Finally there is somewhere affordable to eat out in Reykjavik which doesn´t feature burgers or fries. Admittedly the name, Icelandic Fish & Chips, doesn´t conjure up much appetite at first – for anyone having eaten British fish and chips knows how guilty you feel just by looking at the grease-sodden fish-batter and stodgy chips. However, this is an altogether different affair. This is far more lightly-battered Icelandic fresh spotted catfish and oven- roasted potatoes (with Maldon salt, of course,) territory. The restaurant, overlooking the harbour and with some fine views of Esja, is a small relaxed organic establishment with just a handful of tables and a couple of serving staff. There is no wheat or white sugar in the kitchen, the vegetables are all organic and the fine vegetable frying oil kept clean.
A boisterous hostess greets you upon arrival, lets you choose a table and explains that you order at the bar; that´s fine by me, anything to keep costs down. There’s a large blackboard behind the bar, filled with catch of the day options and other mouth-watering temptations. There isn’t a wine list – instead there are just two German Kabinett Rieslings which the establishment has imported themselves and found to be the best match for ‘Icelandic fish and chips’. And they weren´t wrong; my cheaper-of-the-two Rieslings, at around 700kr, was poured generously into a large elegant glass and was one of the best dry German Rieslings I have tasted. For those of you who think that German wine is just sweet, tasteless grape juice, I would strongly recommend you go down and try their wines. (Especially as I have yet to find a good, modern, dry German Riesling in Rikid)
Oh yes, and the food. Gosh – what a choice of fish! Not only could you have the usual cod, haddock and skate (which incidentally are leagues better than anything to be found elsewhere) they also serve peculiar Icelandic creatures such as redfish (also called rosefish or red perch) and spotted catfish. For between 600 and 900 kr you are served three generous chunks of fish coated in a crispy light spelt flour batter. For an extra 350 kr you can have the organic Icelandic (they´re good) potatoes oven-baked in olive oil, Maldon salt and parsley or some tasty onion rings. Make sure to order some ´Skryonnes’ for 150kr – a mayonnaise-esque accompaniment to the fish and chips which is made out of non-fat skyr and comes in a variety of flavours, such as lime and coriander or basil and garlic.
Including alcohol my supper came to 2,000kr; I couldn´t even order a main course for that price at most of Reykjavik´s other restaurants. Don´t expect red wine, pressed linen or oysters and champagne; this is a simple but smart place and as with all simple things, it’s much easier to get right.
Let’s hope this one stays open.
9 / 10
Fantastic value for money but it drops a point because of the awful name...
www.fishandchips.is Tryggvagata 8, Reykjavik
WARNING!: I have been back a second and third time to Icelandic Fish and Chips and on both occasions they have replaced their German Rieslings with nasty cheap Chilean Sauvignon Blancs which would go better on my chips than as an accompaniment to the fish. The service is also hopeless when the owners aren't there to keep things under control, but it doesn't detract too much from the fab food.