Icelandic Ingredients, International Execution - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Ingredients, International Execution

Icelandic Ingredients, International Execution

Published May 29, 2014

Main photo by
Nanna Dís

The Fish Company is one of a number of relatively new restaurants focusing on fresh local ingredients and the best possible international twists to showcase them. The restaurant is located in a beautifully refurbished basement next to the Reykjavík Art Museum with rare outdoor seating in the heart of Reykjavík.

Icelandic fusion is well represented on the menu, with the Icelandic ingredient (usually the main protein) remaining the star of the show although it is executed in an international fashion—be it French, Japanese, Irish, Malaysian etc.

I had taken a glimpse at the menu before arriving and must admit that my expectations were high. My companion and I were graciously greeted and decided to have a cocktail. My companion had a Tom Hendricks and I chose a traditional Manhattan. The restaurant’s mixologists didn’t blow us away, but the alcohol did do its job to smooth our conversation and augment our appetite. 

For a starter my companion chose a dish called “Iceland”: fried ling with horseradish paste and potato chips, dried cod with a fennel salad as well as potato salad. This dish was lovely, the ling cooked perfectly to a gentle flaky-brown on the inside. The horseradish paste could have done with a bit more “oomph.” The dried cod and potato chips were a nice touch, adding a salty crunchiness to the dish.

My starter was “France”: chopped beef tartar and tartar sauce, fried foie gras and caramelized onion purée, smoked bone marrow with a poached egg on top. On hand were rye bread, onions and cheese biscuits. This dish was divine. The MVP of the night. Our server torched the bone marrow so its delightful juices spilled over the tartar and foie gras, adding another smoky dimension to the dish. The tartar was soft and tender and the egg oozed once opened, making the richness of the dish off the charts. My only very slight complaint would be that the foie gras was a tad gelatinous. 

For the main course, my companion chose “Vietnam”: salted and smoked pork belly with slowly cooked pork cheek, popped pork and pickled cabbage, spring onion mayonnaise and a teriyaki sauce. The pork was presented on a bed of mashed potatoes so the dish was obviously very filling. The teriyaki was a fine accompaniment with the very tender meat. The pickled cabbage also offered another acidic dimension to the otherwise smoky-sweet dish. Towards the end, my companion was, however, a bit salted out—barely being able to finish. He did enjoy the ride while it lasted, however.

I chose “Brazil”: lightly salted fresh cod and scallops with sweet potatoes, olive marmalade, baked garlic paste and olive crisps. This dish was a true delight. The cod was not too salty, which is a difficult balance, crisp on the outside yet flaky on the inside, as it should be. The olive marmalade was truly first-class—perfect for the cod. The scallops were nice and sweet, maybe a bit on the small side. The dish was also presented with mashed potatoes so this, too, proved to be a challenge. A very nice one.

We were quite full by this point, understandably, but decided to share an “Italy” dessert: a Nutella tiramisu with raspberry and chocolate cream and yoghurt ice cream. This dish did not light up the table, but was very nice. Very light and airy. Especially the yoghurt ice cream, I could have eaten a bowl of that by myself. 

Overall, Fish Company comes highly recommended. It is obviously an extremely ambitious kitchen with professional staff. Overall, they offered us an evening of true delight. A carefree environment in a lovely setting with excellent food to boot.

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