From Iceland — No, No, No Green Giant

No, No, No Green Giant

Published March 16, 2010

No, No, No Green Giant

A new offering from the owners of Rizzo Pizzeria, Græni Risinn, is rather unremarkable from the outside: a typical Skeifan strip-mall with the establishment’s name marking the building’s façade in bright green lettering. This is a complete disconnect from what patrons are faced with once they’ve made it through the front doors—glossy black walls, blood-red banquette seating along the far wall and six flat-screen televisions broadcasting the music video’s du jour on Nova TV in unison.
While the décor hints that this little eatery fancies itself a nightclub, the menu is all about health. The menu boasts that all the dishes on offer are free of MSG and other flavour enhancing additives and lists such items as salad, wraps, burgers (either vegetarian or chicken—no beef), healthy pizzas and a tandoori and grilled menu.
Looking for something warm and flavourful, I gravitated to the tandoori menu, settling on the Tandoori Chicken on a Spear (1470 ISK), which comes with the soup of the day. Upon asking the cashier what the soup of the day was, he cartoonishly scratched his head, shrugged his shoulders and directed me to the sign by the door to check for myself. It was Persian Vegetable. My date chose a Jordanian Wrap (890 ISK) and the soup of the day (200 ISK when added to a meal, 430 ISK when bought alone).
Then we waited. We watched the music videos on a flat-screen of our choosing, taking in the visuals of Justin Bieber and Rammstein without being able to hear the audio over the chatter of the packed space. We sipped our beverages and read their respective labels—apparently “if it matters [I should] MAX it.™” We mused about how the soup of the day being titled “Persian Vegetable” implies that the Persians consider chicken a vegetable, as the main component floating in the watery and bland broth was chicken meat. Then we began to question how a wrap and a chicken dish could be taking more than a half hour to prepare.
When the food finally arrived it looked promising. The Jordanian Wrap was massive and the Tandoori Chicken, grilled veggies, rice and salad filled the sizeable plate placed in front of me. The promise of the meal withered away and soon became slight disappointment upon discovery that my “tandoori” chicken lacked any flavour or spice and tasted only of blackening from being cooked over a flame grill. The same blackened flavour dominated the grilled vegetables, and the wild rice tasted as though it had been placed on my plate a half hour earlier when my order was first placed and was left to dry out while the other components of the dish were tediously prepared. The saving grace of the dish was the fresh yogurt sauce, in which I dipped my chicken, vegetables and, in haste, even my dry rice. However, once the sauce was depleted, so was my patience for the meal.
My date was less disappointed by his Jordanian Wrap, though the bulk of it was shredded iceberg lettuce and neither of us could understand what made the dish “Jordanian” as it lacked any of the nation’s classic culinary staples—hummus, tabouleh, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. Plus it wasn’t so much a wrap as a loose fold, which spilled its contents when lifted to be eaten. My date’s telling verdict was a neutral “it’s nothing special.”

  • Address: Vatnagörðum 20
  • What we think: Healthy doesn’t have to be so boring.
  • Flavour: Blackened and bland.
  • Ambiance: Wannabe nightclub.
  • Service: Unhelpful and slow.
  • Rating: 2/5
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