Brace yourselves: two restaurant reviews in two days [well, four actually, since I covered three-in-one the last time] – and this only because I’ve only just returned home from eating a chicken burrito and figured I’d hammer out a wee exposé about it. Consider it a public service, if you will if you shall if you must. Or a rant. Take your pick.
Okay, to be fair, this place has a few cards stacked against it from the outset because, quite frankly, I have avoided it like the plague ever since it opened. As a form of silent protest. So silent that nobody but YT [and EPI, although he may have forgot] knew about it.
It’s like this: In that very same location there was once a café called Café Sólon Íslandus [S.Í. was a fairly well-known Nicelandic hobo in the 1800s I believe, who travelled the country and produced some very fine paintings, long story] and it was exceedingly popular. It was owned by a collective of artists and vague bohemian-types who did an excellent job of running it [well, except the service staff they hired was notoriously slow, but then that’s par for the course in Niceland], it was all painted in warm, earthy tones, they put on art exhibitions and so forth, and it was all good. Except that one day their lease ran out, the owners of the building refused to renew it, waited a few weeks, then opened a café of their own in that very same location, audaciously called it Café Sólon, put on art exhibitions and, well, basically just ripped off the operations from the people who had originally busted their asses getting the place up and running.
Cut to this evening, when me and three girlfriends were downtown casting around for a place to eat. The first place we went to, Vegamót, was full, and the nearest suitable place to that happened to be Café Sólon. Everyone thought it was a great idea except our YT, although in the end I relented because I didn’t want to be a killjoy. Plus I was hungry.
The place, now all charcoal gray and super cool [read: cold and morose], was full when we arrived, although a table by the window was just leaving. We plonked ourselves down – it was the best table in the joint I have to admit – and had a boo at the menu, which arrived instantly [score a point for that]. YT ended up ordering a chicken burrito, as did Girlfriend 1, Girlfriend 2 had stir-fried egg noodles in Teryaki sauce with chicken, and Girlfriend 3 pasta with chicken and bacon swimming around in a cream sauce, with copious amounts of fresh parmesan on top.
The waitstaff wasn’t very tardy taking our order, but after that we waited at least 45 minutes for our food. By that time my blood-sugar level was somewhere down around Antarctica and I was practically in a foetal position under the table. TIP: when dining at Café Sólon, bring your own bread sticks. You’ll thank me later.
At last, long last, the food arrived, and while The Girlfriends were delighted with theirs, YT was underwhelmed by her burrito. Granted, it was hot [score a point – not always the case], and somewhat spicy, but there was a disappointing absence of coriander [subtract a point] and the gunk inside the burrito was a little too soggy, as though it had come from a tin [subtract a point]. It was served with fresh salad, nachos and salsa on the side; the salad was fresh [score], but the nachos were of the MSG-cheese variety [subtract], the salsa insipid and almost certainly from a jar [subtract], and while it was filling, it was decidedly lacking in oomph and left a vaguely unpleasant aftertaste. In other words, about as far removed from a real Mexican burrito as Café Sólon is from Café Sólon Íslandus.
The atmosphere is, as I said, fairly cold and uninviting, and the best thing the place has going for it is the big windows. There’s a serious echo in there and fairly loud music, so semi-shouting is required for conversation to take place. Just so you know.
WEATHER: IT’S BEEN OVERCAST AND KIND OF CHILLY
… Although that may have had something to do with YT’s insistence on wearing a short-sleeved dress under a thin jeans jacket, leggings, and bare feet in sneakers. In other words, acting like the sort of Nicelander I used to scoff at many moons ago when I first moved back – the sort of Nicelander who puts on shorts and a tank top as soon as the sun comes out – never mind that temps are just above the freezing mark. Oh, what we wouldn’t give for the delusion that we’re actually in the tropics! Temps right now 9°C [48F] and sunrise was at 2:59 am, sunset at 11:58 pm. Beautiful!