How long has it been since I’ve done a restaurant review? Ages! And it’s not that I’ve suddenly stopped eating in restaurants because of the kreppa. Truth be told, residents of the rock don’t go out for dinner that often, for one simple reason: it’s bloody expensive. For visitors, obviously, the price has dropped by about half since last year, but for those of us eking out a living here on the edge of the inhabitable world, not much has changed. Except that there has been this influx of foreign journos who have been so kind and generous as to invite me out for meals over the past few months [perhaps I was looking a bit emaciated]. You know who you are.
Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. It’s this: the other day, EPI and I decided to grab a quick bite before the Eurovision, er, playoffs. AAH had been granted permission to hold a party chez YT so we had to clear out pretty early. The plan was just to grab a quick burger somewhere, and it is generally agreed in the YT household that the best burgers in the city are to be found at American Style – a small chain of fast-food restaurants here in the capital.
So off we headed to American Style on Tryggvatata, a stone’s throw from the renowned Bæjarins beztu hot dog stand. The joint was pretty empty. On inspecting the menu [traditional fast-food style, located above the head of the person serving you at the counter] both of us decided that the fish and chips platter sounded like just the ticket. EPI had tried it on a prior visit, and gave it the thumbs-up. Sold.
The young guy serving us was incredibly friendly and likeable and swore that the fish was fresh. So we took a seat in a wiiiiide booth [probably fits eight] by the window and waited for our number to be called. While there I glanced around and was delighted to note that the place – which to be fair doesn’t have much of an atmosphere – was totally spotless and just generally exuded an air of good maintenance and care. There is a special playroom for kids with a glass partition and a TV showing cartoons, so perfect for families.
Our food arrived in a jiffy [the friendly server brought it to our table] and I have to say that it was the best fish and chips I’ve eaten in Iceland – definitely superior to the upscale fare at Icelandic Fish and Chips [which is OK for its hat*, as the Icelanders would say]. This was piping hot, the fries still sizzling, and the fish – halibut – fresh and tasty. It had more of a breaded covering than the traditional deep-fried batter, which no doubt is infinitely better for you and which was crispy and tasty. The clincher was a salad on the side, which was simple but really fresh and yummy – crisp iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and red pepper, with a light dressing.
Bottom line, this was the biggest restaurant-related surprise I’ve had in a very long time. Truth is I’ve been slightly prejudiced towards American Style because, you know, fast-food joint and all that [I’ve only had burgers there on two occasions in the past, and then at another location which was a bit more hectic]. But I’m glad I got past that because this was excellent food in an unpretentious atmosphere and – best of all – at a fabulous price. ISK 3,500 [USD 28 / EUR 20] for dinner for two, including a soft drink with unlimited refills. Two thumbs up.
And see? I wrote an entire post without once mentioning the tax hikes on alcohol, tobacco and gas and how they will increase household debt by ISK 8 billion. Sigh. Just like the old days.
UPDATE!! – Oh, dear, I’m forced to amend my review. Went again to American Style for fish & chips and it was practically inedible. See here [at the end of the post].
* Icelandic idiom – ágætt fyrir sinn hatt, which basically means: it’s ok.
A BLUSTERY DAY
With the occasional bouts of sunshine, but mostly overcast. It’s pretty windy out there right now and apparently showers are imminent. Currently 10°C [50F] and sunrise was at 3:31 am, sunset due for 11:22 pm.