Last time I went to Iceland I went to Fiskmarkadurinn, which was an odd choice given my ambivalence towards eating fish. It was a great meal, but whilst researching this trip I was joyed to find they had a sister restaurant focusing more on meats than seafood.
Grillmarkadurinn is in the downtown area of Reykjavik, right in the heart of the shopping area and not far from the main tourist office.
I used their online booking tool to reserve a table for Sunday lunch and got an email back confirming my 1pm meal.
Arriving at the restaurant it was open, but they told us they only serve food from 5pm. We wandered out and despite being hungry limited ourselves to just a hot dog to fill a hole until the evening service. We arrived back at 5pm, very eager to eat, only to be told they start serving dinner from 6pm. I was up for getting another snack, but the maître d’ kindly gave us a free drink while we waited.
Anyway, once we finally got a seat we were in for a treat. We’d opted for the tasting menu, which is 9 courses covering a range of Icelandic ingredients and flavours.
First up was cranberry bread with whipped butter and lava salt. Whipped butter is simply butter whipped with a couple of tablespoons of milk. The flavour is lighter and it’s much easier to spread. Lava salt contains activated charcoal making it black and rather aesthetically intriguing.
AppetisersDuck salad with mandarin, mozzarella, spinach, pomegranate, fried onions – any combination of the above was perfection – tasted all at once was spectacular. Deep fried dried cod in a spinach batter, fried squid that melts in the mouth, tartar sauce and pickled radish. Very rare cooked Minke whale, garlic oil and fried mushrooms. This was topped with dried cayenne pepper and an onion vinaigrette. Puffin slider with caramelised onion mayo and a cornichon. The bun was a little dry and the puffin got a bit lost among the other flavours. Of the nine dishes this was the only one that wasn’t perfect.
MainsFillet of cod on cauliflower puree, sundried tomatoes and chorizo and olives, dusted with powdered cauliflower couscous. Lamb with fried mushrooms and mushroom potatoes, crunchy mushroom soil and diced apple. Ribeye of beef, sautéed vegetables (Ceps, baby sweetcorn & spinach) served with a jus and some more lava salt.
Whilst the lava salt on the bread seemed to be mostly for looks, on meat the charcoal in the salt imparted a fresh-off-the-barbecue flavour. We bought a couple of brands of lava salt to take home as it’s sold in souvenir shops everywhere, but it doesn’t have the same depth of flavour as that in the restaurant.
Chocolate volcano filled with strawberry & bitter chocolate soil, passion fruit sorbet, chocolate bombe, a pot of hot caramel sauce, raspberry sorbet, crème brûlée and a chocolate knife, all served in a boat full of ice and fruit.
At first I thought this was a serving platter and we were supposed to pick the one we wanted. The waiter probably realised this, so smiled as he poured the hot caramel sauce over the chocolate bombe to reveal a filling of coffee ice cream and crispy rice, then left us to it!
Any one of these desserts would have been an amazing end to the meal, but having all of them was spectacular.
Tasting menu, 9900 ISK each and every one at the table has to have the tasting menu. Worth it!