From Iceland — Soup And Salad, Lunch Not Dinner

Soup And Salad, Lunch Not Dinner

Words by
Photo by
Alísa Kalyanova

Published October 7, 2014

Kryddlegin Hjörtu

Hverfisgata 22, 101 Reykjavík
Mon-Wed 11.30 - 21.00 Thurs-Sat 11.30 - 23.00 Sun 17.00 - 22.00
What we think
Soup and salad, classic lunch dishes
Westernized harmless Mexican. Mediterranean.
Strange Indian/Far East decor. Laid-back atmosphere.
Mostly self-service, but the service we got was fine.
Price for 2 (no drinks)
5-6,000 ISK

‘Kryddlegin hjörtu’ is the Icelandic translation of the title of Laura Esquivel’s novel ‘Como agua para chocolate’ or, as it is known in English-speaking countries, ‘Like Water for Chocolate.’ The story was made into a feature film, which proved a massive hit in the early ’90s, even reaching the far northern shores of Iceland. The story’s protagonist is a young woman who can only express herself  through her cooking, as her mother forbids her to pursue her love interest, Pedro. Needless to say, the restaurant has a lot to live up to with a name like that.

Kryddlegin hjörtu’s menu is short and concise, which is not a bad thing, as it is clearly aimed at the lunch crowd. In fact, when asking around before our visit, everyone who had gone to Kryddlegin hjörtu agreed that their forte was the lunchtime soup and salad bar. However, we went there for dinner on a Saturday evening.

Given the Mexican origins of the name of the place, my companion and I were expecting something more in the sombrero-wearing department. The menu has a couple of fish courses, a lasagne, and variations on tacos, fajitas and quesadillas, along with some dessert options. Oh, yes, and grilled chicken. My companion chose a combination of tacos and fajitas with spicy ground beef (3,290 ISK) and I chose the aforementioned chicken (2,390 ISK).

Included with every course is a free trip to the soup and salad bar, which we immediately paid a visit. I had the Indian chicken soup, and my companion had the Indian vegan soup, both of which were very flavourful and nicely seasoned. My partner also tried the Mexican soup, which was a bit “suburban.” The salad bar had good freshly baked bread, and wonderful hummus, but was otherwise par for the course.

The main course fajita and taco combo was something of a letdown. The ground beef, grated cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole came in various bowls. The vegetable portion was rather small, but this wasn’t such a big deal with the salad bar there. There also wasn’t enough ground beef for the two taco shells and huge fajitas, but in hindsight, this was maybe not so bad as we more or less had to be rolled out of the place.

The grilled chicken, on the other hand, was spot on. This is a dish that you can mess up quite easily, but the folks at Kryddlegin hjörtu got it right. It looked a bit lonely on the plate, served with little more than a slice of lemon on the side, but this was made up for by the salad bar.

All in all Kryddlegin hjörtu provided us with ample nourishment for the whole weekend. The food was simple, honest and not too expensive and we had a good time listening to salsa arrangements of Beatles songs—but maybe next time we’ll come for lunch, instead.

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