From Iceland — Hearty Affair

Hearty Affair

Published September 1, 2009

Hearty Affair

Kryddlegin Hjörtu
Skúlagata 17
What we think: Healthier stuffing for low cost
Flavour: Hearty, fresh
Ambiance: Highway-feng shui
Service: friendly
Opened almost exactly a year ago, restaurant Kryddlegin Hjörtu (Spicy Hearts) is currently busy preparing for its first birthday party.
Inside, decoration is heavy on Feng shui, with crystals, mirrors and running waterfalls – a valiant attempt to disguise the drab grey office building.
Outside, it is less serene: on a supremely windy day we watch people fight their way through pizza boxes, rubbish and other random stuff flying through the air.
At dinnertime the restaurant is almost full with hungry tourists enjoying wide views of the storming sea, Mt Esja and the highway.
The menu is a simple, modestly priced vegetarian-omnivore affair. Unlimited soup and salad for 1450 ISK, add another 1000 ISK and you get the catch of the day thrown in too.
Unusual for a ‘stuff yourself to the gills’ kind of place, Kryddlegin Hjörtu emphasises the quality of ingredients, a good proportion of which are organic.
The highlight of the otherwise basic, fresh salad bar was a green apple and grated ginger salad. Deliciously sour, I shall be stealing the idea for home. For dressing we opted for the house drizzles—the basil was good, the coriander not so much. Also on offer was home-baked bread with overly spiced hummus and bright orange garlic butter.
The soup bar had two meat and two vegetarian choices. My friend found the mushroom soup on the thin side and scarce in mushrooms but good in taste, while the organic-red pepper soup was a hit. I tried the peanut-chicken soup, which made for good, hearty fare.
While my vegetarian companion occupied herself with soups and salads, I got stuck into the daily catch. The cod was covered in fresh coriander and the bed of couscous and green beans—with the aid of more butter than I care to think of—melted in the mouth.
For dessert, my friend downed a heart-shaped cupcake with chocolate centre that looked too healthy but tasted acceptably sinful.

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