I’ve walked past Icelandic Fish & Chips hundreds of times and each and every time I have found myself scoffing at the restaurant’s name. “Fish and chips aren’t an Icelandic thing,” I say to myself and sometimes aloud to whomever I am with at the time. “How ridiculous.”
So when my lunch date and I ventured into the surprisingly spacious eatery at Tryggvagata 8 I felt kinda bad for my pre-judgment as we were greeted by a friendly and personable young woman in an adorable apron and took in a menu boasting of organic this and home-made that, and it struck me that this isn’t the typical greasy stand-by I thought it would be.
After perusing the simple menu my date and I both settled on the fried wolf fish on a bed of mango salad. My date chose rosemary potatoes and chilli skyr dipping sauce (called skyronnaise) on the side of his, while I opted for garlic potatoes and coriander and lime skyr sauce (2.390 ISK for the fish, salad, potatoes and sauce). To drink we ordered a couple of home made ginger and lemon sodas (250 ISK) and helped ourselves to some water.
The food came out quickly and beautifully presented – three large breaded filets of wolf fish atop a salad and sided by golden roasted potatoes. The skyronnaise were brightly coloured in orange and green and served in separate dishes alongside the main plates.
The first thing that struck me about the food on our plates was the breading; it didn’t look deep-fried. One bite confirmed that it was an airy and light crust that was not at all greasy. If the menu hadn’t specified that it was fried I would almost venture to call this a healthy meal. The salad beneath the fish was super refreshing and crisp and I found myself daydreaming about how nice it would be if I could ever find such lovely produce on the shelves of my local Bónus. Oh, how happy I would be.
The potatoes were oilier than the fish but not to the point of leaving puddles of grease on the plate beneath them. The garlic and rosemary flavours of each batch could have stood to be more pronounced, but there was something quaint and home-made tasting about the subtlety. Like the fish, the potatoes were delicious when dipped in the colourful skyronnaise – try the coriander and lime, and then send me and Icelandic Fish and Chips a raving ‘thank you’ note.
The home-made sodas received mixed reviews from my date and I. He thought it wasn’t sweet enough. I found it to be too carbonated for my tongue, though the sweetness level was just fine. Either way, it’s not something I would go back for, however comforting it was to know that my beverage was made without refined sugar or additives.
Icelandic Fish and Chips has taken an artery-clogging, pub-food specialty and turned it into something really lovely and gourmet. My inner monologue will take on a completely different tone when I pass by from now on.
Icelandic Fish and Chips (Tryggvagata 8)
What we think: Awesome fish and chips
Flavour: Home-made, light and surprising
Ambiance: Quaint café
Service: SO nice! Great Apron, too!