Weekly Ramble No. 21

This week I have mostly been in Oslo for work and so don’t have any film or TV stuff to talk about. Before I traveled over, I managed to get about 68% of the way through Assassins Creed Syndicate and have enjoyed it immensely. As usual there are loads of collectibles and side missions to do and in this version there is the added attraction of the horse and cart races through the streets of Victorian London which are a good laugh. I was also pleased to see that WipEout was out on the PS4 – it is one of my favourite racing games and I will no doubt be having a blast on it over the weekend.

We went over to Oslo on Monday which was a national holiday in Norway. The airport and the connecting Flytoget (literally ‘express train’ and not a play on words as I first thought) airport train service were pretty deserted and later we discovered that most people seemed to be out enjoying the weather.

We had a drink at the busy Aker Brygge Marina and watched the boats coming in and going back out again.

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Around the corner, Bar Social Eating was an unexpected sun trap in the trendy Aker Brygge waterside area of Oslo. In fact having any sun at all was a pleasant and welcome change from the normal weather I tend to experience when I travel over to Norway – usually rain or snow.

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We ordered the set menu of three rounds of dishes to be shared between the three of us. The first dishes to arrive consisted of asparagus parmesan and bacon salad in a hollandaise sauce with almonds, trout salad with mango chilli and avocado and some wonderful fresh tasting crab tacos with dots of apple gel.

A feature common to all the food we ate that evening was the very well thought out flavour combinations with an Asian vibe. The music was laid back Café del a Mar style ambient low tempo tunes and it was great to relax in the sun and when it got later the outdoor heaters came into play – plus there were the usual small rugs to put over your legs if you were really nesh.

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The next set of dishes were tartar beef with soya, apple, pineapple and onion resulting in an almost hoisin flavour, Quinoa porridge with basil and tomato, and cauliflower cheese made with goat’s cheese and brioche croutons. As you may know if you read my foodie posts regularly, I detest goats cheese and so didn’t partake in that particular dish.

Then we had steamed buns to fill with shredded beef brisket (so on trend right now right?), pickled cucumber and kimchi salad.

The only thing that I can complain about was the sexist mural of a woman’s feet in high heels and chains in the urinal section of the unisex toilets. This kind of sexist nonsense is all over male orientated public areas and even in hotel lobbies. It seems odd that this kind of mid-90s nightclub Pirelli calendar ‘art’ should be prevalent given the apparent sophistication of the Norwegians when it comes to food and wine.

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Dessert was cheese whipped up like cream Norwegian, elderflower sorbet, strawberry and white chocolate ice cream with an oat crumble. It was an excellent end to a very tasty meal.

Bar Social Eating change their menu every month and while a pint of Guinness can set you back NOK 105, the price of 495 per person for the ‘all in social’ set menu was very competitive by Oslo standards.

They don’t have English language menus, but the staff were very helpful in explaining what everything was (plus one of our party is pretty good at Norwegian).

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At lunchtime, the next day we noticed the weather closing in again and by the time it came for another nice evening meal at Lorry we were sitting in a heated outdoor canopied area watching the rain bounce off the pavements and the passing traffic.

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Oslofjord under a moody sky

Normal service was very much resumed by the middle of the week, with people rushing to catch buses and trams under pelting rain.

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I got back in time on Thursday to go and vote in our national election and very similar cloudy weather. I hope when the summer comes it isn’t going to be like this every day.

On the flight home, I worked some more on a new plot line in my new novel – just making notes and having a good think about how I was going to get around a mistake I had made in the draft I had been working on. The challenge to rectify this mistake is a great opportunity to write from another character’s perspective and introduce some more action into the book. However, it also means that I have a lot more writing to do before I can publish.

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