Ok, so Dill Restaurant!
I had a seven course dinner with wine pairings for each course. It was the most expensive meal I have ever had, no doubt. It was located in the Nordic House in Reykjavik, a cute little historic house situated...well, not really close to anything, actually. Which wouldn't matter unless you showed up at 5:30 despite having a 7:00 reservation because you wanted to get the show on the road since you have to get the hell up at 3:30am...and whoops, you just found out they don't even open til 7:00.
(So the oh-so-helpful waiter told me the closest bar was probably "up there" pointing vaguely to the city center where I had just come from. "Helpful" and "friendly" are not words that leap to mind when I think of my waiter.)
I saw a Radisson somewhat nearby and went for a glass of wine. I got to chatting with the Turkish bartender, whose name escapes me, but was very awesome with an actual personality and entertaining stories. I thought of the drunk Irish man from my previous evening and wanted so badly to show him what interesting people are like.
These also kept me company, they were quite nummy, whatever the hell they were.
So closer to 7:30 I went back to Dill. The restaurant itself is a tiny room within the Nordic House that seats 30; because the courses are so specialized and the place is so tiny, they basically have to make the diners keeps pace. So I was by myself but forced to spend from 7:30 until 11:30 eating. That part was actually pretty goddamn annoying. I love to eat leisurely and relish every part, I do, but this was ridiculous. It did end up working out in my favor, however.
I finished at the same time as the group of Icelandic businessmen to my left, who had only had the 5 course dinner (but who got there before I did). As I may have mentioned, Iceland had been much colder than usual, and the wind made it especially brutal. I had a jacket, but it was hardly a match for the wind that night. I started to leave, cracked the door open...and yeah, I said no. I came back inside the main room (mostly a gallery for the House, the restaurant was its own little room) and the businessmen were all in a group and leaving. I fully admit it, I walked right up and said, "This might be inappropriate, but by any chance are you going to be driving by the city center?" IT WAS REALLY COLD, GODDAMMIT.
I'm sorry, I had just spent the better part of four hours next to these people at dinner and based on their conversations, I guess I just wasn't worried. And sure enough, they turned out to be a bunch of IT geeks celebrating something with their boss that I cannot remember. So I picked a very safe group of guys. I left with three of them and they coincidentally chose a bar for drinks that was literally one block from where I was staying. I stayed for one drink but didn't want to crash the party--and goddamn it was bedtime--so I thanked them politely and left.
So even though I had to spend 4 hours eating dinner, I didn't have to walk home in the bitter-ass wind.
Anyway, the FOOD was actually quite good. I loved one of the chefs, who would occasionally bring out my dishes. He was much nicer and had an actual personality, unlike my waiter. Ironically, later I discovered that both myself and the table of businessmen thought the waiter was giving the other far more attention and felt we were getting slighted. (But really, I think they WERE getting better service.)
Seriously, the more I drank and the longer I had to wait to get food, the more I wanted to steal this guy. I would have, but only two tables had him. There was one at the entry podium as well, and I thought about swapping so I could nick mine, but that was too much effort for a memento taken in pettiness. Mostly meaning I thought someone would see.
My view while I ate--this is around 7:30, btw. And if you look at the right-hand view, you can see the church from a previous post--gives an idea how big it really is.
This was a tasting (below) that came out first. Oh, and we got a glass of champagne prior to dinner. I was asked if I wanted it before I saw the menu. That goddamn flute of bubbles was more expensive than the bottles I usually buy!
I know this looks like a pile of hay and you know, it very well may be. But that little guy in the middle is bread with smoked mayonnaise. It's very complicated to smoke because they do not have an oven. So they are little labors of love but very, very tasty.
The second tasting (yes, second tasting!) was Jerusalem artichoke with Icelandic mustard and chives. Very light, crisp and delicious. I could have eaten a little more...I was also quite taken with the bowl (kind of an earthenware pot) and the sexy little spoon. Small pleasures.
Bread! Also known as the prelude to the actual dinner segment beginning. Each had its respective butter but I wouldn't have known had I not asked the waiter. He reminded me of my old Commodore 64 mystery games--you just had to ask the right questions if you wanted to get anywhere. So the white (spelt?) bread got the herb butter and the maple bread (NOM) got the pine butter (the one in the back).
This is celeriac and herb cream with löjrom, cress, goat cheese and "earthy" rye bread. This was the first time one of the chefs brought the dish to me, and he explained that they go out into the forest and pick the herbs themselves. This is awesome and vaguely alarming, but all that matters is how nice it tasted. The thing on top is foamy, if you can't tell.
Here we have marinated shrimps, buttermilk and whey.
An even better view. The crunchy bits (the whey) were quite lovely.
This is the view of the kitchen, to my right. As you can see, not the biggest restaurant.
Next up! Scallops, carrots, sea buckthorn and pine, almonds and chevril. This was great, and the chef came and poured the sauce as part of the presentation. This was also about the time the waiter brought the 3rd wine over, a Chardonnay from France that was lovely, but I was too shocked to say anything when he brought the glass over with some already in it?! It was bizarre. So much for presentation on that count...
This one was one of the stars of the evening...potatoes and mussel salad with sour pearl onions, fried onions and "all kinds of DILL!" (Get it?)
But just a very sexy-looking dish, to start out with.
And quite nummy. I had to fight off the waiter from taking it before I was done, and then he stayed away for about fifteen minutes. *facepalm*
That was when I got bored and took more pictures of the scenery. As you can see, it is getting dark. Even in Iceland.
Veal, cheese and ramsons. Confit onion and fried vegetables. I really enjoyed him, but I also wish the dishes had been coming a little more rapidly. I was getting tired/bored, however good the dishes were. When *I* think the waiter is dragging his ass, you can only imagine just how impressive the down time was.
Yup, taking pictures of the glasses. That bored.
Darkness continues to fall in Reykjavik. I get older. The Earth rotates.
Another dish! YAY! This is "Skyr, fennel and Melissa." Your guess is as good as mine. It was cold and refreshing, very delicious, however cryptic.
God this was probably really good but I decided once and for all that I am NOT a beet person. I could barely get half of this down. It had great texture, color and presumably it tasted great to those who love beets. I was not enchanted. But for the record, this is red beets, honey and rosemary with sugar-fried hazelnuts and cake made with burned butter.
So that was dinner. I'm really glad I did it, even though I think that will have to be my birthday present to myself! (I wasn't counting on the wine pairings being a separate beast, but you can't NOT do them. I also felt self-conscious about being on my own, so got the 7-course instead of the 5.) Again, fuck it. If you're going to do it, do it right. (I will repeat this mantra while living in my cardboard box.)
You can probably perhaps start to appreciate how thin my patience had worn by the end of the night, so somehow walking 20 minutes home in a bitter wind was just too much to ask, hence the brazen request for a ride to the city center. Something I would never do back home in a million years, but somehow there it didn't seem out of line. (Particularly with wine-infused judgment, no doubt.)
I only got 2.5 hours of sleep, so though I felt fine in the morning (3.30am, thank you), I was soooooooooo tired I wanted to vomit. So I curled up at the gate.
And took a picture of the board. I mean, I had 2 hours to kill, didn't feel like eating, and Keflavik Airport is not friendly enough to provide wifi.
So I took one of these to Amsterdam and have been in Holland ever since. Pics of my new home to follow!