From Iceland — TWO TIMES A FISH


Published December 3, 2004


Tveir fiskar is not particularly conspicuous in the Reykjavik restaurant flora. It almost reminds one of a mythical place that everyone has heard of but no one has actually seen, like Valhalla or Legoland. We were therefore pleasantly surprised when an almost full dining hall greeted us when we arrived. There were only two of us this time around. Our editor was occupied somewhere else, although he didn’t want to tell us where. Our guesses were that is was either an AA or OA meeting (they should combine the two, it would save me time –ed.). Judging by the chatter on the nearby tables, most of our fellow diners were foreigners. We couldn’t help but wonder if there were any over-sensitive Greenpeace-types among them, as the menu read like a who’s who of cute and/or allegedly nearly extinct animals: Dolphin, puffin, whale, etc.
We were seated by a window with a lovely view of the Reykjavik harbour. An added bonus was the fact that a makeshift drive-in theatre was operating in the docks area, where the award-winning shorts from the Nordisk Panorama film festival were being shown. The flickering visuals of Rúnar Rúnarsson’s very entertaining The Last Valley were a nice compliment to the lovely meal ahead. Since one of us has an almost fanatical interest in smoking facilities, we decided to investigate that matter further. Unlike some other places we have visited, smokers aren’t relegated to an attic or an alley. The bar/smoking area was close to the dining hall and had a comfortably dark and cosy vibe. Sitting there, we almost felt like Miles, or even Judy Davis.
When we returned, the astoundingly gorgeous waiters, Kristján and Einar, started bringing us the increasingly delicious dishes. After a fresh and pleasant assortment of shrimp and shellfish and smoked puffin on a savoury mustard pears chutney, our waiter introduced “our smallest dish”. It took us an embarrassingly long time to get the joke, even after the giant scallops and shellfish were on the table. Any embarrassment was quickly forgotten, however, when we sunk our teeth into the deliciously juicy and tender scallops. Next up was a taster of the salmon and marinade gills dishes, but the undisputed highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the roasted monkfish with wild mushrooms and port wine balsamic glaze. Mind-numbingly delicious and the Italian white wine we drank with the meal was exceptionally smooth and pleasant. The service was also very well balanced: The waiters were cheerful and attentive rather than aggressively obtrusive.
After a refreshing dessert of sorbets and chocolate soufflé we retired to the lounge for a cup of espresso so potent that the less caffeine-addicted of us had to to lay awake all night, listening to his old Best of Marillion CD. In the morning, when he was finally able to sleep, he dreamt of both fish and Fish. A splendid time is guaranteed for all: Two fish up.

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