Don’t Google your food while you’re still eating…

Review: Icelandic Fish and Chips restaurant, Tryggvagata 11 – The Volcano House, Reykjavík, fishandchips.is

Having read good reviews of this “organic bistro” as they call themselves, I was curious to try this place. Fish and chips are a very popular combination here in the UK, but often seen as a fast and cheap food that is usually very greasy.

At Icelandic Fish and Chips, the menu varies depending on what fish are available, and the fish is very fresh of course. The batter is spelt and barley, and the “chips” are more like potato wedges baked rather than fried and come in different varieties. They have also invented a whole range of “skyronnaise” dips. Basically they are doing a healthier version of this than what people might be used to.

My choice of what to order was quite difficult as there were many things I would have liked to try. They are quite clever to give lots of different options of fish, potatoes, side dishes and skyronnaise, meaning you could go back lots of times trying different combinations! I finally went with:

Wolf fish (sounded the most exotic one on the menu) with garlic potatoes, mango skyronnaise and an orange side salad.

As if it wasn’t embarrassing enough eating alone, I also just had to take pictures – the food both looked and smelled unbelievably good when it arrived. Luckily as I was there during a mid week lunch time there were only a few other people there!

My verdict – overall, it was probably the best “fish and chips” I have ever eaten. All of the flavours just worked really well together and it tasted fresh and healthy. If there was one of these near me I’d definitely be a regular customer!

Sitting on my own with too much time to think, I started wondering what wolf fish actually looked like, never having heard of them before. The fish was absolutely delicious and I just assumed it would look something like a cod or haddock, quite nondescript. So I was fairly shocked when this came up on my phone as the result of my Google search:

From oceanicresearch.org

Actually, “fairly shocked” is an understatement – I was horrified! How can probably the ugliest fish on the planet taste so good?? Unfortunately I was only about halfway through eating at this point and suddenly felt a little queasy. It clicked into place that the Icelandic word for these, as written on the menu and not taken in by me earlier, is “steinbítur” – stone biter.

From blog.icelandexpress.com

Steinbítur is a much more descriptive word for what they actually are than wolf fish! If I’d thought about it I would have wrongly assumed that a bed-dwelling fish would be horrible and not ordered it. It was a good lesson for me to try new things, not to assume something is going to not taste good just because I don’t like how it looks, etc. But do take my advice, if you’re going to Google your food don’t do it while you’re still eating it!

Hopefully I haven’t put you off visiting Icelandic Fish and Chips if you are in the area. The food was gorgeous and there will be a combination of flavours there to suit everyone. I highly recommend everything I had.

What’s the most startling thing you’ve ever eaten?

 

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38 thoughts on “Don’t Google your food while you’re still eating…

  1. yet t post 😉
    Hehehe.. the picture was great.. You know we eat disgusting stuff like that in Iceland, right!
    This is one of my favorite restaurants in Reykjavík, and the price is good 😉
    I would have to go with pig meat, personally.. it grosses me out.. in any kind of form, but thats just me, otherwise im always up for a “food challange”

    • Yes, I should also have mentioned that it wasn’t expensive for what was very good food! Funny that you like it too.
      I don’t see a lot of pig on Icelandic menus. I think that if you grow up eating a lot of something it doesn’t occur to you that it might be gross. I always think how disgusting eggs, milk and cheese would seem if you only came across them later in life!

      • I grew up eating it actually, its after i grew up,i know to much about pig meet.. thats why 😉 i used to work in a fish factory, all my teen years in the summer, and wiórking with fish.. well, i still eat fish, so its not for that kind of gross reasons 😉

  2. The most startling thing I’ve ever eaten? Stinky Tofu (that is an apt name, I’ve never smelled anything like it in my life), alligator (love it), eel, raw oysters (a Southern staple), and parts of the chicken that I didn’t think were edible. With fried fish, you can’t go wrong, it’s everywhere because it’s good.

    • Yep, all startling. You must come across some interesting food in your travels. I never understood chicken feet – there can’t really be any meat there? I’d be curious about the alligator. Stinky anything is pretty horrible, although some stinky cheese is good. I can see how if you only ever had very mild cheddar or similar it would just make you sick!

      • You’re right, there really isn’t much meat in chicken feet, but if you fry up twenty or so of them with onions and peppers, it can make for a really good meal. This is going to sound really cliched, but gator is like tougher poultry. It has to be slow cooked in order to eat it. It’s really popular on the Gulf coast (especially Louisiana) and southern Atlantic states. There are gator farms just like there is farm-raised salmon. Stinky tofu is the national dish of Taiwan, and I’ve only had it a couple of times (it must be an acquired taste). The smell comes from fermenting it for at least three weeks.

      • Yes, funnily enough in Jamie Oliver’s American cookbook he gives a recipe using alligator – most of us would just have to use chicken instead! Tofu is very healthy. For some reason it is very hard to find in England. We get something called Quorn which doesn’t taste as good in my opinion. And tofu is pretty plain tasting! Maybe that’s why they ferment it!

      • Fish was fresh and mild tasting. In England, it comes in such a greasy batter that you really don’t taste the fish! So I am very used to eating fish and chips but with a completely different taste.

      • Very true. I haven’t googled food while eating yet, thank goodness, but have when not eating for something I did eat. Wish I could remember now exactly what it was I googled, I don’t, but remember being a bit repulsed! LOL

    • Ooh that’s interesting, monkfish is popular here and I never knew what that looked like either! It’s the kind of thing people make for dinner parties and get in “nice” restaurants. Perhaps I’ll instate a “don’t look” policy for my food going forward.

  3. There is very little edible that I won’t eat. That said, one of my first jobs after college was was as an assistant manager in a pancake themed restaurant. I lost 25 pounds (11 kilos) in 4 months and I was not chubby to begin with. After I left there, it took five years before I could eat pancakes again and I love pancakes. And I love seafood.

    • So you really do get sick of foods you like if you have them all the time? I always think that if I worked in a food shop and just ate the chocolate bars all day that I still wouldn’t get sick of them! Same with Chinese – unfortunately. I’m a pretty picky eater in that if I like something I end up eating just that for a while because I can’t think of something I’d rather eat…then I get bored and have to move on to something else. I do need to get more into seafood as it is so healthy.

  4. In Norwegian this fish is called Steinbitt and it’s an extremely good fish! Before they used to throw it away, but then people discovered it and now it’s a “gourmet” fish.

  5. No Steinbítur isn´t cute! But it looks like it could be quite the character in one of those animated movies!
    And after reading this post I can´t wait to try this place when we go back home this summer!

  6. hmmm. I never thought of actually googling the fish I was eating. I understand so little about fish, come to think about it.

    I’ve also eaten there, at Icelandic Fish and Chips, also by myself (and, I wasn’t embarrassed – why should you be embarrassed? you need to eat!). I bought what I am pretty sure – but not certain – was the wolf fish, with the potatoes and salad.

    I would also recommend the place. But I didn’t quite understand why they put so much batter onto the fish – in my view, it doesn’t really enhance the taste. It also makes the fish itself quite oily. I’m not convinced it is the optimum way to prepare fish. I guess these are minor details, really, in the scheme of things, considering the meal cost less than £10. I’d definetely praise them for their innovation.

    Dont know if it just me – but I have generally found the restaurants in Reykjavik – particularly the expensive restaurants – generally to be disappointing compared with what you pay. On the other hand, up in the Westfjords, the food is cheaper and much, much better. Just my experience. If anyone has recommendations of good restaurants in Reykjavik i’d be really keen to hear from them!

    • I don’t know much about fish either, shame, as they are such a healthy thing to have. I should be more adventurous with cooking different fish at home.

      There is something embarrassing about eating out alone – I think it’s because it makes you realise what a sociable thing eating out usually is! But hey, those people will never see me again…

      I think that the batter goes against their “healthy” philosophy and image a bit and I’m surprised they don’t offer other options of fish that is either breaded or plain. I wonder if they will open any more of these? I can see it becoming a bit of a chain, as far as such things exist in Iceland.

      I’m not one for “posh” food so I avoid the expensive places anyway. Maybe people care out in the countryside more because they have fewer customers so need to keep them happy! It’s good that you have some really good restaurants out there. I’m looking forward to just eating whatever on our Ring Road trip, lunch is always a challenge in a day full of driving though so I can see it being a lot of lazy N1 pylsur.

  7. Hilarious…I’d eat it in a second…but we called them wolf eels in Alaska and they are actually very dangerous when loose on a fishing boat as I have cause to personally know. In Alaska they are not fished for commercially but are rather a dangerous pest that eats bait intended for Halibut or Cod or other more valuable species. Still…I ate a lot of different species up there that you don’t normally see in the grocery store and all of them were exceptional. I never once considered eating a wolf eel though…Hmmm wonder what else I missed out on.

  8. I just ate here in June when I visited Iceland. I didn’t realize it when I first started reading this but then realized that your picture looked just like what I ate. If you ever go again, get the langoustines…they’re like baby lobsters and you get a whole plate.

  9. I was tempted by the Meat Soup whilst there in one of there most iconic eateries.Just the thought of consuming it sounded mighty appealing,and with the price surfing around the £10 margin,my imagination ran away with me,i expected something like a mixed grill floating in a sea of tasty stock.Having waited a short time for my order,it duly arrived served by a very courteous waitress.Having taken two spoon fulls,the alarm bells rung out,i immediately contacted the R.A.F back in the UK and enquired if they would kindly despatch one of their recently acquired Drones to circumnavigate the diner i was nestled in and zoom in on my bowl to seek out any semblance of
    meat.
    Seven days later i received a bill for £270,000 for services rendered from the R.A.F for wasting their time,and a bottom line in italics stating”Meat absence without leave”

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