Matur og Drykkur is a medium sized place located in an old salt fish factory built in 1924 that now also houses the Saga Museum. The name means “food and drink” and they specialize in Icelandic food with a modern twist. American music plays in the background of this lively spot, where it was packed on a weekday evening. The bare wood tables are slightly spaced and there are also 6 seats at a bar in front, near the open finishing kitchen. Soft warm lighting is pleasant but can effect the food colors and the nice cloth napkins are way too small. Reservations are for a 2 hour block and they did turn the tables but rushing would be difficult with the slow pacing. Service was friendly but disorganized – they brought the wrong plates a couple times and you’d notice someone doing the same tasting menu who was behind you and then ahead as their food came out more rapidly. They do offer 3 different tasting menus as well as an a la carte menu.
We chose the Icelandic tasting and bought our own bottle of wine. While waiting for our first course they brought out warm herby soft bread, which was super moist, to snack on.
The first course was a mixed plate for the table to share. The double-smoked lamb was served alongside a dollop of buttermilk and nutmeg cream. The lamb was very dry and so did need this topping, but overall it was chewy, salty and fine. The trout smoked in sheep’s dung was served on a toasted flatbread and adorned with horseradish. The trout was also smoky and worked well with the crisp cracker. The dried fish was served with whey butter and pickled dulse (seaweed like product). The fish was really dry, almost like cardboard and really needed the topping to make it work. The combination was interesting, texture and taste wise.
The salted lamb and lentils were presented on a smear of onion purée. The shreds of lamb tasted strongly of lamb, in a good way. The lentils were studded with 3 crispy chips that were supposed to be of different content but tasted very similar to me. However their crispness was perfect to pair with the lentils. A very good course.
The “Halibut” soup is presented with the solid ingredients in the bowl – mussels, apples and raisins – surrounded by a dill sauce. Then a creamy broth is added to the bowl. This creamy broth was really good and worked well with the chunks of apples but I found the raisins jarring to the taste. The mussels were nice but I would have preferred a bit more fish.
The lamb was cooked a medium rare and plated with rutabaga, fried kale, and crowberries. The lamb was slightly dry and tough with too many gristly bits, the fried kale was fun, crispy and tasty but way too greasy, the rutabagas were watery and not so good and the crowberries were one dimensional. Not a savory selection.
The skyr was served with frozen blueberries and topped with crumbles. The skyr had the consistency of warmed cream cheese and provided a nice sweet fix. The chewy fruit and crunchy topping added a good bit of texture contrast and a bit of sweetness. A good one here.
Icelandic twisted donuts were topped with sugar and served on caramelized whey. They were tasty but not nearly sweet enough for me. It sounded and looked more satisfying than it was.