Halló Reykjavik- exploring and dining out in Iceland's capital city.
Alice explores and dines out in Iceland's capital, Reykjavik.
After a very short rest at First Hotel Alda, I had to check out the
Islenski Barinn, translated as the Icelandic Bar– a favourite among locals. I had my first encounter with Icelandic beer and went out of my comfort zone to try puffin.
When travelling to new places, it is always exciting to try the local products on offer. The friendly guy at the bar suggested we try the Einstök White Ale, brewed with pure Icelandic water – a classic beer with flavours of orange peel and coriander. It was very refreshing and flavoursome.
They had a limited but interesting menu. The choice fell on the puffin, blueberry, onion, & lemon skyr dressing, smoked salmon with mustard sauce, dill & caviar and smoked lamb tartar, beetroot, onion & horse radish. There was also ryebread, but the Icelandic sort is somewhat sweeter than the Danish version and not as coarse. It was served up in small jars and the perfect accompaniment to the suggested beer. A great start to my very first encounter with the world’s northern most capital city, Reykjavik
I wandered through the city to familiarise myself. It is not very large, so this was fairly easy, which was lucky, as I only had today to do this. I had pre-booked 2 full day tours for the next 2 days as I wanted to get as much out of my short stay as possible prior to boarding Hurtigruten Explorer
Although it did not take me long to explore central Reykjavik, a few hours had gone by and I did not even realise it, as it was still daylight outside. There were so many new and quirky things that gripped my attention. It was time for dinner, and I decided on a local recommendation Sushi Samba, located right next door to the funky Centerholt Thingholt on Þingolstræti . I know this does not sound very Icelandic – but they did have an Icelandic feast on offer, which instantly convinced me.
Studying this Icelandic 7-course celebration of the Icelandic produce a bit further, which included mouth-watering dishes such as smoked puffin, minke whale, arctic charr and free range Icelandic lamb.
As the restaurant was pretty packed and I was “a table for 1”, they placed me by the sushi bar. A little later another couple came, who opted for the Icelandic Feast menu – this commences with a shot of the Icelandic national spirit “Brennivín“. This was served in a glass with the Icelandic colours – it looked amazing and appetising and I did mange to sneak in a little shot of the presentation of this.
The waiter was really nice, turns out he had studied in my hometown (as you know by now is Aarhus :-) and we then continued speaking Danish. The vast majority of Icelandic people learn Danish in school and many travel to Denmark (or other countries) to study in their adult years.
I asked the waiter if it was possible just to order some of the things from the Feast and he advised that this was only possible if the item was on the main menu, which I guess was fair enough. It was getting late and I had a little tasting earlier at the Icelandic bar, so I went with that.
I had the “Torched“ arctic charr with parsnip purée, fennel, dill mayo, the Reindeer slider with blue cheese, portobello, steamed bun and since I was in an Asian fusion restaurant I went with a small order of beef tataki as well. The waiter came back again for a little chat and to my surprise he brought me a little shot of the Brennivín and said “I knew you wanted the Icelandic Feast and enjoy this on the house” – such a lovely touch.
The meal was delicious, the ambiance was vibrant and the service was amazing. I certainly recommend Sushi Samba and if you can – go for the full Icelandic feast menu - it looked very appetising.