Located on the corner of Austurstræti and Pósthússtræti, Apótek restaurant draws its name from a pharmacy that previously occupied the ground level of the building for over 70 years.
The restaurant’s interior blends a modern and minimalistic look with the older, more Baroque style of the preserved interiors of the old pharmacy in a sophisticated manner, suggesting the care taken in the overall design of the place. The kitchen is located off to one side of the dining area, behind a capacious glass wall, allowing guests to follow the kitchen’s affairs.
The dining area is spacious and open, perhaps too open, as the murmur of chatting patrons intensifies to a roar during the busy hours. Matters were not helped by pop music blasting from the speakers above.
The staff is eager to serve. After ordering from the menu, I asked to keep a copy to study it a little closer, and during a five-minute span, no less than three different waiters asked if I would like to order. The menu is based around fusion cuisine, heavily inspired by Japanese flavours, with a selection of sushi available. Main courses range from 2,500-5,000 ISK. The wine selection is quite extensive, with prices ranging from a modest 3,000 ISK up to the heftier tag of 20,000 ISK.
My companion and I opted for the four-course shared meal for 5,900 ISK, selected by the chef. It opened with grilled scallops with miso sauce, flavoured with yuzu and koshuu spice. The scallops were perfectly prepared, tender and lightly peppered, just on the right side of being raw.
The second starter was a kangaroo tataki with shiitake mushrooms. The meat was good, lightly grilled with a hint of ginger. Unfortunately, the shiitake mushrooms, were in fact just one mushroom, which we shared. The main course consisted of a lamb fillet with sesame, ginger, carrots and cumin. The lamb was a tad undercooked for my taste, but delicious all the same. The dessert was the high point of evening. The heavenly taste of the coconut-flavoured sorbet and the chocolate cake left me wanting more.
Apotek serves good food, but its atmosphere is not that of a restaurant, but rather that of a meeting place for people looking for good food on their way out for night on the town.