Friðrik Val Karlsson is a man who keeps his friends close, and his food closer. The 36-year-old chef, an Akureyri native, founded the restaurant with his wife Arnrún on his 31st birthday, and it has since been his professional playground. The name, of course, is wordplay, touching on the fact that the chef’s name is Friðrik, and this is his fifth restaurant. The pun truly outdoes itself with the fact that Frederik V was the King of Denmark-Norway between 1746-1766, because at Friðrik V (the restaurant), you can eat like a king.
For starters we ordered cream of lobster and shrimp soup with parmesan and avocado oil and some monkfish carpaccio with arugula and grana padano cheese. For the wait, Arnrún, our waitress, brought over a basket of bread, deliciously soft, and an equally palatable homemade tapenade, made of black and green olives, sundried tomatoes and herbs in olive oil. Then the starters came; the former, served with a ceramic spoon to “offset the flavour”, was whipped but had an almost bulky flavour until I discovered the fresh shrimp on the bottom, which gave the dish a lighter tone. The carpaccio absolutely outdid it, though. Its cold fresh taste was so pure that it was almost ethereal.
To keep our attention, the Friðrik family brought out another surprise for the wait for the main course, a rhubarb sorbet in a wine glass topped with Pop Rocks, that Arnrún seemed to enjoy serving as much as we enjoyed consuming.
The main courses were a seafood gratin with cheese in bianco sauce and an oven-baked rack of lamb with fondan potato in an herb broth. The gratin was a happy mingling of four or five seafood samples in a slightly sweet broth that kept the dish warm and gave it a honey overtone. The lamb, an elegant spin on the classic meat-and-potatoes, melted in your mouth, perfectly done. Just… perfect.
Dessert came in the form of a warm chocolate pudding with raspberry sauce, and local farmhouse ice cream from Holtsel in Eyjafjörður, presented and prepared with as much glamour as any of the main dishes. At the end of the meal, I could barely walk out. I just wanted to go back to my castle and take a long nap.
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