I’ve been in Oslo for work this week, and as I always do I ask some of the people I work with where to go for food. I was recommended a place called Pincho Nation, so last night I went along to try it. There’s two Pincho restaurants in Oslo, and they’re new concepts here, but there’s actually a number of others in locations across Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.
In Oslo there’s one near the theatre, just off Karl Johan’s Gate, and one near the train station on Fred Olsen’s Gate. I went to that one as it was near where I was staying. Its really easy to book online which I would recommend you do, as it is popular and especially in the Scandinavian summer when so many people are on holiday during the same time.
I didn’t actually book, but took my chances as a walk in as it was relatively early and I was just on my own. The place is quite different to most minimalistic, Scandi places that I’ve been to in both Oslo and Copenhagen. There’s a lot more happening, with the theme being like a circus.
Decor was red, with light up signs, gold birdcages hanging from the ceiling, and little signs alluding to different acts in a circus. The host took my name and said it would be just a five minute wait while they clear some tables. It was busy even at that time so like I said make sure you book.
There’s a big popcorn cart in the reception, and when I was taken to my table I was handed a box of it to be snacking on while I browsed the menu.
This is where things get a little different, as the whole menu is on the app. It’s an app based restaurant where you can book a table, select your food and drinks, and pay all via the app. It explained why there weren’t too many staff out on the restaurant floor, but plenty behind the bar and kitchen.
The app, downloadable here, has photos of everything on the menu, and it’s all little mini tapas plates that you select and form an order. This includes even your drinks. When you’ve decided you submit the order through the app using a table code that you get when you sit down.
Within less than a minute I got the notification to say my drink was ready at the bar. You go up and collect it yourself and there it was sat on the bar. While I was up I helped myself to the cutlery and condiments at the help yourself station next to the bar.
Back at my table, shovelling the popcorn in I took more of a look around. There was a total mix of people, families, couples, friends, and more noticeably a whole mix of weird and wonderful cocktails too. A girl on the table next to me had this colourful cocktail, and there are many more like it on the app.
Food wise, there’s everything you’d expect from a typical tapas restaurant. My order included antipasto with olives, garlic prawns, seafood paella and sweet potato fries. I saw the mini burgers on another table and they looked good too.
You get status updates on how your order is doing through the app, and when it’s ready they notify you to collect it from the kitchen.
All the tapas come in mini sizes and on a wooden board than fits on the stands attached to your table, like a shelf so you don’t need to keep table space. And there’s room for two boards on each table.
The food was really good, albeit mini sized and I was fully prepares to be ordering more after I finished the first four. They’re deceiving though as I was full by the time I finished. The paella was my favourite by far, really good, and so were the prawns. The cheese on my antipasto plate was a bit dry but overall the food experience was nice.
I wish I’d had room for the mini burgers though as they seemed really popular and people were ordering more through the app and collecting them throughout their meal.
What I did notice was that obviously due to the app, and the concept of collecting your food yourself there were hardly any staff on the actual floor of the restaurant. You get napkins which have green ‘all ok’ on one side and red ‘need help’ on the other, which you flip to attract attention.
The host was really attentive, and great at talking you through how it all works and getting you started on the app. She checked a few times how the food was and if all ok, so I can’t fault them for that, but I did notice that the lack of staff meant that when people left the tables took ages to be cleared. They seemed to do it only when needed for the next people coming in, so there were a lot of empty glasses and dirty tapas boards dotted about.
It didn’t affect my experience though, and I really enjoyed the food. I did have room for a mini desert of chocolate and passion fruit sorbet. There’s some sugary novelty ones a bit like the cocktails on the menu too.
When it comes to paying again you do it through the app, either by paying on your phone, or if you need to pay via card or cash you select that option and someone just appears to take your payment.
It’s definitely something a bit different, casual without being fast food, and judging by the number of people coming in clearly very popular. If you’re ever in one of the Scandinavian countries it’s worth a visit. I’d love to go with a group if we are ever back in Oslo for team meetings, and I’ll be suggesting it to my colleagues for when they’re there.
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