From Iceland — Humarhúsið


Published September 7, 2007


Humarhúsið is one of those restaurants where buffoons like myself find themselves at a terrible loss when it comes to figuring out how exactly one is supposed to commence eating any course that doesn’t require a spoon. Faced with the task of digging into a plate of “Lobster & fillet of arctic char w/five herb broth” – all stacked up in a sort of weirdly fascinating architectural achievement – I fumbled about with my fork for several minutes before giving up and reverting to table manners best reserved for Happy Meals. As the restaurant was empty, my sole source of embarrassment was the highly professional waiter who came by in perfectly timed intervals to fill my glass with water.
The lobster was cooked to perfection; its tender texture and subtle taste offering glimpses of freedom from the cold and rainy Monday reality just outside our window. The chef’s handling of the arctic char was likewise timed to perfection, with the skin crispy and the flesh satisfyingly loose, yet firm. Underneath the tower of fish and vegetables one could find some sort of potato stew that didn’t add anything to the meal (except in terms of the height of the stack itself), but didn’t draw away from it either. It was a satisfying course, which could have only been improved by a glass of some dry white wine (alas, the responsible writer never drinks at lunchtime).
The starter soup was less impressive. While it was aesthetically pleasing and quite OK in the taste department, the ginger and coconut infused vegetable cream sorely lacked bite. It was a dull soup, perhaps best described as a liquid version of actor Bill Pullman or the music of Coldplay.
Humarhúsið does have a reputation as an expensive restaurant, and certainly their dinner options are well out of reach for the average instant noodle-munching student or traveller. However, their lunch menu, both lavish and luxurious, is modestly priced in terms of the service, atmosphere and fresh ingredients at hand – a course will set you back 2,000 ISK. Compare that to any of the bistro’s in the 101 area, where the price of a dish averages at 1,100–1,400 ISK, and you will find that an extra 900 isn’t much in exchange for skilfully cooked fresh ingredients, which you can feast on in a classically luxurious and comfortable setting. HM

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