From Iceland — SIGGI HALL


Published August 5, 2005


Next to the menu on display outside Siggi Hall is a selection of quotes from various illustrious sources: “The food is amazing” (CNN); “Might be worth a trip to Iceland all by itself” (Forbes). It would seem from what is written here that this is one of the greatest places on earth. That’s a lot to live up to.
And although the guidebooks rave, some Icelanders I have spoken to say it’s not as good as it used to be. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between, but far more on the positive side than the negative.
The atmosphere at Siggi Hall is bright and cheerful, yet classy. It’s set in the sunroom of the Hótel Óðinsvé, so there is lots of natural light. The jazz greats are crooning in the background. It’s fine to dress casually, but a bit of effort in the fashion department would not be amiss. This is not a romantic environment; save your marriage proposal for somewhere a bit more intimate. But if you want to celebrate your recent promotion, or just to enjoy a bit of a splurge night out on your last evening in town, this is perfect.
As one would expect from a place this highly rated, the food was of superior standard and creatively presented. The menu features several fish items, and certainly the parmesan-crusted halibut (2900 ISK) was delicious, although my lamb with blueberry sauce (4000 ISK) was also good. The steamed puddings were well worth the 20-minute wait to cook them. One of the most original creations was an amuse bouche of smoked salmon marinated in gin and tonic – a noticeable yet subtle flavour.
Siggi Hall himself, a famous personality within Iceland from his days as a TV chef, is a real presence in his restaurant. He visits each table at least once to chat amiably in various languages. I found his meanderings quite charming.
Siggi Hall has been around a while. Having visited to find out whether it had lost its sheen, this place may not have the thrill of a new experience, but it’s still a strong contender in the Great Reykjavík Restaurant stakes.
Open for dinner only. Closed Mondays.
Reservations recommended but not required.

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