From Iceland — Food Review: Bergsson Is A Place To Enjoy, Slowly

Food Review: Bergsson Is A Place To Enjoy, Slowly

Words by
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Published October 24, 2015

Bergsson Mathús

Templarasund 3, 101 Reykjavík
Every day, 07:00-19:00
What we think
Healthy, slow food.
Continental, fresh herbs, deep broths.
Laid back, positive, bright.
Professional, personal, smiling, pleasing.
Price for 2 (no drinks)
3-6,000 ISK (very fair)

While not the first of its kind in Reykjavík, the appearance of Bergsson Mathús clearly signalled the arrival of something different—a shift in Icelanders’ food culture. Essentially a breakfast and lunch spot, which also serves terrific brunch during weekends, Bergsson places great emphasis on local ingredients, slow cooking, slow eating, fair prices… Basically, they want to offer a food experience for people who appreciate food.

Bergsson is located next to the Parliament building, close to the pond, at a location where one might not expect to find a quality restaurant. However, the basement location is surprisingly bright and spacious, with large windows facing the Parliament garden’s walls. My companion and I took our lunch there on a fairly busy Monday, with roughly half the seats taken.

The lunch menu consists of a meat dish of the day, catch of the day, and soup of the day, along with the ever present vegetable lasagne and vegan salad. Fresh, locally baked bread is served with every dish, and make no mistake: it is very delicious and very filling. So beware, it is very easy to lose oneself at Bergsson, feasting on delicious bread and homemade hummus.

Bergsson ARt Bicnick

For lunch, my companion chose the vegetable lasagne and salad (1,990 ISK), while I went for the soup and catch of the day: a sweet potato soup with ginger and lemon (1,390 ISK) and pan-fried ling with a lovely paste of sun-dried tomatoes and olives (2,290 ISK). The lasagne was well presented, covered in sun-dried tomato paste. The main ingredient was spinach, and the pasta sheets themselves were perfectly cooked. The paste could have done with a bit more seasoning, or maybe just a touch of fresh herbs and lemon, which would have breathed life into the dish. The salad was plentiful and original, with pineapple slices and fresh mint, shaved carrots and a bounty of perfectly cooked beetroot. Well above average.

The sweet potato soup was of a nice consistency, colourful and vibrant. I would have preferred a touch more seasoning, and the ginger could have been a bit more prominent in the dish. Regardless, the soup was very nice. The ling was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and white and flaky at the centre. The lovely tomato paste that accompanied was the fish was a treat—however, the fish was in fact so fresh that no sauce was needed. The ling was accompanied by “bygotto” (barley risotto). While Bergsson’s take on byggotto was tasty and well prepared, the side is starting to feel a bit overused in the Icelandic culinary scene, especially as a side with seafood. However, the catch of the day was overall great, and well worth the price.

Art Bicnick

Although Bergsson serve up some very nice tea and coffee, along with pastries and cakes that looked tempting as hell, we managed to resist dessert this time around.

Bergsson is a place for sitting and enjoying, a place where time and space are not of the greatest concern.

And, oh yeah, here’s a protip for you: For those who can swing by after work, there is a great 2-for-1 deal on takeaway meals, so nothing ever goes to waste. Brilliant!

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