Published June 22, 2009
In Kópavogur, high up on the nineteenth floor of the Deloitte building, is Nítjánda, the baby of swank chef Sigurður Gíslason. It feels like an event, walking through the automatic turning doors, riding the elevator to the top of the building, and emerging into calm and sleek surroundings, where a well-suited host greets you with much formal circumstance.
My lunch guest and I were seated quickly, and briefly took in the view over the rolling hills and suburbs of Kópavogur before approaching the buffet, which changes themes and offerings on a daily basis. We were presented with a spread of maki rolls, beef, chicken and fish-based dishes, buttery-soft sweet potatoes and pasta. There was also a salad bar featuring two different potato salads, beef chow mein, a tangy tomato chutney, and cream of broccoli soup.
We sampled every dish. Some more than once. Every bite was satisfying and flavoured and seasoned so well that I presume almost all tastes would be met. Stand-outs were the sushi, the rice therein was nicely vinegared, the maki was tightly and neatly rolled and beautifully presented in a thick layer of black sesame seeds; the chicken in honey-garlic sauce, which was surprisingly moist and succulent in a sauce that was neither too sweet nor too garlicky; and the broccoli soup that was creamy and comforting. What’s more, the flavours of all the buffet components worked well alongside one another, nothing competed with or overpowered anything else on the plate – in the case of the fish, which was slightly bland, some competition would have been welcome. Still, it was clear that much thought and planning went into preparing the day’s menu so that everything was complimentary.
Though satisfied with the trips made to the buffet, my companion and I decided it would be unwise to leave Nítjánda without also partaking of the dessert table, which tempted with a fruit platter, spiced apple cake with whipped cream, and a fruity meringue cake. It was all every bit as enjoyable as the savoury offerings had been, but the star of the dessert table was unanimously decided to be the spiced apple cake, the crisp golden top of which contrasted magnificently with the über-moist and delicate centre. We had seconds… but in our defence it was necessary to confirm that the cake would compliment coffee splendidly. And it does.
The food at Nítjánda was intelligent and satisfying and the atmosphere was upscale, but not pretentiously so. This would be a fine venue for dining on special occasions, especially since such impressive views are difficult to come by in the Reykjavík area.
- Nítjánda: Smáratorg 3
- What we think: Smart, subtle, sublime food.
- Rating: 4 out of 5 stars