From Iceland — Síam


Published January 11, 2008


The Thai restaurant Síam in Hafnarfjörður has a long history. Although several name and location changes make the trail hard to follow, it has evolved from the restaurant Bangkok which claimed to be the first Thai restaurant in the Nordic Countries, founded in 1985.
The restaurant has recently gone through a change of ownership, and is now in the hands of the owners of the Mexican themed Serrano fast-food chain, which incidentally happens to be my favourite stop for a quick meal. Therefore, I was excited to see how they would approach Thai culinary traditions.
For most Reykjavíkians, Síam faces a giant problem: its location. Situated in Reykjavík’s neighbouring town of Hafnafjörður, it is not somewhere you tend to drop in without making a trip out of it. Obviously, the locals in Hafnarfjörður might reap the benefits, but I am too egocentric to care.
Síam is somewhat cursed with the ‘tweener status. That is, it lies somewhere between being ‘a place to eat’ and an actual restaurant in many respects. The price falls somewhere between what you would expect to pay for fast food, and what you would expect to pay for a meal at a regular restaurant. There are waitresses roaming around taking orders and there is a wine-list, but the setting is more like what you’d expect from you local video rental. Plastic and cheap. It is not a pleasant dining area that invites you to sit for a while and enjoy your company after finishing a meal.
The food, however, is good, and that is what we came for after all. We sampled two different kinds of meat: traditional red curry; and a course called ‘heavenly meat,’ prepared in soya and coriander seeds, which gave it a very sweet and special taste. A surprising course that is highly recommended.
I believe that if Síam paid more attention to its accommodations, dining there would be a truly pleasant experience. But as it is, it falls just short, or, more accurately, somewhere in between pleasant and indifferent.

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