SHELLSHOCKED - The Reykjavik Grapevine

SHELLSHOCKED

Ragnar Egilsson
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published February 20, 2015

Höfnin

Geirsgata 7c, 101 Reykjavík
weekdays 11:30 - 14:00. Sunday to Wednesday 17:30 - 21:00. Thursday to Saturday 17:30 - 22:00.
What we think
A workmanlike approach to continental classics. Located by the old marina. Too uneven at this price.
Flavour
Old-style French with some justified flairs. Heavy proteins with very bold flavours.
Ambiance
Very chill. Punters with ample time to build up pensions or starting to dip into the funds.
Service
Excellent.
Price for 2
25-30,000 ISK (three course a la carte)

Eating a large portion of dark, heavy food on a dark, wooden table in a bright teal building by the marina. We have been here before.

Höfnin offers a moderately priced cocktail of the month (1,770 ISK) and we ordered an excellent Americano, blood orange-colored and bitter like a four-year custody battle, as well as a pleasantly dry Cosmo.

I was disappointed to see that they hadn’t been able to source the comically huge mussels that I tried three years earlier. But those beer-steamed moules-frite are still a solid presentation of this abundant and abundantly delicious ingredient (2,530 ISK for a half portion).

My wife had the duck and langoustine (3,290 ISK), which was presented like a pancaked Peking duck. It failed to make an impression, and the langoustine almost failed to make an appearance.

The service deserves unreserved praise. They went out of their way to track down a bottle of Faustino Gran Reserva and showed themselves to be knowledgeable about the menu and attentive without being intrusive. Tippety top.

The main course was a lamb infused with three types of anise flavour: angelica, fennel, anise sauce (4,990 ISK). The lamb was a solid medium-rare with a nice sear. But the anise glaze loomed dangerously close to slipping into licorice candy territory.

Höfnin1My wife’s grilled cod with shredded beetroot and herbs (4,590 ISK) was perfectly cooked, like the lamb, but was accompanied by a sauce that consisted of massively concentrated shellfish stock. In all fairness to them, the menu does warn about the sauce’s intensity and the sauce is served separate from the fish. But a generous slick down the length of the cod and it was like pouring molten copper over an ice sculpture. After two bites the fish might as well have been in the next room. A variation on a light veloute sauce would have been welcomed.

Höfnin3The young, tattooed chef I saw in the kitchen would lead you to expect pork belly ramen served in a mason jar or something. Instead, they seem to wish to appeal to an older palate with classics veering on the dated, with take-no-prisoners flavours, muted colours, and heavy proteins.

At those prices, I had hoped for more.


Show Me More!