Iceland, home to an endless array of natural beauty, notoriously unpredictable weather patterns and some of the most outlandishly decadent dining experiences in the world. After living in our Kuku Camper for 2 weeks, we decided it was time to treat ourselves with 2 days of living like a local in the incredible city of Reykjavik.
Located next to the Reykjavik Dry Dock, this trendy spot has some of the most creative, and dangerously delicious, drinks on the entire island. With concoctions like Mr. Boom Bastic, The Fabulous Hulk (Drew’s favorite) and Pipi Gonzalez (not on the menu, but my personal fave), you can’t help but want to order more if only for the sake of saying the ridiculously-fun names!
We watched as the bartenders artfully juggled bottles, glasses, swizzle sticks and garnishes, all while looking particularly sharp in their superhero bow ties… they really need to start selling these.
Now on to the food. Which was ALL. DELICIOUS.
The incredibly fresh Icelandic Seafood Platter displayed 2 beautiful tiers of locally sourced Bluefin tuna tartare, scallop ceviche, grilled langoustine tail and salmon sashimi… believe us when we say it was INCREDIBLE. We recommend not leaving Iceland without eating this.
For the main course Drew had the grilled sirloin of lamb with toasted onions, rutabaga puree, oyster mushrooms and brambleberries all covered in a homemade onion jus. In case you were wondering, there was nothing left.
Always on the hunt for incredible vegetarian dishes, I was served the Winter Salad, which is not what it sounds like. This warm dish was overflowing with locally sourced vegetables: roasted artichoke hearts, Icelandic root vegetables, hazelnut pesto, and charred hazelnuts, all topped with a bed of melted isbui cheese and garnished with a fresh herb salad. It was wonderful.
As we let the food settle into our happy tummies we sipped on another incredible drink that the attentive wait staff presented us with. We watched as the sun finally began to set (around 10pm) just beyond the ships and snow-covered mountains in the nearby distance.
And with just enough room, it was time for dessert. For Drew it was the warm and fluffy, doughnut platter, topped with a sweet carmel glaze, dusted with powdered sugar and served alongside a lemon fruit crème and homemade jam:
Pour moi, it was the light and airy Slippbarinn chocolate cake, made with Iceland’s famous OMNOM (Madagascar 66% cacao) chocolate. These decadent morsels were scattered amongst a bed of freshly whipped cream (which Drew loved scooping up to place on this doughnuts) and a sea of warm caramel.
Perfect for a fun night out with friends, a trendy gathering with colleagues (happy hour every day from 3-6pm) or a delicious evening alongside your significant other as you celebrate having lived the Icelandic van-life, Slippbarinn seriously has it all.
In perfect contrast with all the trendiness that is oozing from the docksides at Slippbarinn, if you are looking to experience an unforgettably, intimate evening in Iceland, filled with the finest foods, wine and atmosphere, Lækjarbrekka cannot be missed.
Built as a home in 1834, the dark and elegant Lækjarbrekka, meaning house on a hill by a lake, is known as the most romantic restaurant in all of Reykjavik. What was once a 19th century bakery is now a charming restaurant frequented by honeymooners, the Prime Minister and Iceland’s President alike, all seeking Iceland’s finest since 1986.
While we may not have been on our honeymoon, we were looking for a one-of-a-kind way to commemorate our last night in Iceland, and we truly couldn’t have chosen a more wonderful place to do just that.
After a few sips of wine, Drew decided upon ordering the Traditional Icelandic Feast, which was unlike anything we had ever heard of, ever. To start, he was served cured lamb, minke whale, wind dried fish and Icelandic seaweed, alongside 2 cubes of fermented shark in a sealed jar…!
Fermented shark, now what’s the story behind that?! Well, the Greenlandic shark, which is what Icelanders have been eating for centuries, is itself poisonous when fresh! This is because of the fact that it has no system “to relieve itself” other than secreting through its skin, causing it to have an extremely high content of urea and trimethylamine oxide. So, in order to prepare it for consumption, the meat is buried in a shallow hole on a slight hill and is then covered with sand and gravel. Stones are then placed on top of the sand in order to press the shark, ultimately removing the poisonous fluids from the meat. The shark ferments in this fashion for 6–12 weeks and is then cut into strips and hung to dry for several months before being served… Woah.
In order to keep the scent of ammonia from disturbing the ambiance of the restaurant, the fermented shark must be served in a jar like the one seen above. Drew was instructed to eat the fermented shark, or Hákarl, last, followed by a shot of Brennivin. Eating Hákarl is often associated with hardiness and strength, and after watching him down that without a flinch, I would definitely have to agree. He said the after taste of the ammonia was the roughest part… luckily next on the Icelandic Feast menu was the incredibly smooth and delectable Cream of Langoustine Soup, which coated his tastebuds and throat in all the right ways:
With palettes primed, we were set for the main course. My vegetarian Chickpea Cake was served beneath a blanket of arugula, parsnip crisps and roasted sweet potatoes, all placed alongside a sweet and savory coconut sauce:
Between unforgettable forkfuls, sips of belly-warming wine and loads of laughter caused by our Icelandic van-life stoires, we wished the night could have lasted forever… and in many ways it did.
A plate which displayed the creamy and rich Skyr mousse with blueberry sorbet and oat crumble, paired with a sweet dessert wine, while across the table sat a warm morsel of chocolate cake, topped with vanilla glazed strawberries and vanilla ice cream…
By the end of the night the only thing that was left behind was our slowly burning candle, which had burnt all the way down to it’s golden base. May the memory of this land, people and cuisine, burn brightly in our hearts until our next return.
For more fine dining in Reykjavik, be sure to take a look at our post on Lava, the beautiful, gourmet restaurant inside the world renowned Blue Lagoon. And for more tips on what to do while visiting Iceland, be sure to check out our EPIC Iceland Bucket List!