Published June 2, 2016
- What we think
- Not currently in the running for Rvk’s best burgers, but a cosy and welcome addition on the neighbourhood scene
- French fries, curly fries, criss-cross fries, sweet potato fries, fries with béarnaise sauce, fries with BBQ sauce, fries with kokteil sauce
- Uncle Óli’s rec room: the décor’s a little nutty and there’s a bunch of random stuff piled in one corner
- Comfortable, chatty, friendly, and quick
- Price for 2
- 2,890 ISK (if you eat hamburgers) – 7,390 ISK (if you both get the minke whale)
Located in the Skerjafjörður neighbourhood behind the domestic airport, the Bike Cave is somewhat out of the way for travellers and locals alike. However, given its fleet of rental scooters—parked jauntily outside like Harleys in front of a leather bar—and its proximity to popular coastal walking and cycling trails, this eclectic café likely has a long and happy future ahead.
The Bike Cave wears a lot of hats. All told, this is your one-stop “self-service pit-stop” (you can rent equipment to tune up your bikes, that is) slash laundromat slash shower facility slash scooter rental slash (vegan-) friendly hamburger joint. Basically, there’s something for everyone, be that adult colouring books, a slot machine, or an upright piano.
The menu goes for a similarly wide appeal, although the focus is fried and starchy—food that you’d crave after a long bike ride (I’m guessing) or the kind of yummy “treat yo‘self” junk fare that’s perfect for lazy weeknights. Mozzarella sticks, onion rings, ham and cheeses, chicken burgers, fries. Fries four ways, actually: regular, curly, criss-cross, and sweet potato, with all kinds of dipping sauce because this is Iceland and if you don’t have lots and lots of sauce you’re doing it wrong. The menu features a number of vegetarian options, as well as some humorous outliers, from requisite I’m-in-Iceland dishes like kjötsúpa (meat soup) and lamb to my personal favourite, the succinctly confusing “Brunch.”
I tried the Dehli koftas with “sunshine sauce” (595ISK) and a “lúxus” burger (1095ISK), while my companion sampled both of the veggie burgers (they’re small-ish): chili and potato, respectively (745ISK each). We split an order of criss-cross fries (495ISK) with a side of béarnaise, obv.
The koftas—five fried and spiced potato-balls, each about the size of a shooter marble—were inexplicably served with fried garlic bread. (The bread was good, incidentally. Still random.) These tot-marbles tasted exactly as you’d expect (I happily ate them all), and the sauce—a thinner sort of korma?—was tasty and good on the fries, too, which were crispy and salty. Exactly what fries should be.
The lúxus burger was an adventure in topping abundance: satisfyingly half-crispy bacon, sautéed mushrooms, melty “gull ostur” (Iceland’s take on camembert), cucumber and béarnaise. Personally, I’m not a fan of gull ostur and should’ve asked for the vegan cheese, but that’s not the fault of the burger, which otherwise hit the mark. Meaning: it was quickly made, filling, and yeah, totally a burger. The not-super-filling veggie burgers were less successful—the potato kind is comprised of two, triangular hash browns and there wasn’t anything particularly chili-ish about the chili burger. But given the price and the ambiance, neither myself nor my companion were terribly fussed.
And that’s what it comes down to: Bike Cave has a pleasant, laid-back vibe that more than makes up for the fact that the food is… totally fine. It’s a comfortable place, with comfort food and nice employees. Plus, they’re open until 11 and serve alcohol so yeah—I’m happy. Look for me here with a beer, a basket of fries, and a colouring book.