A Classical Restaurant
Einar Ben stays true to Icelandic cuisine
In the highly competitive restaurant scene in Reykjavik, new, trendy places come and go on a monthly basis, whereas a select few have found their way into the Icelandic psyche and have been able to maintain the delicate mixture of class, comfort and top-class food that keeps customers coming back. Einar Ben is one of those select few.
Professional Yet Friendly
Upon entering the elegant hall on the second floor of a century-old gentry’s townhouse, it is easy to see why Einar Ben has become a staple in Reykjavik’s restaurant scene – it is completely free of pretense and excess whilst, of course, offering some of the best dishes in town.
The first thing you’ll notice is the professional, yet friendly, staff who take pride in catering to their visitors, as opposed to rushing in and out as many paying customers as possible in one night. The interiors are elegantly decorated, honouring the building’s rich history and when walking around the restaurant, you get the feeling you’re entering different rooms of a home, instead of bare and minimalistic dining halls. In fact, the restaurant is located in the former home of one of Iceland’s greatest heroes, after which it is named – Einar Ben, a poet and a pioneer who personified the dreams and ambitions Icelanders had in the beginning of the 20th century.
Classic Dishes With a Twist
All of this is, of course, a pleasant addition to what matters the most – the food. Philip Harrison, the English chef of Einar Ben, takes great pride in only using the freshest Icelandic materials, whenever possible and indeed when Icelandic Times dropped by Einar Ben’s on a cosy Sunday evening, a new delivery of game reindeer had just arrived in Reykjavik.
“Our dishes are based on the classics – the fish and the lamb. We’re proud of our menu and have no interest in following trends, which would ultimately compromise what Einar Ben stands for. The menu’s subtitle of ‘pure Icelandic’ refers to the ingredients, whereas the dishes are also based on French and Danish traditions. We pride ourselves on healthy portions and hearty sauces”, says owner Jóhann.
For starters, we were treated to a delicious langoustine & pumpkin soup, which set the mood for what was to come. The Arctic char served with a celeriac pureé, mashed potatoes and spinach proved that Jóhann’s claims of Einar Ben’s seafood expertise were not exaggerated – truly exquisite. The lamb loin served with crushed potatoes and parsnip pureé was cooked to perfection and shows what Jóhann means when he talks about the Icelandic lamb being the best in the world when cooked correctly. The skyr and ice cream desserts are not to be missed: true delicacies made with unique Icelandic ingredients, including freshly picked blueberries and rhubarb. Unwind at the Red Bar
The ‘red bar’ on the top floor is ideal for following a top class meal with a drink in a tranquil atmosphere. Those looking for a place to start a night of clubbing would be well advised to check out the red bar as well.