Culture
Food
No, No, No Green Giant

No, No, No Green Giant

Published March 16, 2010

A new offering from the owners of Rizzo Pizzeria, Græni Risinn, is rather unremarkable from the outside: a typical Skeifan strip-mall with the establishment’s name marking the building’s façade in bright green lettering. This is a complete disconnect from what patrons are faced with once they’ve made it through the front doors—glossy black walls, blood-red banquette seating along the far wall and six flat-screen televisions broadcasting the music video’s du jour on Nova TV in unison.
While the décor hints that this little eatery fancies itself a nightclub, the menu is all about health. The menu boasts that all the dishes on offer are free of MSG and other flavour enhancing additives and lists such items as salad, wraps, burgers (either vegetarian or chicken—no beef), healthy pizzas and a tandoori and grilled menu.
Looking for something warm and flavourful, I gravitated to the tandoori menu, settling on the Tandoori Chicken on a Spear (1470 ISK), which comes with the soup of the day. Upon asking the cashier what the soup of the day was, he cartoonishly scratched his head, shrugged his shoulders and directed me to the sign by the door to check for myself. It was Persian Vegetable. My date chose a Jordanian Wrap (890 ISK) and the soup of the day (200 ISK when added to a meal, 430 ISK when bought alone).
Then we waited. We watched the music videos on a flat-screen of our choosing, taking in the visuals of Justin Bieber and Rammstein without being able to hear the audio over the chatter of the packed space. We sipped our beverages and read their respective labels—apparently “if it matters [I should] MAX it.™” We mused about how the soup of the day being titled “Persian Vegetable” implies that the Persians consider chicken a vegetable, as the main component floating in the watery and bland broth was chicken meat. Then we began to question how a wrap and a chicken dish could be taking more than a half hour to prepare.
When the food finally arrived it looked promising. The Jordanian Wrap was massive and the Tandoori Chicken, grilled veggies, rice and salad filled the sizeable plate placed in front of me. The promise of the meal withered away and soon became slight disappointment upon discovery that my “tandoori” chicken lacked any flavour or spice and tasted only of blackening from being cooked over a flame grill. The same blackened flavour dominated the grilled vegetables, and the wild rice tasted as though it had been placed on my plate a half hour earlier when my order was first placed and was left to dry out while the other components of the dish were tediously prepared. The saving grace of the dish was the fresh yogurt sauce, in which I dipped my chicken, vegetables and, in haste, even my dry rice. However, once the sauce was depleted, so was my patience for the meal.
My date was less disappointed by his Jordanian Wrap, though the bulk of it was shredded iceberg lettuce and neither of us could understand what made the dish “Jordanian” as it lacked any of the nation’s classic culinary staples—hummus, tabouleh, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Plus it wasn’t so much a wrap as a loose fold, which spilled its contents when lifted to be eaten. My date’s telling verdict was a neutral “it’s nothing special.”

  • Address: Vatnagörðum 20
  • What we think: Healthy doesn’t have to be so boring.
  • Flavour: Blackened and bland.
  • Ambiance: Wannabe nightclub.
  • Service: Unhelpful and slow.
  • Rating: 2/5


Culture
Food
As Icelandic As The Wind And Rain

As Icelandic As The Wind And Rain

by

Is there any Icelandic culinary tradition to speak of? This is a question I’ve often struggled with. Some of our more “traditional” dishes might be rooted in Nordic culture—as our Scandinavian neighbours seem to have similar ones—but most of what gets called “traditional Icelandic food” these days was simply created out of chance or necessity. Smoked lamb (“hangikjöt”), for example, only became popular in the late 19th/early 20th century, after failed attempts by Icelandic farmers to breed sheep for exporting purposes. Suddenly Icelanders had an overabundance of lamb meat to contend with, and the only way to keep it edible

Culture
Food
Gothic Wolffish Cheeks in JaJaJaland

Gothic Wolffish Cheeks in JaJaJaland

by

A relentlessly cheerful Icelandic pop musician and a brooding Finnish wunderkind of the Nordic food scene (and former keyboardist for goth rock band HIM) traverse Iceland to source ingredients for an intimate banquet in a nondescript apartment to promote a music festival in London. The festival is called JaJaJa, a pan-Nordic music festival featuring the best and the brightest of the Nordic music scene, held November 13-15 in London’s Mile End. The festival will culminate in a Nordic food feast sprung from the loins of chef Antto Melasniemi and singer Emilíana Torrini, a feast conceived on an Icelandic road trip

Culture
Food
Party Fuel: Your Late Night Eating Guide!

Party Fuel: Your Late Night Eating Guide!

by

It’s Friday, 2:52 in the morning, you’re stumbling out of Hafnarhús after dancing your ass off to The Knife’s last show, and that means you have worked up a crazy appetite. But you’re in Reykjavík: where shops open at 11:00, the liquor store closes at 18:00 and the fastest food you’ll get takes at least ten minutes to serve. Regardless, you need some salty greasy goodness in your belly before you get to bed, or tomorrow is going to be rough! These Airwaves-venue-adjacent eateries should help you hit the spot. The Deli Bankastræti 14 Open until 2:00 on Thursday, 6:00

Culture
Food
A Bucolic Brew

A Bucolic Brew

by

While the drive through the north of Iceland may not offer as diverse an array of neck-craning scenery as the south, its serenity is unparalleled. This much was obvious on the Saturday evening that I set off for Skagafjörður, in search of the Gæðingur microbrewery, where some of Iceland’s finest craft beers are made. Once I turn off Route 1 and meander farther north, scarcely any cars pass. One of the few drivers that ends up in front of me is content to cruise squarely in the middle of the road, drifting over to the right lane only when absolutely

Culture
Food
Soup And Salad, Lunch Not Dinner

Soup And Salad, Lunch Not Dinner

by

‘Kryddlegin hjörtu’ is the Icelandic translation of the title of Laura Esquivel’s novel ‘Como agua para chocolate’ or, as it is known in English-speaking countries, ‘Like Water for Chocolate.’ The story was made into a feature film, which proved a massive hit in the early ’90s, even reaching the far northern shores of Iceland. The story’s protagonist is a young woman who can only express herself  through her cooking, as her mother forbids her to pursue her love interest, Pedro. Needless to say, the restaurant has a lot to live up to with a name like that. Kryddlegin hjörtu’s menu

Culture
Food
Everybody Loves Ramen

Everybody Loves Ramen

by

This spring, Tsering Gyal and Kun Sung opened Ramen Momo, Iceland’s first Tibetan restaurant (although it should be noted that it’s not Iceland’s first Himalayan restaurant, which is the Nepalese restaurant Kitchen). Incidentally, Ramen Momo is also Iceland’s first dedicated ramen and dumpling place, which is some impressively specialised stuff for a country that has yet to see its first proper Mexican restaurant. Ramen Momo is located in the building that used to house Paul’s, a fancy English sandwich shop, and before that, Café Haiti, which has since moved to the teal boathouses by the marina. So this tiny hole-in-a-wall

Show Me More!