When Jo and I arrived back at the hotel on her birthday, we had no idea that Reykjavik had suffered from the same the kind of weather that we had experienced towards the end of our day in the Superjeep. But they had. And, as a result, the Grillmarket had suffered a power cut. At least, I assume that’s why the power cut had happened. Perhaps it was just one of those things. Whatever, our 8pm dinner reservation was out of the window. So, we turned our disappointed, and slightly damp, bodies away from what had promised to be a wonderful meal and back towards Lebowski Bar. Cheeseburgers and White Russians weren’t quite what Jo had had in mind for her birthday, but we knew that the cheeseburgers would be tasty and the White Russians would be… well, they’d be White Russians, wouldn’t they?
We pulled up a couple of seats at the bar and got chatting to one of the bar staff there, explaining what had happened at the Grillmarket. He sympathised with us and then promptly set about impressing us with lines from the Coen brothers film that gave the bar its name. As we sat there, y’know… abiding, it felt like a good thing. It was a good thing. A White Russian later, our cheeseburgers- just as good as the first time around- appeared and we were roped into participating in the movie TV show quiz that takes place every Thursday.
Well, it’s normally a movie quiz, but on this occasion, it was TV time. We didn’t do brilliantly, or at least not well enough to make the top three. But we left the bar a few hours later having been chatting to a couple of Arsenal fans, one of whom lived in New Jersey and is also a season ticket holder at Red Bulls Arena. Not the evening we’d planned, but nonetheless a lovely way to end what had been a brilliant day.
Friday was our last full day in Reykjavik, so we thought it was time to head to the top of Hallgrimkirkja, and get a different perspective on the city. Although I wasn’t so keen to spend 700 Kr on going to the top of a tower, it was actually alright. I mean to say, I guess, that I was actually alright- the views were pretty, preeeeetty, pretty good. Despite a fierce wind blowing through the open windows, I didn’t go weak at the knees or anything. I guess if I can stand 250m above ground at New York City’s Top of the Rock, then a mere 73m is just child’s play. That said, it was bloody freezing up there so we didn’t stay long.
As we left, snow arrived with a vengeance. So we took refuge, and some lunch in a streetside café. For some reason, despite being fully aware that Jo had managed to book the Grillmarket again for that evening and I was planning on having a steak, I decided to have a steak sandwich for lunch. It was very tasty, but my enjoyment of it was slightly dulled by the knowledge that I would be eating another one later in the day.
And so, to the Grillmarket. We arrived on time for our 9pm reservation and were delighted to take our seats to the strains of Curtis Mayfield’s Move On Up. Which was followed by Adamski and Killer (whatever happened to Adamski?)*. Cocktails were ordered and provided and we ordered our food. Service was friendly, instructive and- key thing for me- attentive without being intrusive. Jo wisely skipped a starter and proceeded directly to the Meat Gourmet- containing beef, lamb and duck. I shouldn’t have had a starter, but couldn’t resist trying Grilled Chicken Wings, with a homemade peanut butter and “popcorn”, literally deep fried sweetcorn. And you know what? I’m glad I did. You don’t get to try stuff like this every day.
I should say, in the interest of full disclosure, that by the time I finished my starter, I was already worried about how I was going to get the steak down me. A worry that was amplified when the steak arrived (with more cocktails)- they do proper portions over there, none of this 8oz crap. The steak had been grilled beautifully, they called it “medium”, but for me it was medium rare and all the better for it. Pink/ red flesh, melt in the mouth- a knock out blow. I was not going to waste it. In the end, I left a couple of curly fries and the asian style veg that had arrived went pretty much untouched. I felt bad about that, but not bad enough to risk missing a morsel of my most salubrious Rib Eye.
Probably should have left it there, but how can you have a meal like that and not have a dessert? All I could manage by then was the “Homemade Ice Cream Bliss”. Never had passion fruit ice cream before, I hope I will get the chance again, it was a real “oooooh!” moment. Just one of the four flavours on the plate, another was blackberry sorbet. Best ice cream ever- sorry Rome, it just was. Jo had the Grillmarket Chocolate- I didn’t try any of this, but it looked spectacular.
Jo excused herself and I asked for the bill. It came in at 26,000 Kr. This is equivalent to £140, but with service included. I have to say that I think, for the food we ate and the service we received, it wasn’t that that expensive. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be eating there every week, but as a birthday treat, it was proper value for money. The only kicker was that if I’d told the waiting staff it was Jo’s birthday, she’d have got her dessert for free. I didn’t really care, we’d have a beautiful meal in a lovely setting and that was all that mattered. It was a wonderful note to end our time in Reykjavik on.
The Blue Lagoon beckoned…
*There was also some Depeche Mode and The Clash.