Rauða Húsið (“The Red House”) was built by the powerful and progressive Mrs. Guðmunda Níelsen in 1919 for her retail shop, which was at the time considered the trendiest of its kind in the region.
Ninety years later, after a side step as a fishing equipment factory, the Red House is once again decorated with taste good enough to make it the trendiest of its kind. The setting is relaxed, atmospheric and beautiful: perfect for romantic dinners.
Chef Pétur Andrésson serves lunch and dinner specializing in the sweet south coast lobster and seafood. There is also coffee and cake in the afternoons.
We visited for dinner. As a starter, we shared the combo plate, which came with a cup of lobster bisque, deep-fried lobster tails and chicken liver pâté with sweet apple jam and wafer thin toast (1.990 ISK). The meat of the deep fried tails was juicy, but the crispy coating was a little heavy. The pâté dish was an interesting take upon a classic combination of textures, but less successful in its mix of flavours. We adored the bisque – thick, creamy and hearty – well worth another visit and a bigger bowl. While we kept casting dreamy looks to the big bowls our waitress carried to the other tables, we were pleased to see that everybody got the excellent home-baked bread with almonds, pistachio, herbs and olive oil dip.
For a main course, we had lobster the Red House way (3.400 ISK for 4–5 tails) and oven roasted cod with potato mash and melted butter (2.800 ISK). The lobster was cut open and turned inside out for the meat to sit on top of the shell, a beautiful and practical presentation. The easily accessible meat was delicate and complemented well by a light spicy coating and the tastes of the accompanying lime and buttery dipping sauce.
The dish was heavenly as hell – considering the scarceness of culinary luxuries in Iceland it is a shame that Icelanders only began to eat lobster relatively recently: trawling only started in Eyrarbakki in 1954.
The local staple cod was an excellent piece of fish cooked well, richly dressed in melted butter and served with green beans and mashed potato – a generous portion that would satisfy a fisherman twice my size.
For dessert, we fought over the volcano inspired hot chocolate soufflé (1290 ISK), but the fruit salad, ice cream, whipped cream and raspberries were an unnecessary excess of good things on the plate. Just like the diminutive Icelandic lobster, sometimes less is more
- Where: Rauda Husid, Buðarstigur 4, Eyrarbakka
- Web: www.raudahusid.is
- What we think: Pretty house, brilliant lobster