Lighthouses And Crossroads
Stígurs and the restaurants named for them
If somebody were to name a restaurant after me, I’d expect nothing short of perfection. The service would always be friendly and professional, the décor would be timelessly chic, the chefs would all be world-renowned and it would be the first restaurant in history to be granted five Michelin stars. I’d have to be proud to see my name on said restaurant. See, you can’t name an entire establishment after somebody or something without really striving to do that somebody or something justice. If your restaurant is shitty you’re implying that so to is that for which it has been named after. And if the person or thing you are borrowing the name of is a dirt bag or piece of garbage, then it is similarly your duty to class up the joint and do good by your moniker’s inspiration. This week the Grapevine checked out two Reykjavík eateries that borrow their names from the very streets on which they operate – have they done their stígurs proud?
Vegamótastígur is a pretty decent stígur. Forming a T-intersection with Laugavegur just two blocks east of Skólavörðustígur, it’s got Reykjavík’s best place to buy books (according to this here publication) at one end, another book store at the other end and its very own name-sake restaurant—Vegamót—right in the middle. Vegamót means ‘crossroads’ or ‘junction’, though the street crosses no other roads and the restaurant doesn’t sit at any junction. Ah well.
Vegamót is a nice looking little place from the outside, and the inside follows suit, with amber coloured walls, a rusted out metal chandelier and a second level that overlooks the first. When my date and I took a stroll over to Vegamótastígur it was characteristically bustling and we were lucky to secure a first-floor table by one of the long, thin windows that line the southern wall of the building.
After making some default comments along the lines of “oh man, this place is always packed!” my date and I perused the menu and settled on the Masaman Curry Chicken (1690 ISK) from the daily specials menu for him and the Wrap á la Vegamót (1690 ISK)—a meal named after a restaurant named after a street!?!—for me.
The Masaman Curry Chicken, with chicken (obviously), peppers, mushrooms and broccoli served over rice, came streaming hot and fragrant. It was a vibrant orange, the serving was plentiful, and once it cooled down enough to take a bite my date’s reaction was decidedly positive. It was a tasty and sweet curry and nicely presented; he scarfed it down happily. But when I took a bite something about it was reminiscent of a jar of Uncle Ben’s sauce.
Personally, I was much more pleased with my Wrap á la Vegamót, stuffed full of chicken, cucumber, tomato, onion, peppers, lettuce, shredded mozzarella and garlic sauce and served with a side of fries. I’m a fan of most things wrapped in a tortilla, but this was particularly nice. The garlic sauce was more subtle than overwhelming, so the components of the wrap were individually decipherable and didn’t just taste like garlic. The combination of raw vegetables, cooked chicken and a cool, light sauce added up to a really fresh and tasty bite. The fries on the side were also delish – thick-cut and crisp, but not too crisp.
- Vegamót Vegamótstígur 4, tel. 511 – 3040
- What we think: Does its street proud
- Flavour: Mixed bag, but overall pretty good
- Ambiance: chic and cosy
- Service: patient and bubbly
- Rating: 3.5/5