Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Mat Bar

Trendy Tapas Bar in Icelandic Style

May contain traces of advertisement.*

Mat Bar presents Icelandic cooking in a very modern style, internationally influenced mainly by the cuisine of Asia. For me this is very exciting and fascinating! Technically speaking, this is "fusion cuisine", i.e. a mix of various food cultures and a combination of traditional local ingredients and ingredients from other parts of the world. This Icelandic tapas bar offers mainly small dishes, but a big variety of them.

Unfortunately I had to fly back to Germany, before we had the opportunity to visit Mat Bar. So my husband, who was still in Iceland for hiking, had to go alone to this restaurant at the end of his trip. I would have liked so much to accompany him to Mat Bar. But I missed it. What a pity!

As recommended by the host, my husband ordered "Matbarsmáltið", the Matbar Meal, for 6.940 ISK (55 €, 65 $).

This meal is served only for dinner (not before 5 p.m.). It consists of 7 different courses, which variate according to the season, since always only the freshest ingredients are being used. (By the way, it's also possible to order a vegetarian variation of the meal or one with fish, but without meat.) For each course, when it is served, it is explained in detail, what you get.

Here the composition of courses my husband got, when he was invited in June:

The first two courses were served together.

As first course he got lumpfish roe with whipped ricotta, fermented chilli sauce and chives. This came together with traditionally Icelandic flatbread. My husband is not really a roe enthusiast. But this one, with hot chili sauce, he loved. And also the flatbread, which looke a bit burnt, was delicious, just due to the roasted spots.

The second course were grilled lambhearts with XO sauce (a spicy Asian sauce, which is based on dried seafood and dried ham), strained buttermilk and raspberry juice.

Course no. 3 was Þorskkinnar, a cod cheek with lemon kosho and pickled red onions, toasted breadcrumbs and sorrel.

This was followed by balsamic glazed red beets, celeriac and horseradish puree, grated chilli walnuts and spanish chervil.

The fifth and sixth course were the main dishes:

On one plate there was a big piece of lamb belly served with red onion and fennel coleslaw and (what you can see in the front of the picture) honeymustard seeds.

On the other plate there was grilled kale with preserved lemons, pickled chilli, pumpkin seeds and dulse.

For dessert almond granita (kind of a semi-frozen lemonade, similar to a sorbet) was served together with Icelandic strawberries, caramellized white chocolate, habanero and a sweet balsamic dressing.

"I did it! I'm completely full!" - that was the last message my husband sent me on this evening from Mat Bar. He sounded satisfied and totally impressed. We have to visit Mat Bar once again together, was his conclusion.

Now I myself would like to say something, too. I'm Ursula's husband. I was absolutely blown away by the meal in Mat Bar. Each course was such a great combination of various worlds of taste. The basis was always something originally Icelandic, which was then combined with a completely different taste. Roe with chilli sauce, lambhearts with fruity raspberry juice, and so on. And within seven courses, one experience of taste was followed by the next. After each of the first courses the waiter asked me, whether it was okay, and I could only praise the food enthusiastically. Later I had a smile over the entire face, so that there was no need to ask again. My enthusiasm was so obvious!


Little snacks like smoked almonds with dried olives or grilled flatbread with kale pesto cost about 900 ISK (approx. 7 €, 8.50 $). Vegetable dishes are around 1.500 ISK (approx. 12 €, 14 $) (e.g. grilled kale or grilled kale, grilled aspargus or braised fennel). The price of a seafood dish (e.g. lumpfish roe or grilled squid) is around 1.850 ISK (approx. 15 €, 17 $) in average. You can get the catch of the day for 2.850 ISK (approx. 23 €, 27 $). Meat dishes cost around 2.400 ISK (about 19 €, 22.50 $). And last but not least, the great Matbar Meal takes 6.940 ISK (55 €, 65 $) for its seven courses.

Mat Bar opens Tuesday to Saturday from 15.00 to 24.00. The kitchen closes on workdays at 22.00, on weekends at 23.00.

It's recommended to reserve a table, since Mat Bar is often well-attended.

* Legal note: 

Formally this article can be graded as advertisement, since we had been invited for the meal. Anyhow, we have chosen only restaurants, which we had heard good things about and which we estimated as interesting. Accordingly we're really delighted, and if we fall into words of praise, these are meant honestly.

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