Five days of music in the heart of Reykjavík. Five days of getting sandblasted by arctic winds in a queue of adorable teenagers in waddling up to the balrog in front of the door while trying to hide the bulge of duty free vodka in their impractical trousers. Well, they may have confiscated that vodka but they couldn’t confiscate your will to drink until that Belgian afro-folk-noise collective started to make sense. And now it’s the day after and your body is undergoing a surprisingly thorough and punishing metabolic collapse and your synapses feel like precious conflict minerals in a muddy quarry belonging to a failed African state run by a junta of fiercely motivated fire goblins. You need solids and liquids and you need them fast!
The Greasy Approach
There is more than one way to staple the skin back on a throbbing cat, but the most popular way of curing a hangover is to attack the feeling of dysphoria and regret by giving into every fat-infused urge. It’s what your mind desires and recent studies indicate it may just benefit your body as well.
1. Mamma Steina
Skólavörðustígur 23 (F5)
We at the Grapevine may have sung its praises too much in the past. Don’t go in there expecting a culinary epiphany. It’s basic Icelandic soul food. Meatballs, lamb stew, fish gratin, breaded pork chops.
Pros: Clean place, greasy food
Cons: Some smells may trigger upset stomachs
2. Úrilla Górillan
Austurstræti 12 (E4)
Again, nothing mind-blowing, but they benefit from a small selection of tasty burgers, sandwiches and fried chicken strips (I hate huge menus during recovery) and you can watch a game as you eat and thereby avoid eye-contact with whatever you managed to drag out/home with you.
Pros: Neutral, TVs, moderately greasy
Cons: Might not be in the mood to see a bar ever again
3. Kebab Grill
Lækjargötu 10 (E4)
This is my favourite kebab place in Reykjavík although it doesn’t quite reach the yogurt speckled, chilli-dusted, rotisserie heights that I know kebab can reach, but good enough the day after. Correctly seasoned, good bread, fresh ingredients, selection of strange European fruit sodas at the till.
Pros: Located in a warm and womblike basement
Cons: Service is friendly, but a bit slow sometimes
OTHER NOTABLE CHOICES:
Assorted bowls of noodles
Iceland’s greasy take on the Subway sub
Burger drive-thru. The menu is only in Icelandic
The Healthy(ish) Approach
So, you have decided that your body has taken enough punishment for one day? Maybe you’re a vegematerian, maybe you want to whip up a rudimentary detox before collapsing back into the fray, or maybe you’re simply not in the mood for a stack of processed meat fried in canola?
Templarasund 3 (E4)
Received a slightly under enthused review in our regular food column recently, but we may have been a little hard on them. Bergsson may be the perfect alternative to the greasy hangover meal. It’s a clean, bright and friendly place with a pretty fresh and healthy brunch option along with some tasty soups. Prepare to encounter jams, breads, salads and oven-baked protein. Not sure if they offer any fizzy ginger drinks, but they feel very fizzy and gingery.
This is not strictly speaking 101 Reykjavík, but why not go for a bit of a jog while you’re being all healthy and stuff. Stock up on detox juice, soups, wraps, salads, whole grain, roasted veggies and meals entirely based on the perceived curative properties of the individual ingredients. None of the meals are available in enema-form (yet), but they are sure to cleanse or clench you up real nice (whichever you prefer).
3. Kaffi Loki
Lokastígur 28 (G6)
It’s not particularly healthy, but something about the place feels restorative. Overlooking the church dildo on the hill (probably for beckoning unsuspecting children from the nearby school, am I right!?), it’s brimming with cosy and patriotic dishes. Grab some flatbread with pickled herring, spelt bagel with hard-boiled eggs, quinoa and feta salad or a skyr cake.
OTHER NOTABLE CHOICES:
Sit at the bar with a beet salad or just grab a porridge breakfast
Organic soups and salads
Soups and fresh juices are usually nice in this mediocre safe haven