I’ve been notoriously lax in my restaurant reviews of late. This despite the fact that I’ve eaten in restaurants relatively frequently this summer AND the fact that Cassie expressly asked me to write a restaurant review [or two] before she came to Iceland, which I had every intention of doing; meanwhile, she has now been and gone without even as much as a restaurant being mentioned in this space. *I guess I’m not very good with requests!
Anyway, consider the situation amended, for here comes the first of several reviews [probably not consecutive, though] of restaurants that are fairly easy on the budget and very tourist-friendly, although not necessarily touristy.
Earlier this summer I decided to take AAH out for lunch and she got to pick the place. Our basic criteria was that it be a restaurant with a good prix fixe menu, because you can get excellent deals here in Niceland on menus like that, at restaurants that charge astronomical prices as soon as the big dial on the clock crawls past 6 pm.
AAH had never been to Lækjarbrekka, which if you’ve visited Iceland you’ve almost certainly noticed as it’s located in a very pretty old house right at the bottom of the hill on Bankastræti [the street that turns into Laugavegur]. She wanted to try it, whereas YT wasn’t entirely convinced … in recent years it’s somehow become increasingly geared towards tourists and … I dunno, it just seemed a bit tacky. I’d always had pretty good food there, mind, but somehow its image seemed to be slipping. Call me shallow [if you will if you shall if you must].
Anyway, I called up to make sure they weren’t fully booked and got a very kind and polite reception on the phone. Promising. So we arrived and as it was a gorgeous day decided to sit in the sun out in the courtyard. The waitstaff was extremely friendly and promptly brought menus and took our drink order. So far so good.
The prix fixe looked good and cost a very reasonable ISK 2,400 for two courses, or 2,900 for three courses [USD 29-34 / EUR 20-24]. For starters there was the choice of salad or cream of mushroom soup; we both went for the salad. It arrived fairly quickly and while it was relatively unadventurous [basically two types of lettuce, tomatoes and chunks of feta cheese with a vinaigrette dressing] it was crackling fresh and also very substantial and tasty. Top marks for that.
For a main course AAH ordered the mushroom risotto, while YT ordered the catch of the day which was halibut with some sort of lemony sauce and potato gratin. Both were excellent. AAH’s risotto was incredibly tasty, but also incredibly rich and she could only finish about half of it. My fish was super-fresh and cooked to perfection, and the sauce was delicious – creamy with just a hint of lemon. Mmm. The only drawback was how incredibly long we had to wait between starter and main course [probably half an hour or more] and the fact that the food was only lukewarm when it got to the table. However, the wait staff was so incredibly nice and everything else so spot-on that I couldn’t work up the gumption to make a fuss … and anyway, as regular readers will know, waiting long for your food is par for the course here. I’ve seen worse.
Dessert was the pièce de résistance in this whole adventure: a ‘chocolate special’ that was made up of a little piece of French chocolate cake, a little pot of warm chocolate cake with a runny chocolate centre, chocolate mousse, and fruit, all arranged very prettily on a plate. It was FANTASTIC.
Bottom line: a great lunch with super-friendly and charming waitstaff. The weather certainly didn’t distract from our enjoyment: we sat outside in the courtyard which was sheltered from the wind, and it was HOT in that lovely Icelandic summery way, i.e. with a delightful absence of humidity. My silly prejudices about Lækjarbrekka have been dispelled for the time being and I can confidently recommend the place to anyone, for lunch at least.
ALREADY WE HAVE A HINT OF AUTUMN IN THE AIR
Temps have dropped just a couple of degrees from what they’ve been lately and there’s the slightest chill in the air, even when the sun is out. Today we had a couple of healthy rain showers – one around noon, the other around 5 pm – but other than that, the weather was delightful, with mostly sunny skies and just a little bit of wind. Right now it’s 11°C [52F] and it’s looking pretty dusky out there at 10.30 pm. Day gets shorter all the time. Sunrise was at 5.17 am and sunset just about half an hour ago, at 9.45 pm.
[More restaurant reviews here.]
[PS I’ve uploaded a bunch of new pictures to the rotating image thingy and also updated the theme so it looks a little different now [and is a lot more functional behind the scenes] … remember you can change the picture by refreshing your browser!]
* We did have lunch in one of my favourite restaurants yesterday, though – Jómfrúin – so hopefully she’ll forgive me!