From Iceland — HORST TAPAS


Published August 20, 2004


On a hot and sultry day like this it is particularly appropriate to enjoy a round of Tapas. The only restaurant in Reykjavik specialising in this Spanish culinary delight is Tapas Bar, located in the cellar of Vesturgata 3b. The central location makes it an ideal place to visit after spending a sunny afternoon in Austurvöllur, which is exactly what Grapevine did on this hot August evening. We elected to sit outside, although a decidedly un-Spanish evening gust was starting to make its presence felt in downtown Reykjavík. Being young, adventurous and obese, we decided to select the chef’s choice of a large selection of small dishes. We didn’t have to wait very long before the dishes began to arrive, one by one. Among the delicious and often exotic-looking delicacies on offer were scallops, baked salted cod (the strongest economic and culinary link between Spain and Iceland), almond roasted trout with bananas, meatballs with romesco sauce, grilled pork and roasted crabs (delicious, although for the editor they brought back uncomfortable memories of his unfortunate bout with crab lice in the late 90’s)(not true, I didn´t even get to have sex in the late 90´s –ed.). The spices and sauces were savoury, but always played Garfunkel to the main ingredients’ Simon.
For dessert we had the most exotic item we could find on the menu: Baked goat cheese with jam, honey and crisp bread. We were not quite sure what to do with the honey but the goat cheese was delicious, although its taste was a little too reminiscent of the smell in the goat shack in the Reykjavik farm animal zoo. Perhaps a bit like having sex with someone who reminds you of a close relative.
While we ate, we discussed the effects of weather on national character and the Icelandic national character in particular. Our waiter, who turned out to be Portuguese, had various things to say on the matter. Icelanders, he said, are willing to accept any indignity from their government, but if they get cold coffee with their dessert they demand loudly to get the whole meal for free. We couldn’t help but be a little concerned for him, as he chatted with us for several minutes outside in the evening breeze while holding a half-full pot of cooling and potentially rampage-inducing coffee. However, no cold coffee frenzies resulted that particular evening. Perhaps it will be safe to give us beer coolers. Any year now.

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