I chose the Icelandic Gourmet Feast, which proceeded as follows:
- First a shot of the infamous Icelandic spirit Brennivín
- Lamb tenderloin in licorice-sauce
- Smoked puffin with blueberry “brennivín” sauce
- Pan-fried blue ling with lobster sauce
- Icelandic arctic char with candy beets salad, asparagus and elderflower-hollandaise
- Lobster tails baked in garlic
- Minke Whale with sweet potato mash and malt sauce
- Grilled Icelandic lamb tenderloin with beer-butterscotch sauce
And For dessert.
- White chocolate "Skyr" mousse with passion coulis
The meal was expensive (14980 ISK, about $180 for two), but the cooking was good, and service was friendly and mostly unobtrusive. The fish dishes were particularly good.
There are of course, a couple of controversial items on the menu. But in the interests of research, I was prepared to take the heat.
For the record, Smoked puffin is not especially remarkable (rich and salty, but overpowered by the sauce), and there is very little puffin in the portion. There is a very short and controlled hunting season for puffin in Iceland, and whilst the birds have been a source of food for generations of Icelanders, nowadays puffin is said to be mostly eaten by tourists. Atlantic puffin numbers are healthy but there is a threat to breeding numbers from reduction in habitat.
The Minke whale is more problematic. Iceland takes about 250 whales per year. The whalers say that the number is sustainable. Opponents of whaling claim that very little whale meat is eaten by Icelanders (reportedly 1% say they regularly eat whale). Again the claim is that the meat is mostly eaten by tourists. It is likely that at least some whale meat is exported. Frozen Minke whale steaks can though be found in supermarkets. The whale meat served was very tasty, with a rich almost beefy taste. I thought it was very good.