Night two of my weekend film festival: an older film from one of my favourite filmmakers, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s ‘Syndromes And A Century’. The film evolves in two parts, with the same events repeated in each part against opposing backdrops. This seemed quite appropriate for the second evening of my miniature Thai film festival. And like the film, the cuisine of Núðluhúsið offers a contrasted backdrop to the previous evening of stunning colours and aroma.
Núðluhúsið is a bit of guilty indulgence of mine, and a secret Sunday evening haunt amongst a small circle of my friends. You see, we learned a secret a while back: Núðluhúsið cures hangovers. After a weekend of debauchery, we would collect there to piece together the previous night(s), well hidden from those we might have spent the previous night with, auspiciously perched above Laugavegur. Then, with just a few bites of the Pad Thai, the most wicked of benders is all but a fractured memory. But it has been many moons since the days of being wild, and the greasy noodles of Núðluhúsið beckoned despite my teetotalled state.
Núðluhúsið is serendipitously located up a flight of spiral stairs above the Bónus supermarket on Laugavegur, and like Bónus, Núðluhúsið shares the hallmarks of value. For the cost of a beer or two, 1.300 ISK is the most one would pay for any dish on the menu. Although set up like a cafeteria with tableside service and hairnets, this formula has some advantages. With many dishes pre-made, one can shop for groceries, and then pop upstairs for hot takeaway with almost no wait. This workingman’s Thai is served in befitting behemoth proportions, making for the perfect quick downtown lunch with always plenty left over. And last but not least, no hairs. Caveats: homogeneity. Each dish is a mute palette. In the case of my Pad Thai, a dark sienna mixed with van dyke brown accented with greasy orange specular highlights. I could not really discern anything in the dish, probably because it was made in such a large batch that the colours ran together over time. If you could look beyond that, or imagine you are staring at an Anselm Kiefer painting, then you and your wallet will be satisfied. Yet, despite the drab colours, there is something special camouflaged in each dish. Núðluhúsið is consistent, and will remain top on my list for hangover cures or budget noodles.
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