Matartíminn is a series of pop-up events orchestrated by Dill, Iceland’s first Michelin star restaurant, and Kex Hostel. Each event takes place in a new and non-traditional location—at an upcoming event, food will be cooked over an open fire on a river island. The most recentnight was relocated back to Dill, for unknown reasons—not that I’m complaining about a seat at a restaurant with a two-month waiting list.
Matartíminn is aimed squarely at foodies who don’t sweat splashing £200-300 on a meal with wine pairings—although you’d be hard-pressed to find a seven-course meal with booze for less in Reykjavík these days. The fifth installment was staged by Ragnar Eiríksson of Dill in collaboration with Faroese wine wunderkind Solfinn Danielsen, of Copenhagen winery Rødder & Vin. Solfinn was there to guide guests through a range of natural wines to complement the ingredients, dragged sparkling from the darkness of the North Atlantic, or dug muddied from the waves of tussock hummocks.
Cloudy and lactic
The journey began with a delicate variation on a traditional herb-crusted Arctic char. The fish was lightly cured with a dusting of herbs, as opposed to the usual coarse layer of dill, further accentuated by a light cucumber sauce and a glass of sharp SomnamBulles from micro-winery Gar ‘o’ vin. This transitioned smoothly to the smoked haddock with skyr potato mash, complemented marvellously by a cloudy and lactic Escargot chardonnay.
The lightly-salted cod chins (“gellur”) came apart in strands thick as piano strings, served with a “spaghetti” of raw rutabaga and “sea-truffles”—a seaweed resembling carrageen moss. The Andalusian bubbly white with discrete fruit and distinct minerality, veering into a dry apple cider, was the perfect bridge between the cod and earthy root vegetable. The wolffish had been dried and shredded until the texture resembled rousong pork floss, then draped like cotton clouds over malted barley. This was paired with a lemon-colored Gérard Schueller Cuvee Particuliere, an uncharacteristically sour Alsatian wine with notes of elderflower and honeydew.
The last of the savoury dishes was a lamb with fermented fennel. The lamb wore its free range lifestyle on its woolen sleeve like that annoying friend on Instagram with his nonstop #fitspo-tagged mountain views. It sported an expertly charred crust enveloping the pink interior, and came colour-coordinated with the cherry-tinged Thierry Hesnault Pinot d’Aunis.
The next wine was Solfinn’s favorite—a slightly bitter and salty gamay from Francois Dhumes. This was paired with the most divisive course of the evening: a beet sorbet with a crisp of meringue dusted with anise-flavored powder and brown cheese pudding. Interestingly, the response was neatly divided along gender lines, with the women being less welcoming of the strange sorbet.
Finally, we were greeted with a grassy rhubarb with whey ice cream and dry sponge cake. This was paired with a small barrel Xarab wine from Barranco Oscuro, sweetened naturally by running it through three seasonal cycles—acidic for a dessert wine, with a rusty color and visible sediment, and an aftertaste of prunes and ancho chiles.
The emerging themes for the night were carnivore proteins being given a less central role, and a keen appreciation of acids in preference to the usual fat and salt. All in all, Matartíminn offered a thoroughly contemporary approach to Nordic cuisine, and is a must-attend for all serious Reykjavík foodies with the time and funds to spare.
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