Last year when EPI and I got married, our four exceptionally wonderful daughters gave us a fabulous wedding present: a night at the Hotel Saga plus dinner at Grillið, their in-house restaurant that happens to be one of the best in Reykjavík. It’s taken us almost a year to fit this little outing into our busy schedules [a scandal, really], but last night we finally managed it.
EPI’s main concern was that we’d get bored. I mean, we planned to check in at 2 pm and dinner wasn’t until 9.30 – what would we do in the interim? However, he comforted himself with the thought that, if push came to shove, we could always go home, seeing as how we live only five minutes away by car.
Personally I had no such worries, because as I pointed out to EPI, the hotel actually has a spa at which we could hang out for the duration of the afternoon. This generated even more anxiety for EPI, because by his own admission he didn’t know what to do in a spa. [I was going to mention Brazilian waxing, but decided against it.] Plus we could take a book and actually lie in bed and read, or – you know – whatever. It was supposed to be a romantic getaway after all.
So we checked in around three. The first half an hour was a bit weird; we unpacked our bags and examined the slippers and bathrobes folded neatly on the bed, stared out the window a bit, and then for lack of a better activity sat in the armchairs provided and read the newspapers. That took us up to about 4 pm, when it was time to take a deep breath and venture out to the spa.
After a bit of humming-and-hawing about what to take with us [bathrobe? towel? slippers?] we finally made it down there, only to discover that three Nicelandic couples had staked their claim to the Jacuzzi and were drinking beer and generally having a rowdy time. Great. So we alternated between the steam bath and the sauna and eventually shuffled over to the Jacuzzi after the ladies had retired to the changing room, only to discover that this Jacuzzi has salty sea water in it and the bubbles have this rhythm that is just so soothing, and OMG it’s fricking amazing. So we basically we just flaked out there completely inert until the woman who worked there came and told us the spa was closing and we had to get out now, otherwise she’d have to pull the plug.
Anyway, cut to a few hours later, and we were sitting on the eighth floor up in Grillið being served the meal of a lifetime. Seriously. The food was to die for. This was my second time eating at this particular restaurant and both times it’s been out of this world. [Meanwhile, the service was merely adequate, but that’s hardly news around here.] We picked the ‘Discovery Menu’ and the discoveries consisted of the following: an appetizer of king crab with buttery sauce; seared tuna steaks with a little croquette ball with a tiny zuccini slice inside and some other delectable accompaniments; pan-fried plaice with scallops and mango foam; melt-in-your-mouth beef with mashed potato all artistically carved and arranged plus vegetables and oxtail something wrapped up in like a pastry type thingy set on top … see? Words fail me.* I can’t even begin to describe what it was like. – Oh, and not forgetting dessert, which consisted of something called a ‘banana club’ [as in ‘sandwich’], crème brulee, sorbet and a fourth something that escapes me at the moment.
Along with these mouthwatering treats we were poured three different kinds of wine – Riesling with the fish, Shiraz with the beef, and a Hungarian dessert wine with dessert. Yowsa!**
AND THEN WE WOKE UP TO A BEAUTIFUL DAY
And despite still being stuffed, went down to a lavish hotel breakfast before packing our things for home. I’ve decided that staying in a hotel that’s right near your house is the only way to travel – you’re not stressed out about forgetting something, and you don’t care how you pack before you leave the hotel because you know you’re going to unpack ten minutes later. But I digress: the weather was exceptional today, brilliant sunshine and temps hovering around the freezing mark. As soon as we got home [and unpacked] we went out for a long walk and tanked up on some daylight, which was clear and bright enough to take us through to the end of next week, I should think. Currently –2°C [28F] and the sun came up at 10.05 am and set at 4.20 pm.
* PS I reserve the right to be wrong about the food descriptions. It was all so exceptionally artistic and complex that I can’t remember what everything was called.
** I should probably mention, for anyone intending to follow our example, that delightful as this dinner was, it didn’t exactly come cheap. Two four-course ‘Discovery Menus’ accompanied with ‘a glass’ of wine with each course [it was actually only about half a glass] came to ISK 25.500 [USD 418 / GBP 204]. In my opinion the wine was the least value for money – it was fun to try different wines, but we could have easily ordered two bottles for the price they charged. Just FYI.