The Grapevine’s food critic was recently challenged, by a clown no less, to find dolphin on the menu of an Icelandic restaurant. His reasoning was that while the locals are nonchalant about eating whale, they might think twice about scarfing down the cuter and sillier sea mammals that most people associate with theme parks and children’s TV. In fact, they are often nicknamed “clowns of the sea.” Not wanting to shrink from the challenge, The Grapevine’s intrepid staff made some phone calls and arranged to take the jester out for raw dolphin at Tveir Fiskar.
As it turns out, raw dolphin carpaccio is really quite good. It was prepared just like the more traditional beef variety, and the combination of flavours was exciting but not as ‘different’ as one might expect. The other starter, a bouillabaisse seafood soup, was good but a bit on the greasy side. This is a definite trend in Icelandic seafood cuisine of late, but excessive oil can sometimes make a soup too demanding to properly serve as a starter.
Our main courses were salted fish (bacalao) in almond and parmigiano crust with tomato vinaigrette, and lobster in garlic, respectively. The fish was quite different from what Icelanders think of when you say salted fish – and that is a very good thing indeed. The dish had a pronounced Mediterranean feel. The lobster, or langoustine for the purists, was served ‘the old way’, according to the menu. That consists of garlic butter, various unnamed spices, and bread. Considering the ingredients and the class of the restaurant, the result was unsurprisingly delicious.
The skyr tiramisu didn’t seem to contain a lot of skyr, but was still a damn fine dessert. The chocolate soufflé with mango sorbet was equally impressive. The only problem with the restaurant is the way the main dining area is set up. When you first arrive you are seated in an extremely comfortable environment with comfortable couches, a well-stocked bar and even artificial northern lights shining above. You can in fact choose to remain there until your dinner arrives, but once you move into the dining area the contrast becomes apparent. That minor gripe aside, Tveir Fiskar is a great place to get expertly prepared, fresh fish.