Situated just next door to my previous review- Hofnin, Kopar is in the same row of distinctive harbour side buildings. A bare, almost warehouse like interior dominated by beaten copper and old-fashioned Edison bulbs which have so recently made a resurgence greets us. We were well attended by our waiter who was friendly and only too happy to showcase the finer details of each dish.
“Greatest butter I have ever tasted.”
Having gone here for lunch, price was less prohibitive with a two-course meal costing 3400IKR which at the time of writing is somewhere in the region of £25. The starter was rock crab soup. Similar to a lobster bisque but in place of the lobster, crabmeat, prawns, bean sprouts and spinach were to be found. The flavours were earthy and rugged, it was an exceptional way to demonstrate the best of what the sea can offer and so simply. The soup was accompanied by a sack of homemade breads and the greatest butter that I have ever tasted. The butter was handmade, churned caramelised whey and covered in a liquorice salt (raw liquorice finely chopped and mixed with sea salt flakes)- the producers unique to Iceland but certainly remains consistent with the Nordic love of salty liquorice.
The main course was the universally vague name of ‘Catch of the Day’. It is without trepidation however, that I will never cock an eyebrow at this title in Iceland again (I will remain reserved for other countries though). The catch was blue ling, so fresh it tasted much like taking a lungful of a fresh ocean breeze, there was no taste but the sea with this fish. It was pan-fried and accompanied with a light, red wine sauce and partnered with lightly pickled cucumbers and onions. On the side was the now familiar sight of pan fried potatoes, but there was a hint of luxury on the side of this plate as well, a fresh mayonnaise imbued with truffles which balanced the saltiness of the dish well, and surprised me as to be an oddly pleasant combination with the red wine sauce.
It’s worth noting, and especially towards the end of a meal in Iceland, that there isn’t a culture of tipping. The Icelandic people are well aware of how expensive a country they live in though their provisions are excellent. We approached tipping as a courtesy, rather than feeling pained by a service charge for poor service and so forth found in the U.S. I remain adamant that tipping is only for something exquisite or exceptional, as this meal was. Despite the better price of food, the drink remained out of reach for a shoestring budget, and as such Icelandic water sufficed. But, if there was one restaurant I would visit time and time again in Iceland it would be this. Looking back on what I’ve written I realise there is an innate struggle in describing a simple meal as anything beyond its contents and the word wonderful.
If you like what you’re reading then don’t forget to subscribe! Just bang your email in the box on the left and hit ‘Seconds, please!’ and there will be a fresh find in your inbox every week!