A brand new Scandi-style kitchen and bar opened recently in the former Diane Berry Kitchens unit next to Pizza Express on Bury New Road in Prestwich.
OSMA is open for breakfast at 8 am on weekdays and serves a healthy, laid back lunchtime menu of open sandwiches and seasonal salads, fresh soups and Manchester-made bread, before flipping into a ‘food-bar’ menu serving small sharing plates and cocktails in the evening from Thursday to Saturday.
The name is a combination of Oslo and Manchester for a very good reason.
Co-founder and head chef Danielle Heron grew up in Whitefield and studied cookery at college in Manchester before serving priceless experience at L’Enclume, the famous two Michelin-starred restaurant.
After sharpening her skills in the Lakes, the now 28-year-old moved to Norway to work at one of the world’s top restaurants – the three Michelin-starred Maaemo in Oslo. Danielle met co-owner Sofie Stoermann-Naess there before sailing back home on a Viking longboat to open Osma. (I made the ship bit up for effect, but the rest is true).
I popped in for what was supposed to be a quick working lunch (but actually took my sweet time) and sat at a massive communal table as you enter.
Unsurprisingly, the interior is über Scandi-style with calm hues of blue, thin light-wood cladding with matt black lines and subtle accents of gold and peach. It looks like it’s been designed by Anna and Clara, the sisters behind the Søstrene Grene store in the Royal Exchange to match the relaxed menu and pace.
It’s very spacious, so you don’t actually need to book a table but make sure you wear a mask when walking through the restaurant to your table or bathroom.
On a crisp autumnal afternoon, the soup of the day (£6) caught my eye. This changes daily and is served with toasted sourdough. Today’s was celeriac and mushroom. It was rich, creamy and dense with mushrooms and dressed with speckles of chive and truffle oil. The sourdough, which is sourced from Pollen Bakery in Ancoats, was warm and chewy, and decadently dripping in whipped pork butter.
The spicy pepper crab salad (£8.50) with coriander, edamame and cucumber was fresh and well seasoned by hand. A perfect light lunch or indeed a delightful palate cleanser for anyone with the appetite to order it as a starter.
Taking centre stage on the menu is a list of open sandwiches – traditional Scandinavian sandwiches consisting of a slice of dark brown rye bread topped with pieces of meat or fish, cheese or spreads and garnishes.
I went for the roast beef, a blushing well-seasoned topside cut laid across a fresh slice of rye bread with cucumber shards, crispy onions and light horseradish sauce.
Not one to pass on a sweet treat, I had a treacle tart (£2) and a flat white to finish. The dense, thick treacle was sticky and comforting and tasted like autumn would.
So much for lunch. Breakfast dishes include oat porridge (£4) with apple jam and vanilla syrup; or homemade granola (£4.50) with natural yoghurt and blueberry compote. Seemingly inspired by the bed and breakfast spa package available at L’Enclume.
The Food Bar menu includes small plates like salmon ceviche with ‘leche de tigre’ and crispy wontons (£7); halibut with roasted bone sauce, cucumber and potato (£8.50); and chicken leg croquette with chive emulsion (£4) to name a few.
And did someone say croissant bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice cream and blueberries?
The staff are friendly and accommodating. Although the view of the main road leaves much to be desired, the location – just outside Prestwich village rather than slap bang in the centre – makes Osma a bit of a destination with a car park. And it works because it’s busy every day, according to the front of house Megan.
Which is unsurprising because the dishes are of a standard that can only be prepared by professionals in a contemporary kitchen with clear benches, lots of space and Viking warrior standard sharp blades.
At a time when many of us are cooking at home more than ever, Osma is a welcome reminder that, no matter how simple the dish or ingredients, we’ll never be as good as the pros, however much we practise – especially when they are Michelin-trained.
Bury New Rd, Prestwich, Manchester M25 0AA