The food at this cosy restaurant downtown demonstrates flavour and technique to match some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavik.
If you want great food in the city, ask a chef where she or he likes to eat. The recommendations have not led me astray and this latest one is no different. Fish Company is fine dining with the sort of knowledge and service you expect from a larger establishment. This is clean and modern Scandinavian cuisine with a distinctly Icelandic heartbeat.
It may be worth mentioning that this place has ties to the famous Grillmarket and the newly opened Shellfish market. The menus at all these spots come from long consultation with the same experts and that shows. There is consistency throughout these places (foodies will recognise the emphasis on tasty sauces) and for many, that means Fish Company should be the better value proposition–especially if one has limited time in Reykjavik and therefore cannot wait for a table to free up at Grillmarket.
See Also: Delicious Icelandic Recipes
Fiskfélagið is tucked under a bridge downtown; once upon a time, a patron sighed, “all the best adventures take place under a bridge,” after a meal here and this quickly became their motto–or so the cute story goes. They certainly aim for an exciting culinary experience at Fish Company and, of course, the food is the focal point.
The welcome begins with warm, crusty bread with nutty, creamy Icelandic butter. Delicious. Hand-churned butter in this country might give the mythical raw unpasteurised cream butter from France a run for its money. I often ask the waiter to leave the bread and butter on the table throughout the meal, simply because I miss it when it is gone. Good butter is one of life’s beautiful experiences, is it not?
The menu—should you choose the “Around Iceland” or “Around the World” course menus—opens with the amuse bouche, which on this day was smoked haddock sprinkled with lava salt and potato foam spooned into small jars. It is a big idea in a small bite, declaring “We are Iceland.” Some restaurant-goers view foam with weariness, but it feels right here; lava, fish, and the ‘seafoam’ are all earmarks of the Icelandic culinary scene.
Then it is onto the Icelandic coastline: beautifully presented medallions of cod from Vestmannaeyjar, pan-fried and cooked perfectly, served with wild cauliflower and a glaze of honey and sauce. Attentive staff will refill drinks and explain each dish in English and Icelandic with enthusiasm.
The other fish dish, the cured salmon sprinkled with the Icelandic schnapps, Brennivin, is a revelation. Distinct flavours ebb and flow like the tide, and the shredded char just works.
I did not miss the meat in this feast, but the lamb sourced from Husavik will please meat lovers. My fried lamb sirloin was tender and the beer pickled onion and celeriac balanced the otherwise rich dish. The reduction is unctuous. At this point, my stomach was full and the dinner conversation served to slow down the service and make way for dessert.
Dessert is a blondie with sorbet and warm honey from Selfoss. The green sorbet was refreshing and it was my favourite thing I ate. It has since been replaced with a different but similar element and is now served with caramelised puff pastry and cured egg yolk, according to the new menu. Seasonal ingredients keep things fresh, so repeat visits are encouraged.
The ambience in the restaurant is one of intimacy. Old stone walls, close tables and low lighting invite relaxed discussion and it can get quite hot and loud. Go for the 7-course chef’s tasting menu for unbeatable value.
One of the current chefs at Fish Company competed in the Culinary World Cup last year, bringing home a gold medal for Iceland; the new generation of chefs in this country values refinement and is clearly eager to make a splash. Fish Company is definitely not to be missed.