Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Tapas Barinn - Reykjavik, Iceland


On our final night in Iceland we decided to visit Tapas Barinn, it was the last remaining restaurant on the list (if we discount Dill as we couldn't get a booking during our stay). I'd looked briefly at the menu before travelling and had noticed it to be quite extensive but hadn't really paid much attention to what was on it. Alongside the traditional tapas items such as patatas bravas, Spanish omelette etc you will also find Icelandic inspired tapas such as whale, rotten shark, puffins and some milder dishes.

As we were in town during the day we popped in and made a booking for later that evening at 7pm. When we arrived we were escorted towards the back of the restaurant in to another dining room, a deceptively large space which you wouldn't guess from the entrance. Although fairly quiet when we arrived literally 15 minutes later the restaurant was full, I'm glad we booked.

You'll find Tapas Barinn behind this guy (not D)

Each dish is given a number and the waitresses are happy to take the numbers rather than listen to tourists trying to pronounce Icelandic and Spanish words or recall the full name of the dish. We made a note on my phone of the dishes that we wanted to order, as the menu involved flicking through many pages we were struggling to remember what it was we wanted, I also noticed the table next to us doing this too.
All the driving had clearly tired D out

We ordered a carafe of red wine and some bread and hummus to keep us occupied until our first dishes arrived. The crust of the bread was very salty and I struggled to eat some of the saltiest parts, alongside the hummus was also an olive tapenade; currently one of my favourite bread accompaniments.

Bread, hummus and olive tapenade


Dishes are brought out when ready which usually gives you ample time to make room on the table for more, however when you're seated on a teeny tiny table even three dishes can make room limited. The first dishes to arrive were the Spanish Omelette, the beef skewer and the deep fried lobster.

The deep fried lobster was absolutely Divine with a crispy shell and the whitest of white meat inside. Served with aioli sauce I couldn't get enough of these treats.

Deep Fried Lobster

The Spanish omelette was a simple potato and egg based omelette but was done well and held it's own with no undercooked or overcooked egg. The salad served alongside with the crispy onions was a perfect accompaniment.

Spanish Omelette

I was a little disappointed by the beef skewer by the fact that it was so small! Sharing between us we only had one bite of the beef each before it was all gone. It was a little over done but still held some flavour. Served on such a large plate for such a small item they fluffed it out with copious amounts of cucumber.

Beef Skewer

Before we had finished any of the dishes more arrived, making our crowded table rather precarious as we balanced dishes alongside the edge and shuffled things around to make space. The dishes which arrived included lamb, patatas bravas and duck in sauce.

The patatas bravas were served naked with the sauce beside it, a new concept to me, I quickly poured over the tomato sauce and dug in.They were large patatas but fluffy in the middle and piping hot, so much so that I almost burnt my mouth (this is a regular thing for me as I'm so greedy I can't wait for food to cool down!). 

The lamb was a rack of served with a ratatouille of sorts and a sprinkling of coriander. It was cooked pink and to perfection, dividing it up was a difficult task as we both wanted so much of it. 

Rack of Lamb


The duck was in a sauce of root beer and orange. I'm sorry to say that it was the worst dish of the meal, the duck was rubbery and bordering on cold. Thankfully there wasn't too much to eat otherwise I think we would have struggled to have finished this dish. 

Duck in root beer and orange sauce Patatas Bravas in the background


The staff we friendly and very attentive, they were everywhere but not obviously so. The space for couples was a little crowded with us feeling like we were adjoining to another couple they were sat so close, we could hear every word of their conversation and that made me conscious of ours. 

Overall it was a really good meal and a fantastic end to our final night in Iceland, I was glad we had saved it until last. I'm torn whether I should have taken the plunge and ordered the puffin, mink whale etc surely in a small tapas style dish it wouldn't have been too hard to swallow... but then the literature I've read makes me glad I didn't. To sum it up most of what I have read has said that the Icelandic no longer eat these dishes, as they no longer need to with the export and import trade, and instead these animals are only still being hunted to please the tourist trade. That doesn't sit quite right with me. 

The bill is presented in a little chest at the end of the meal

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