Scan Magazine, Issue 80, September 2015

Page 110

2_1_ScanMag_80_Sep-Oct_2015_Q9_Scan Magazine 1 15/09/2015 19:40 Page 110

Scan Magazine | Restaurant of the Month | Iceland

Restaurant of the Month, Iceland

Iceland by taste buds In Café Loki, a restaurant that overlooks the beautiful church Hallgrímskirkja in downtown Reykjavík, is a painting that portrays the story of Loki Laufeyjarson found in the Eddas, braiding in characters from which nearby streets take their names. Café Loki, its name deriving from the street of Loki, is a restaurant that specialises in premium-quality traditional Icelandic food. By Ingunn Huld Sævarsdóttir | Photos: Jo ́n Pa ́ll Vilhelmsson

The couple, Hrönn Vilhelmsdóttir and Þórólfur Antonsson, had been living with the back view of Hallgrímskirkja. After a photo exhibition they held in the church, the idea of opening up a restaurant serving the people coming to view the church and greet the statue of Leifur Eiríksson was born. “We had visited other countries and enjoyed getting to know their cuisine, but this was something we felt was lacking in Iceland,” says Vilhelmsdóttir. “You can’t just keep on talking about wanting to see this happening while waiting for others to step out and do it.” A designer by trade, Vilhelmsdóttir brings a unique angle to the table and has put together a creative menu that encompasses

110 | Issue 80 | September 2015

Iceland’s cuisine in a traditional yet fresh way. She has an unmistakable passion for sharing her legacy with travellers coming to Iceland. “People travel with their taste buds – it’s a way of experiencing the country, because it’s not just about the weather and the mountains,” she says. “We want to help people get to know Icelandic culture through quality cuisine.” Coming from a creative field, Vilhelmsdóttir says that using her creativity in Café Loki has been a fun experience. With visual menus, she says she enjoys seeing costumers talk over photos while ordering, not just reading and deciding without knowing what their dish is going to look like, ordering something blindly, if you

like. She has built good relationships with customers who come back with a photo asking for “the same dish, please”. Vilhelmsdóttir and her family have been bold to stick to their special thing, not following the masses but staying true to what they started out with. Moreover, they have dared to think outside the box in terms of their desserts, made from local ingredients such as Icelandic skyr, and Café Loki is famous for its rye bread ice cream. “It’s a very old recipe and also comes from the mindset of centuries of housewives thinking practically about how to be efficient,” the restaurateur explains. Today we would probably call it organic.

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