From Iceland — Go To The Bar And Give It A Smakk

Go To The Bar And Give It A Smakk
Photo by
Art Bicnick

I remember vividly the revelation of reading Anthony Bourdains ‘Kitchen Confidential’, and how those Adventures in the Culinary Underbellyare easily relatable in almost any sort of urban environment around the globe. The cursedaddress, for example, where a cloud of failurelooms over failed restaurants and their respective locations. There have been a number of places at the lovely location of Klapparstígur 38—a statuesque two-storey house, with a lovely tarpaulin-covered patio. It used to be a popular Italian place, way back, and I guess people just loved smoking indoors underneath the tarpaulin. Just a guess. But then: the unexpected solution everybody loved. A tiki bar!

Happening kinda place

Bar Ananas has been going strong for roughly four years, and got even stronger when adding a very presentable restaurant on the ground floor; Smakkbarinn. Surf music and Smakk—very ‘Pulp Fiction’, right? Smakk is an Icelandic term, meaning taste.

“There’s whale, dried cod, and even a taste of the famous disgusting shark. No Icelander eats those things, of course”

The idea is for customers to taste various dishes based on Icelandic culinary traditions, in a tapas sort of way. Each dish is presented in a glass and can easily be consumed with a dessert fork or, if actually a dessert, a spoon.

This offers a nice atmosphere for people having a drink—they can enjoy cocktails from the bar upstairs, even utilising happy-\ hour offers until 8pm, prior to, or coinciding with, their meal.  If the mood should strike, Bar Ananas can also be quite a happening kinda placein the post dinner hours.

Local peculiarities

Now, to the food. As I’ve said, every item on the menu is presented in a glass, priced at 600 ISK, with roughly four to six served at a time. This is not written in stone, however. My companion and I were very satisfied after four of those glasses, just to give you an idea. The menu has the four categories of seafood, veggies, meat and sweet, each consisting of seven or eight items.

“But the standout was a lovely and surprising chia falafel served on a salad of lentils.”

We both chose a deep-fried langoustine, served in lettuce alongside a dollop of mayo. The langoustine itself was delicious, the other items not so much—the iceberg lettuce has very little business being there, and a bit of acidity or heat would have really given it a boost. Even just good old tabasco sauce would do wonders. We also had a red beet-cured salmon, which it’s safe to recommend. But the standout was a lovely and surprising chia falafel served on a salad of lentils. My companion chose the bloodier side of things—a minke whale, and a lamb rib-eye. Both were excellent in his humble opinion.

Smakkbarinn isn’t fireworks lighting up the sky, but it’s still good, especially for visitors of this island who maybe want to taste some local peculiarities without spending their whole budget in a single restaurant. There’s whale, dried cod—even a taste of the famous disgusting shark. No Icelander eats those things, of course—except maybe the cod—but it’s a common conception. And that is what counts, right?

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