One of Reykjavik’s landmarks is the super cool — figuratively and literally, with its ice caves — Perlan museum. With its observatory shaped like a pearl, you can see how it was named. There is a fun, chic with young chic locals restaurant called Út í Bláinn. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
Út í Bláinn is a revolving restaurant. Those were so popular when I was a kid and this is a fantastic way to see the views of all of metro Reykjavik. It also adds an air of festiveness and romance.
When I was there, they were just beginning their Christmas buffet. The restaurant’s Executive Chef has won many awards, as well as heading one of the city’s top spots. I spoke with one of the chefs, who indicated that theirs is a very sophisticated clientele, one that’s open to all sorts of wild game and even some of the more foreboding traditional Icelandic fare, such as the fermented shark.
Icelanders insist on a quality bread and butter course: they did not disappoint.
I started with a special Christmas cocktail with hot mulled wine, orange, rosemary and cloves.
Keeping up the warming theme — which was great during the cold, rainy weekend I was in town — was a bowl of ptarmigan soup. Though we don’t see this bird on menus in the US, it’s very popular in Eastern Canada and the UK. It’s a small game bird in the grouse family. The delicious soup had cream, mushrooms, wine and herbs. The soup wasn’t “gamy” at all, just more meaty than a cream of chicken soup would be. It was a little tangy and rich.
I started with a bit of Danish liver/bacon pate’: popular in the city and with that bacon, why wouldn’t it be?
This is a city known for its seafood. With salmon and herring on the buffet, you definitely get a taste of place.
I had a slice of reindeer steak carved for me. It was very tender and only slightly gamy. It wasn’t overly lean, either. This was game meat cooked in a gourmet style. There was a Bearnaise and red wine sauce on the buffet. Chef recommended the red wine sauce . . . always listen to Chef! I also sampled some rib roast.
The vol au vent was made with red deer. Ever hear of Otzi the Iceman, the 5,500 year old frozen guy found in the Alps? His DNA says that we are probably related and his last meal included red deer. It’s mild and tasty.
The reindeer meatballs probably incorporate some offal and were much stronger, gamier than the other meats I tried.
For you vegans, they have Iceland’s popular nutloaf, made with hazelnuts, a nut beloved there.
Toffee pie incorporates Iceland’s delicious dairy and butter. Theirs had a crispy outside and was a satisfying treat.
The restaurant is owned by the folks behind Kaffitár, a coffee company boasting many award-winning baristas. So, of course I had to try it! They do a dark, dark roast with a hint of acid. Impressive!