. Despite our full bellies, we suffered some serious food envy on our way out.
Why does Norway rank first on the World Happiness Report? Pop along to Oslo, order anything from the brunch menu and find out for yourself.
Oslo, 1A Amhurst Road, Hackney, E8 1LL
Photos c/o Oslo
Staying in a hotel one mile from where you actually live feels strange enough, but doing it on your own is even stranger. These photos are a visual record of me wandering the lonely corridors of a new boutique hotel between the hours of 10-12pm. I would describe the decor as handmade but not cheap, minimal but not clinical. It has the feeling that money has been spent on the things that matter.
The rumours are true: a cheese festival exists and it’s coming to North London. This Sunday. Be there or be … cheese-less I suppose. But you’ve gouda get there early: If you’re as keen as brie and one of the first fifty fromage fondlers to show, you’re in the running for a free bottle of Black Cow’s pure milk vodka. Traders will be setting up stalls along Islington’s Chapel Market: from the Raclette Brothers and Mac to the Future to La Fromagerie and The Cheese Truck.
Dream Talk. It’s like Dream Phone, but not at all. Artist Emma Alonze and musician Andy Becker have joined forces to collaborate on a (possibly prophetic) new sound art project. Londoners are invited to take a moment out of their daily commute, routine or journey and immerse themselves in a narrated collection of dreams. Taking three years worth of forty winks, Alonze has gathered and narrated a chosen few to be set to an ambient soundtrack by Becker.
Holy smoke, her nipples are on fire! Somebody pass the woman an extinguisher. Wait, why is she climbing into that giant margarita glass - does she not know it's highly flammable? She's going to need to be doused with a sizable portion of aloe vera gel at this rate, the poor lamb.
If there's anything the new moon today has told us, it's that it's time to be our true selves. That's what my horoscope told me today anyway. But what does that mean exactly? It means that if you want to eat honey loops for lunch, you 100% can. It means if you feel like learning how to make a bouquet instead of working on your tax forms, you 100% can. It also means if you want to learn how the deep throat (singing technique) you don't have to explain yourself. You're keeping it .
Our exclusive meeting with Eroc: the Beyonce of the skateboarding dog world. Eroc the french bulldog is making waves. With fans like Tony Hawk, BBC Radio and over 30k followers on Instagram (and counting), Eroc has also become something of an online sensation. His viral status comes and goes, randomly popping up on online social media channels every now and again to generate hundreds of thousands of views and clicks via the likes of Buzzfeed, Time Out and rogue iPhone filmers.
We all have our own ways of dealing with life when things get shitty. Having a big cry and getting it all out can be incredibly therapeutic, and even more so when we find ourselves repeating the same line over and over through the tears. “He’s a dick!” or “I’m not a bad person!” These little lines of reinforcement help us push through the crappy feeling. Sometimes we might even revert to a hearty little stamp on the floor / kick of some unsuspecting object. It feels surprisingly satisfying when the rage sets in and we feel helpless.
This Friday sees the release of Malian master musicians, Trio Da Kali’s new album Ladilikan. Fusing rich, expressive vocals with traditional instruments like the balafon and bass ngoni, this is a beautiful mix of ancient Mande culture and contemporary Malian sounds. Luckily for us North Londoners, we have the opportunity to see the trio play live in the rather fitting ethereal surrounds of Stoke Newington Church next month.
Walking along Monsell Road in Finsbury Park, we spy the charming exterior of a shop looking like something out of a children’s book circa 1932. Beneath a green and white striped awning, a whimsical new world of mini animals awaits. Once inside we stumble about the store in hushed awe, reaching over a book of minuscule carpet samples/ family of miniature otters to tap a tiny bell.
Whether you’re looking for something to entertain your kids, your friends’ kids or that particularly large man child in your life, you might just have lucked out. Snug are hosting an open air screening of The Incredibles next Saturday evening. There will be tasty sourdough pizzas from Sodo Pizza (Upper Clapton) and ultimate authentic curries from Rice n Spice, Northwold Road.
Coming soon to a Tufnell Park near you is a whole new vegetable patch of delights / wheat field to run vicariously through. It’s time to get excited for Ceremony: a brand new bar/restaurant serving modern British veggie cuisine. Although the website remains tantalisingly mysterious, you can glean more info from their well stocked insta.
Sound baths, pit parties, fake cheese and nipples, these are a few of our favourite things, said no one ever. Bored of drinking down the pub every evening? Unlikely, but bare with me. Sometimes you just want to let down your hair, shake it off and do something down right odd of an evening... followed by a pint at the pub.
It’s been a few months since the last instalment of Online vs Offline. I deleted Bumble, Happn and Tinder, flirted with the idea of match.com, went to a friend’s wedding, heard the vicar call my name instead of the Bride’s and reflected briefly on the crushing inevitability of my own spinsterhood before realising everyone was laughing in the pews and I should probably join them.
Gluten-free cake consumers, vegan cheese enthusiasts, craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of pies and drinkers of tea; your time is now. Buy food of a quality & variety you can’t easily find in the shops, from organic meat to vegan cheese, fish caught that morning to pickles which have been fermenting for months, at Stroud Green market.
Who’s up for free entry, free cake and free folk (except for a jaunty little hat that is passed around for donations)? Get down to The Finsbury this Wednesday eve for a little mid week hootenanny and celebrate some of the best in new live music from the ‘acoustic, singer-songwriter & indie-folk scene’. Host with the most, Zoe Konez (“Ridiculously talented, Konez handles her guitar like she was born with it” - For Folk's Sake) will be deftly introducing each act from gin soaked folk popster herself, Penniless Cove to German indie band, Kalon.
What if you could mix the joys of your local Sunday car boot and all it’s dog perving potential with your favourite vintage clothes shops and high end antique markets? Within the sparkling depths of Dalson’s former ABC cinema, you’ll find The Big London Flea: London’s largest indoor vintage market.