Located on Austurstræti, in downtown Reykjavík, Thorvaldsen’s Bar is a hip bistro and bar with a relaxed feel. The restaurant offers bar, cafe and dining areas as well as an outdoor seating area.
Averaging out at around 1500 ISK, the starter menu consists of salmon tenderloin, lobster naan pizza, sashimi volcano and Japanese style soft-shell crab. With meticulous presentation and the use of such ingredients as shiitake and enoki mushrooms, wasabe, soy, ginger, Japanese mayonnaise and salmon, the entrée menu is clearly Japanese inspired.
Shortly after taking our place on one of the comfortable couches, the waiter, who was professional and generally attentive, offered us an appetiser of pappadams with mango chutney. Thorvaldsen’s minimalist and stylish approach to interior design, combined with the ambient sound of Air playing in the background, helped to create a trendy and relaxed atmosphere. As with many upper-medium to higher-end restaurants, the menu is as much dedicated to wine as its culinary offerings.
From the Stir-fry and Healthy Meal menu, I chose the hearty Vegetable Hot Balti. At 1,690 ISK, although one of the cheaper meals on the menu, the Balti was satisfying. The interesting mix of baby corn, couscous, rice, mushrooms, Asian greens, carrots and cashews was served in a thick spicy coconut-flavoured curry sauce with a dash of yogurt dressing. The dish was presented in a decorative ceramic pot and was large enough for two.
My friend picked the Tenderloin of beef ’twister’ from the Main Dishes menu which also included the Tuna Fish Tandoori, Filet of Lamb vs. Foie Gras and Monkfish and Smoked Haddock Spring Roll. At 3,690 ISK, the Tenderloin came in at the higher end of the menu and consisted of a well presented stack of beef and potato garnished with herbs and served with crunchy wing bean, watermelon, mushroom, Jerusalem artichoke and crispy bacon. Although my companion raved about the dish, he did mention that the beef was unevenly cooked and would have preferred it well-done.
Thorvaldsen’s regularly changing menu, which also includes an interesting array of soups and salads, focuses heavily on Asian influenced seafood dishes. The tempting dessert menu includes coconut and dragonfruit ice cream.
The restaurant also holds theme days: sushi and sashimi on Sunday and Asia de Cuba fusion cuisine and music on Wednesday evenings.