Höfnin

Dear Reader, here we begin our journey together- mine through these blogs and insights into the great places I’ve found to eat across further flung corners of the globe, and closer to home. And yours, hopefully, in being provided with these places to visit on your own travels. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

‘the sea, which was the clearest and deepest blue I have yet to see. Midnight in colour with the cresting and swirling tides the merest of stars where they met.’

Hofnin, a cosy restaurant found past Reykjavik’s concert hall known as the Harpa, close to the harbour in a row of restaurants. By the time we came to leave Reykjavik we’d sampled three in this row. The interior and food were both wonderfully Nordic, nothing more or less than what is required for a good evening.

Food, like everything else in Iceland, is notoriously expensive. The price paled however in comparison to the quality of food we enjoyed during our time there. In the end we came to the conclusion the cost of a meal with not much dearer if not comparable to a lot of dining in London, though in Iceland the quality was almost assured by our very location and proximity to the sea, which was the clearest and deepest blue I have yet to see. Midnight in colour with the cresting and swirling tides the merest of stars where they met.

We chose the Icelandic fish stew and pan fried breaded haddock for our mains. Our waiter informed us that traditionally Icelandic fish stew would be whatever off-cuts of fish were left at the end of the week, poached in milk and a scattering of seasoning and a mild curry powder, served atop fried new potatoes. It proved a common sight on menus during the time we were in Iceland but this was an exceptional dish. A slight twist on its traditional parent this fish stew which tonight consisted of cod and blue ling was mashed with the potatoes and formed almost a mousse like texture and called for no more seasoning. It was served with additional fried potatoes and dark rye bread and in the end formed a sizeable portion, I’m not sure I needed to eat pudding, or vacuum what was left on my girlfriend’s plate. I did both regardless.

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The haddock was the freshest fish I have ever had the pleasure in eating. It was served with glazed onions and fresh white cabbage, alongside a prawn remoulade which I soon learned the Icelandic are huge fans of. Again, it was served with pan fried potatoes. I can only say that if fish and chips were served like this in the UK I would be having it more often.

Dessert was a warm apple ‘cake’. Layers of pastry, between the layers: apple, raisins and a hefty dose of cinnamon was to be found. Its construction was similar to a strudel. It was topped with a caramel sauce and lemon custard with halved blueberries, shimmering from a small time in the pan stirred throughout and a sizeable scoop of vanilla ice cream. The lemon’s acidity countered the sweetness of the rest of the dish well, and prevented it from being overbearing. More so the dessert was an excellent finisher to the saltiness of the fish dishes before. We would stop here again; were our favourite next door unable to squeeze us in. It was a good meal and we left feeling content and ready to step out into the cold air Iceland offered.

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