On the carnivore scale I sit a lot closer to bunny rabbit than T-Rex, infact I’ve thought about going vegetarian but I can’t quite commit to ditching a juicy cheeseburger for a mushroom burger just yet (Food fact #1: I hate mushrooms but really wish I didn’t).
Anyway, when we were in Iceland, my husband was keen to try some of the unusual meats they had there. While I wasn’t that bothered, but still a little curious, we decided to go for Icelandic tapas – a taster of the local cuisine without the full-on commitment of an entire meal of something unfamiliar. As they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do.
We dined at Tapas Barinn in the centre of Reykjavik, a cosy little Spanish-inspired restaurant. We decided to share a tapas set menu – the Icelandic Gourmet Feast – good for curious tourists and indecisive folk like us. The Gourmet Feast consisted of a shot of Brennivin (Icelandic spirit) followed by 7 courses, the first being smoked puffin with blueberry brennivin sauce.
I tried puffin. I can’t remember much about the taste but the texture wasn’t great. And I felt guilty eating it… puffins are kinda cute.
Following the puffin we were presented with some assorted seafood dishes, unsurprisingly seafood is big business in Iceland. We had Icelandic sea trout with peppers-salsa, lobster tails baked in garlic and blue ling with lobster sauce.
Next up was the lamb dish, another popular meat in Iceland. Now, I don’t actually eat lamb but, as I said before – when in Rome (or Reykjavik). I must admit it was really tasty!
The last of our savoury dishes was minke whale with cranberry sauce. I was quite wary of eating whale but I was reassured that the minke whale is not an endangered species. Whale to me was a bit like steak but really salty, I was more interested in the ginger mash it was lying on a bed of (Food fact #2 I love ginger – I think it’s hereditary!).
Saving the best for last, the dessert course! I do have a bit of a sweet tooth so the white chocolate Skyr mousse with passionfruit coulis was of course my favourite dish. Skyr is an Icelandic yogurt that is a big part of Icelandic cuisine, you can’t go to Iceland and not eat Skyr, although it is pretty much just thick yogurt, it makes for a good breakfast or dessert!
So that was our tapas with an Icelandic twist, but what else?
Well in England, where I’m from, fish and chips is a popular dish so we thought we might as well try what Iceland has to offer! The restaurant we ate at was called, unimaginatively, Icelandic Fish and Chips. The fish is so fresh that the menu varies day to day so I can’t quite remember what I ate (I chose it from the menu on the blackboard) but it looked like this-
The chips were more like potato wedges but were pretty good. We also ordered some dips to go with our dishes, including Skyronnaise (it’s that Skyr again!) and of course, the obligatory pot of tomato ketchup.
So if you’re ever in Reykjavik, why not try Spanish style tapas with a twist or British inspired fish ‘n’ chips – all served with fabulous Icelandic flair!