“Hipsteresque” Par Excellence - The Reykjavik Grapevine

“Hipsteresque” Par Excellence

Words by
Photos by
Alisa Kalyanova

Published March 4, 2014

The Coocoo's Nest

Grandagarður 23, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Tue- Wed 11- 19, Thu- Sat 11- 22, Sun 11- 16
What we think
Screams out hipster.
Flavour
Fresh, healthy, organic.
Ambiance

Sarcastic?
Service

Exceptional.
Price for 2 (no drinks)
Less than 4000 ISK

The Coocoo’s Nest opened last summer in the very happening harbour area, next to insanely popular ice cream parlour Valdís. Conceptually, the establishment is of the kind found in the coolest quarters of cities like New York, Berlin or Paris.

The place is difficult to categorise right off the bat: it’s a prime place for a lunch date during the week, a place to visit after work for
an “aperitivo,” a place to get you started with pancakes and bacon on weekends, and finally a place to get a delicious and healthy sourdough pizza and a cheap bottle of wine later on in the evenings.

It is my understanding, however, that the best time to visit is for lunch. Although the place is small, it’s well designed to make maximum use of its space. With large windows and high ceilings, the room itself is bright and feels spacious. It’s almost as if you’re eating at an outdoor European café.

The lunch menu is short and simple, consisting of soups, salads and sandwiches. A clever option is to mix two of the three, for example a soup and sandwich, in which case you only pay for the sandwich. This is what my companion and I did.

We both had the soup of the day (1,590 ISK), which was a carrot-ginger-coconut soup. It was of a perfect consistency, fragrant and full of flavour. A nice drizzle of olive oil on top made it even more silky smooth. It would have been nice to get some bread along with the soup, which I am sure the servers would have provided had we asked.

My companion chose a signature Turkey & Cranberry sandwich (1,790 ISK) while I chose a “sandwich of the day,” an Open BLT with aioli sauce (1,690 ISK). It should be noted, and commended, that all sandwiches are made from homemade sourdough bread, which is nothing short of sourdough bread heaven. The Turkey and Cranberry had a generous amount of real slices of turkey (not the kind of cheap ham-like stuff) soaked in delicious cranberry sauce. My companion also asked for an added slice of avocado, which he deemed to be perfect next to the main ingredients. I’ll take his word for it.

The Open BLT was, as the name suggests, open and had therefore only one slice of bread. In my opinion, just keep the sandwich closed, especially when working with this kind of crunchy and delicious bread. The aioli left something to be desired, but the sandwich was still very tasty with fresh tomatoes and lettuce and perfectly cooked, crispy bacon on top.

Given the modern hipster vibe of the place, we of course felt it essential to finish off our meal with a cup of coffee, which is, you guessed it, organic of course. The coffee served at The Coocoo’s Nest is very likely among the best that Reykjavík has to offer and, make no mistake about it, Reykjavík has some pretty fine coffee. It was served by one of two wonderful servers who were both exceedingly professional and attentive.

Next on our agenda is to visit during aperitivo-hour, which lasts until 19:00 every evening. It is my understanding that after ordering a glass of wine (from a surprisingly ambitious wine list), the chef will simply make you something that comes to his mind, a kind of tapas served on some of that oh so nice bread.

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