There has connected existed a close bisect amid Reykjavík and the greater Reykjavík area. For some of us, the distinctions amid bounded municipalities becloud into, well, Reykjavík. For others, 101 is abounding of burghal rats, 107 is for hipster snobs, the suburbs of Grafarholt don’t abide and Garðabær and Hafnarfjordur are hardly top the account of anyone’s favourite dining destinations. Stereotypes aural our babyish burghal aside, I accept to admit, I rarely go to Garðabær myself.
So aback rumours swirled about a cast new restaurant assertive to accessible appropriate by the bay in Arnanesvogur, already home to Garðabær’s docks, I was curious. The larch clad architecture steadily rose and as the communicable creeped up on us, it seemed like the restaurant wouldn’t accessible afterwards all.
But curiously, the communicable has alone spurred the aggregation on. Accessible aback May, Sjáland is acceptable one of the busiest restaurants in boondocks today. They’re accessible for lunch, feast and accumulated contest seven canicule a week, in accession to weekend brunches and albino blessed hours.
I’m greeted by chef Ólafur Ágústsson, already at the captain of Systir, Dill’s sister restaurant, and Kex Portland. Now the controlling chef at Sjáland, he says, “it’s been easy,” the transition. “When you airing into article like this and it’s absolutely new,” he continues, across-the-board his accoutrements beyond the all-inclusive dining space, “and you accept addition like Stefán [Magnússon] and he buys your account and brings on bodies like Rúnar [Pierre Herivaux] and Víðir [Erlingsson], it’s a abundant set up. Goes actual smoothly.” Rúnar has ahead formed at Grillið and is a Chef of the Year argent medallist. while Víðir has formed at KOKS and Reykjavik Meat. Together, they anatomy the amount of Sjáland.
“We capital a airy atmosphere, big adventurous flavours and simple food.”
Stefán is the restaurateur abaft Reykjavik Meat, Mathús Garðabær and Sjáland and it’s adamantine to absence his access on the interiors. The architecture too has accustomed a lot of absorption recently. Designed by Zeppelin Architects, the architecture is bashful on the outside, favouring an affiliation of the outdoors and central with across-the-board angle of the bay and a terraced roof, absolute for summer al adorn dining. Inside, the dark, smoked copse interiors, costly basement and Moooi Meshmatics chandelier actualize a corrupt atmosphere. (Enough to accomplish one balloon the draughty antechamber bar.)
The restaurant seats 90 and the feast anteroom an added 180. There are additionally affairs for a abate clandestine dining acquaintance for “more focussed menus,” Ólafur says.
Sjáland. Photo by Art Bicnick.
Sjáland. Photo by Art Bicnick.
Sjáland. Photo by Art Bicnick.
Sjáland. Photo by Art Bicnick.
“We appetite to do abundance food, maybe a bit elevated,” says Ólafur. “We appetite bodies to be able to adore a ‘fine dining’ experience,” he continues, authoritative air quotes, “without all the fuss. We capital a airy atmosphere, big adventurous flavours and simple food.” He additionally admits he’s never formed alone for this clientele.
“But you accept to apprentice a new rhythm. And you apprentice actual anon that diners actuality are far added ambitious and aboveboard than say in Reykjavik”. Rúnar confirms, “they are adventurous to allege their mind, which has been actual refreshing,” he says.
The menu, which has undergone several changes in its abbreviate life, absolutely reflects that vibe now. “It is kinda melancholia and kinda how we feel,” Ólafur confirms. There are copse accursed pizzas with assorted toppings (an anchovy potato pizza sounds enticing), a alternative of assorted proteins and as abounding desserts as capital courses. The pizzas are accessible for cafeteria and dinner. And if you’ve been black the accident of Hverfisgata 12, able-bodied you’re in luck as the pizzas actuality absolutely answer those pies. “It’s his baby,” Rúnar says pointing to Olafur, “he’s all about the pizzas.”
The kitchen sends out an array of starters—beautifully composed plates of smoked trout with candied fennel and preserved lemons, a bleared seafood soup with startlingly able-bodied adapted bounded shrimp and scallops, and a blood-soaked beet and fig carpaccio alternate with savoury thimbles of foie-gras crumbles. “I anticipate it’s the alone basin that has stayed,” Rúnar says of the carpaccio, “except for the pizzas.”
“As if to affirm artlessly how acceptable it is, my 7-year old chaotic the absolute basin to bolt every aftermost drop.”
The card and the wine account plays it safe and don’t veer appear staples favoured and I suspect, acerb dictated by the neighbourhood (plans are underway for a abreast wine card that will change shortly). It is a battle that plays out on your basin and belies the kitchen’s accomplished dining roots.
The aliment about tries to antithesis what I’ve appear to analyze as audibly Icelandic dining expectations with avant-garde flourishes. A beautifully adapted agilely absolute cod, is served with broiled cauliflower that is sneakily pickled as well. The halibut, from Nora Seafoods is abolished in a mysa-fermented banknote sauce. The vegan basin of broiled broccolini, pak choy and dukkah like seeds is all chaw and dust and I absolutely adore the black the barbecue lends them.
While in their antecedent avatars these chef’s pared bottomward the focus into distilled flavours, actuality “more is more” is absolutely the mantra. The rib-eye is expectantly blubbery and juicy, but the mashed potatoes alongside additionally accept brisket in them. The lamb is accomplished and the pickled alacrity jús carries the acidity that I’d been anxious for to cut through the affluence of the added dishes. Alarmingly, about every distinct basin is served with a assemble oil, the attendance of which I ascertain to be the accomplishment of a adolescent chef with an agog activate feel on the clasp bottle, although I catechism its attendance entirely. Given a little added time, I anticipate these kinks will be formed out eventually as they hit that stride amid army favourites and their own signatures.
I curiosity at the allocation sizes which are added than acceptable and the connected bonhomie in the dining allowance is an indicator of the diner’s beatitude and the alert active service.
I sit aback and admiration how abnormally abounding the restaurant is, how abundant the locals accept accepted their neighbourhood restaurant and ask myself if I’d leave the borders and comforts of Reykjavik dining for a meal actuality again. As if he’d apprehend my mind, chef Rúnar appears with a ambrosia that has, I admit, afflicted my mind. “You can’t leave after desserts,” teases Rúnar. He anxiously pours what seems like a gallon of chrism into an alert bank of skyr ganache brindled with arctic blueberries, rose petals, and bootleg granola. “It is for all the ammas,” Rúnar says and as if to affirm artlessly how acceptable it is, my 7-year old chaotic the absolute basin to bolt every aftermost drop.
Sjáland is amid at Ránargrund 4 in Garðabær. The arch chefs at Sjáland are Rúnar Pierre Herivaux, Víðir Erlingsson and Ólafur Ágústsson. Front of abode team; Almar Ingvi Garðarsson, restaurant administrator Styrmir Örn and Sigurður Borgar Ólafsson. Analysis out their website here.
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