The Laundromat, Reykjavik 01-2018

I had listed The Laundromat as a place to eat breakfast in Reykjavik. The dirty breakfast does have all the elements that would make a memorable morning meal but the price at 2990ISK was a little prohibitive. Nonetheless it's a very cute place with the walls plastered with photos of laundromats with their signs saying Laundromat from around the world. It's definitely a nice touch.

There are plenty of people have food, drinks or playing on Macbooks in the cafe and the shelves are adorned with old books.

Coffee (I'm told) was good and they even re-steamed my dad's one to make it extra hot.

I was interested in the chai latte but the waitress told me it was sweet and made from powder, so I can only assume that it is as far from the chai I like as could be. It did allow me to order a Beetroot smoothie 1090ISK with its thick red colour and smooth texture revealing clear notes of beetroot, sweet berry, banana and coconut. It was remarkably good.

Hali Country Hotel 01-2018

During the 4 day, 3 night tour of the south coast, I had planned for one "luxury" (ie. very expensive) night in a hotel. I chose Hali because it was the pickup point for the planned Ice Cave tour the next morning (even though it was cancelled that night). Nonetheless the location was good for exploring but I'd probably choose one of the cheaper venues in the area next time knowing what I know now.

The 2 bedroom apartment actually had a nice kitchen and dining area so it was a shame not to take advantage of that with the location along the beach (albeit dark and cold). But along with the luxury stay, I planned a luxury dinner at luxury prices just for the one evening. I was a little surprised to find that Hali is more of a farm rather than any kind of fine hotel. The dinner menu was small but seemed to take advantage of some local (ie. a hundred metres away) produce. In fact, the lamb all congregated in the pen next to the apartment.

- Selection of langoustine tails (with toast, salad, garlic sauce) 6200ISK - a very disappointing version of these tails with a decent flavour but very mushy texture. Considering it is the premier seafood item and the most costly on the menu, this was very unfortunate;
- Arctic Char Combo from the farm Hali (with bread, salad, garlic sauce) 4300ISK - smoked char was very mild in smoke and flavour and similar to salmon in texture. The steamed char was also similar to a much thinner and slightly less meaty salmon and was cooked well and very soft. It was excellent;
- Grilled Lamb from the farm Hali (with potatoes, gravy, vegetables, homemade rhubarb jam) 4800ISK - reasonably tender but very salty. Not the best showcase of the national meat;
- Hot chocolate cake 1500ISK - really excellent with firm outside and soft molten chocolate inside, quite sweet and very chocolate-y. The icecream was quite standard and balanced the heavy chocolate well.

A double shot bottle of brennivin (Black Death) 1500ISK was sampled with its mild sweet and aniseed flavour. I can't imagine pairing it with fermented shark. Maybe it's just an Icelandic thing.

Overall the food was ok but seemed quite poor for value. Due to the cost of restaurants around the country, I didn't eat out at too many Icelandic restaurants and so it is difficult to gauge the direct comparison however I definitely had better lamb at a buffet and langoustine bits at Grillmarkadurinn. There isn't much other choice in the area so if I had the apartment again I'd cook and enjoy the lovely living/dining area there instead.

The next morning the included breakfast buffet had a large selection of muesli/cereal, cold meats and cheeses, and hot food. The hot food was clearly my favourite with average scrambled eggs, some tasty bacon, baked beans and frankfurts. The bread was warm and freshly baked to soak up the food. I wished there was options of fresh fruit but unfortunately they only had what appeared to be diced fruit in sweet syrup, ie. from a can.

Icelandic Street Food, Reykjavik 01-2018

Looking for a reasonably priced meal in Iceland is difficult. Considering the numerical figure of prices in ISK have gone up and that the exchange has increased in their favour by about 40% in the past 5 years, there's no wonder it has probably overtaken the other Scandinavian countries in terms of expense.

$30 for an entree and $50 for a main? Sure. That's standard.

Anyway there's street food to find (whether from booths or actual sit-downs) and this place is one of them. They serve soup in a bread bowl with unlimited refills. And the staff aren't disgruntled about overzealous drinkers - they refill happily and if your bread bowl is near death or destruction then the refill comes in a bowl. Simple.

- Traditional lamb soup in a bread bowl ISK1890 - a deeply heartening soup with strong salty flavours and tender soft chunks of lamb. Truly lovely;
- Shellfish soup in a bread bowl ISK1890 - a creamy bisque with tiny prawns and lucky pieces of soft scallops. A complete different flavour to the lamb (obviously) but equivalently excellent;
- Fisherman's fav ISK2000 - I'm not sure if they offer free refills of this but you can get more bread. The rye slices were unusually sweet - perhaps that's how they have it here. The actual dish is a mash of cod and potato. It's alright but the soups are better (and cheaper).

It's easy to see why people flock here in the humidity to fill themselves with soup. There is also some little chocolate pastries, chocolate lollies and some licorice to finish for free.