From Iceland — Adjusted Expectations: Hits And Misses At Kröst

Adjusted Expectations: Hits And Misses At Kröst

Published August 16, 2019

Adjusted Expectations: Hits And Misses At Kröst
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Small in size, but delivering on content, there’s plenty to choose from at the Hlemmur Mathöll—Neapolitan pizzas, Mexican tacos and even a Michelin Bib gastropub. Kröst, a grill and wine bar, stands in good company.

Bustling and jovial, the atmosphere at the food hall is usually festive. But sometimes, one might seek their own little island amidst the conviviality. It is a thoughtful detail then, that the seating at Kröst is designed for an intimate bar-side experience; the seating is both ergonomic and comfortable. You’ll appreciate this detail once you’ve struggled to get out of the benches flanking the tables throughout the rest of the food hall.

Bubbly bubbles

Kröst’s popular bubbly happy hour might be reason enough to quit work early for a daily aperitif. A glass or small bottle of mainstream Drappier and Bollinger, to non-vintage houses like Louis Roederer alongside Proseccos and Rosés are attractively priced between 1,200 ISK to 3,000 ISK.

I particularly like their selection of reds, often bordering on full bodied mature wines. If ‘lighter’ is how you roll, then the garnet hued, berry rich 2015 Château Bois Pertuis Bordeaux punches above its bracket at just 1790 ISK.

At dinner recently, I discovered a long finished summer white from Chavy-Chouet (2,190 ISK), a 2017 Bourgogne Les Femelottes—the 100% Chardonnay’s buttery smoothness pairs pleasantly with the simply grilled salmon (3,480 ISK). The rich, crisp acidity of the wine plays off nicely with the fresh cucumber salsa and together they make for a winning summer dish.

Spare the burger

Kröst has long advertised its penchant for burgers and bubbly. Alliteration and bubbly they nail, burgers, not so much. Popularised as the Krösti (2,490 ISK, add-ons additional), and now offered in three variants—vegan, meat and Keto—they are uniformly off the mark with alarming consistency.

The meat burger is uninspiring, even if the patty was cooked to a nice medium rare. The house ketchup is savoury and has a kick. The potatoes are an ever-changing formula; it could be fry short ends, or whole baby potatoes/ spuds spuds or even crisps. Pickles are, sadly, amiss.

The worst offender, though, is the Vegan Krösti, advertised as a patty with caramelised onions and apple salad, both curiously absent from the served dish. The patty itself is lacklustre—cracked, dry lake bed like surface, with the same desolate dusty air about it. Where their patty once held a little grain for bite and black bean for heft, it is now one-note, and textured for a toothless babe.

I’d either revisit the old recipe or take a leaf out of KFC’s veggie patty offered overseas—chock full of assorted veggies held together with potatoes and cooked to a shattering crunch.

Adjusted expectations

Kröst’s menu is designed for optimum wine quaffing satisfaction. It’s been my experience that the suggested pairings on the menu are sound as the staff recommendations may be a hit or miss depending on the server. The clearly spelled suggestions also take out the guesswork, making an outing at Kröst enjoyable for both the show-off wine aficionado and the greenhorn.

Keep in mind that Kröst will knock your socks off only occasionally. It clearly holds itself to higher standards, evidenced by their full fledged wine selection. And in the present Reykjavík restaurant climate, to quote Jay Rayner, it’s more of a recommendation than it may seem.

Info: Kröst, Visit the restaurant at the Hlemmur Mathöll, Laugavegur 107, and online at

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