You have probably noticed the blue-green fishermen’s huts by the pier of the old marina. You may also have noticed that times they are a-changin’ and those huts are gradually being converted into design shops and trendy restaurants. This was not entirely unexpected, as the role of small fishermen over the last century has diminished gradually, and not-so-gradually in downtown Reykjavík.
It’s easy to pine for the old days but there’s no denying that the marina has blossomed into a vibrant cluster of small businesses, as the area gradually merges with the foodie hub that is Grandi, to the west.
Now the owners of the last active fishing hut at the old marina have turned their eye towards the restaurant business. The family behind the upcoming restaurant, Verbúð 11, used to run Sindrafiskur ehf, the last operational fishing enterprise and fish mongers in the area—and the new restaurant carries the number of their old station towards a strange, new horizon.
We spoke to Sigurður Sveinn Jónsson, a member of the Sindrafiskur family, about how this came about:
“The idea has been rattling around in our subconscious for a while. We figured that a restaurant would work well with the location and the changing nature of the business in the area. After the small fishing boats stopped storing their clutter in the huts it became a no-brainer really.”
Before becoming a commercial fishing enterprise, the location served other roles and we asked Sigurður to address rumours that it used to serve as a practice space for The Sugarcubes.
“They were using it for a period. There was a man called Árni Jósepsson who ran a car battery shop there before we took over and he was somehow connected to Björk Guðmundsdóttir and let them use it as a practice space when they were starting out. There were some other bands there too but I haven’t looked into it.”
The family have been operating the same 11x4m fishing boat, Sindri RE-46, since 1977. Sindri will of course be supplying the kitchen at Verbúð 11 with fresh fish.
Verbúð 11’s head chef is one Gunnar Ingi Elvarsson, formerly of Hótel Rangá, and the menu will clearly feature fish prominently. A preview of the upcoming menu revealed dishes like cod loin with vanilla-infused cauliflower purée, pickled mushrooms and green-pea sauce, and slow-cooked salmon with herb-infused barley, carrots, asparagus, and hollandaise.
Talks of drastically reshaping the area around the old marina pop up in city politics regularly, so it’s doubtful that the aquamarine huts that dot the seaside will stay there indefinitely. We recommend you take advantage while it lasts.
Verbúð 11 is set to open at Geirsgata 3, 101 Reykjavík this February and will seat 92 people on two floors. Further information regarding opening times will be posted on www.verbud11.is.
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