Reykjavík: Matur og Drykkur

This is the seventh post in the overseas trip series to Iceland and London

We’re going to take a short break from London now and explore some of the restaurants I was able to visit during our ten days in Iceland.

When one thinks about Iceland, food does not immediately come to mind as one of its highlights. Northern lights, the blue lagoon and the vast landscape of the country are immediate impressions.

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However, there is quite the burgeoning food scene in Iceland! If anything, it takes some inspiration from its Scandinavian counterparts, while keeping true to some of its traditional dishes.

One of the restaurants we visited that showed this was Matur og Drykkur. I first noticed the restaurant when Kristen Kish (of Top Chef) fame visited the place and while she did not post any pictures of the dishes on her instagram, I was quite intrigued just by the fact that she captioned that she loved all the dishes there. The restaurant too has received quite favourable reviews online, so I was glad when the rest of the gang agreed to check the place out.
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Most of us had the seafood menu which was an 8 course dinner.

First course: Dried fish, whey butter and pickled dulse. The whey butter is quite an interesting ingredient commonly used in Iceland. It’s got a softer and creamier texture (sometimes it’s almost hard to believe it’s butter). Especially liked the pickled dulse.
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Second course: Herring, potatoes, salted angelica seeds and mustard
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third course: Shark, brussel sprouts, walnuts and cripsy flatbread. Nope this is not the fermented shark that Iceland is famous for, but the restaurant’s modern take on shark (no doubt a more palatable version)dscf1015

fourth course: “Halibut” soup with mussels, apples and raisins. The word “halibut” is in inverted commas as the dish is based off a traditional Icelandic dish. However, as halibut has been over farmed, it is difficult to replicate the dish. Hence, a different type of fish is used, but the concept of the dish stems from the traditional recipe.
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fifth course: Langoustine (Icelandic lobster), cauliflower, horseradish and tarragon. We ate heaps of langoustine while in Iceland, and the locals do cook it very very well indeed. Definitely something that would be difficult to find in Singapore.
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sixth course: Now for the highlight of the meal – Cod’s head cooked in chicken stock with dulse. Served with potato salad and cod’s tongue. This was an interesting visual sight. As it’s an open kitchen, we got to watch them torch the cod’s head just before serving it to us.

The waitress explained that in Iceland, they only eat the cheeks and the forehead of the cod’s head, so the rest of the cod (eg. cod’s eyes) have been taken away. It’s quite an “in your face” experience to have the cod staring at you as you dig into it… and for just the cod’s head, there was a LOT of meat to be had.

Super tasty and nice… we really struggled to finish this one up.
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Seventh course: Time for dessert! Now, another popular ingredient of Icelandic cuisine is skyr yoghurt. Forour first dessert course, we had skyr, sweet oats and white chocolate
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eight course: For our second dessert course, we had another traditional Icelandic dish – twisted doughnuts and caramelized whey. These were really good. The doughnuts were crispy and went very well with the whey.
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In all, this was a very hearty and filling meal. We thought that everything was very well executed and we liked how the dishes were based off traditional recipes but with a modern take on them.

The restaurant seemed very popular with locals (we looked like the only tourists in there at one point), which is always a good thing. Service was also very friendly and efficient. Definitely recommended to anyone visiting Reykjavik in particular!

Add: Grandagarður 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland

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