From Iceland — Jómfrúin


Published November 3, 2006


Imagine Danish cuisine in all its glory. Then imagine a trimmings-heaven where you can choose all the meat and garnish you could ever dream of, piled atop of a slice of rye-bread. Add a bit of friendly service and Icelandic quality ingredients and you’ll get the roomy and charming restaurant Jómfrúin at Lækjargata, the only place to get traditional Danish smørrebrød (open sandwiches) in Reykjavík.
With its 11:00 to 18:00 opening hours the major rush hour is during lunch. Then it seems like all the working residents downtown meet to eat their lunch. When my companion and I arrived at one o’clock in the afternoon, the place was at least packed. Every table was fully seated with locals feasting on yummy bread with all sorts of spreads or the warm lunch dishes offered every day. The diverse menu consisted of various desirable courses, such as frikadeller with onion, biksemad, fish dishes, as well as the obligatory smørrebrød with salmon, herring, eel, ham and roasted lamb as examples of delicious meals cooked and prepared in an old-fashioned Danish style. After carefully scouting the endless selection, my companion ordered the pastrami sandwich. I was so confused by all the choices I allowed the nice waiter to make the pick.
After bringing us two shots of Danish akvavit (a traditional Scandinavian schnapps) along with large Danish beers to satisfy our thirst, only appropriate for the big Danish meal awaiting us, the waiter arrived with large, hearty plates of bread and trimmings. My fried plaice served on rye bread with tartar sauce, smoked salmon and caviar, shrimp, asparagus and lemon to give it an extra decoration, was especially delicious and I instantly understood why it’s the most popular dish on the menu. My companion was equally satisfied with his pastrami, which came on white bread with smoked and marinated beef, sauerkraut, Dijon mustard and fresh herbs. A precise proportion to satisfy the afternoon hunger, the meal was not only delicious but fully competitive with the standards set by the pristine Danish food tradition. SJ

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