After a few good Icelandic craft beers at The Micro Bar, I headed out for dinner at a place I’d heard quite a bit about, Tapas Barinn, a restaurant that serves Spanish-style tapas with an Icelandic interpretation. I’d already sampled Icelandic fare for lunch at Cafe Loki, and, not usually being an adventurous eater, surprised myself with my willingness to take a chance on both of the days main meals.
I’d started talking to another solo American traveler at the Micro Bar, a woman from Colorado, and she’d been intrigued by the description of Tapas Barinn, so she agree to join me for dinner. As a solo traveler, I always welcome that chance to not have to dine alone. We took the short walk from the Micro Bar, and found the place packed with locals when we arrived, which is almost always a good sign.
I’d read about the Icelandic Gourmet Feast on line, which consisted of 6 ‘Icelandic’ tapas and desert. It also opened with a shot of the country’s famous (more like infamous) spirit, Brennivín. It’s a clear schnapps, usually made from potato mashed and flavored with various spices. I’d tried it back in 1998, and I really didn’t like it much better 15 years later.
The first course was smoked puffin with blueberry “brennivín” sauce. I had reservations about eating such an adorable bird, but they are not in danger of extinction, so I gave it a try. The meat was a little gamey, but also had a good flavor, and the blueberry sauce it was served with was delicious.
Next came the Icelandic sea-trout with peppers. I really like seafood and was a big fan of this dish.
Lobster tails baked in garlic was the third dish, and while it wasn’t very exotic, it was delicious.
Another fish dish, the pan-fried blue ling with lobster sauce, was next. I’d never had ling before, but it was good. I found out later that it’s related to cod.
The fifth dish was a staple meat in the country, lamb. I’d never much liked lamb the few other times I had it, but enjoyed it this time. The meat was quite good, but what made the dish was the seasonings used.
The final dish was the one that gave me the most trepidation. I almost didn’t order this particular feast because of the presence of whale on it. After talking to a few people and doing some research of my own, I found out that the kind of whale meat served, that of the minke whale, came from a species that is not in danger of extinction either. In fact, this type of whale is not even classified as threatened. This was my favorite of the six main dishes.
Desert was white chocolate “Skýr” mousse with passion coulis.
It was a great night of native cuisine that surprised me. I’d heard such good things about the food in Iceland, but I hadn’t been impressed the last time I’d visited. With a little maturity and an open mind, I really enjoyed the food this time.
Europe 2013 Posts-
Beers & Bars of the Europe 2013 Trip Series: