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A Taste of Iceland at The Drake

Last night I had the chance to get a sneak preview of the menu that the Drake Hotel are running from March 17 - 20th... A Taste of Iceland.

Chef Thor Eggertsson from Orange Restaurant, Reykjavik (alongside Chef Anthony Rose of The Drake) has orchestrated a special 4 course "Let's Go Crazy" Prix Fixe... all for $42... and it is pretty damn good.

It's certainly molecular gastronomy... but it actually tastes bloody great as well... what a novel concept!

Breakfast of Champions-
Langoustine, Jerusalem Artichokes and Pumpkin

Decode-
Fresh Code, Estragon Egg, Pumpernickel and Herbs

Rudolph Goes 2 The Olympics-
Reindeer In Pecan Nuts, Cauliflower, Root Vegetables and Madeira

Duck-In-A-Tub
Chocolate Duck, Vanilla and Pineapple X3

Highly recommended... I'll be going back next week with the GF as I have been raving about it all night.

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  1. This actually sound pretty fab... thanks for the heads-up.

    And are the doing the same menu next week (was it really that good!),or are they switching things up?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Rabbit

      Yes... same menu from the 17 - 20th

      I was just lucky enough to be in on a preview tasting.

      Here are some pics:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/20066223...

      God, i need a new camera though!

      1. re: Non Doctor

        Ah, early morning and I missed that you said it was a preview.

        Food looks great and the evening looks fun. One more question... what is code? The word is too common for me to get any satisfaction from google.

        1. re: Rabbit

          Ahhhhh... I guess it was a little too early for me too!

          It's COD

          But the dish was named "Decode"

          Probably my favourite part of dinner.

          1. re: Non Doctor

            Ha!

            I thought it was a fish, but I wondered if perhaps it was an exotique Icelandic fish that I didn't know. Cod/code... dinner still sounds great. Thanks for the report.

    2. i wonder if they will have any hakarl to taste....

      2 Replies
      1. re: Pigurd

        If they did have it, I would only eat it if there was a large supply of Brennivin near by! The stuff is as nasty as it sounds....

        For those that don't know what hakarl is, it is putrefied shark. Brennivin is an Icelandic schnapps that is usually drunken right after eaten hakarl.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hakarl
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenniv%...

        I didn't get a chance to eat "Icelandic" food much in Iceland because of the price, (except for their version of "cheap eats) but the menu does sound interesting. Would be nice to have some Skyr there too (an Icelandic cheese that tastes like yogurt and is eaten as such there with flavouring,etc)

        1. re: ylsf

          Isn't hakarl the antidote for Brennivin? That stuff is really nasty!

          But don't know why skyr hasn't made it (except to Whole Foods on Eastern Seaboard) - what a great NATURAL product.
          Locavores be damned!

      2. Dont they eat puffin in Iceland? Would have liked to see that on there! I always wanted to try reindeer though so I might try to hit this

        4 Replies
        1. re: bobbob911

          Reindeer aren't actually indigenous to Iceland (not that it matters really-just FYI).

          To try reindeer (which is delicious), you should travel to Lapland. Even better-go eat it with the Sami. It had actually quite a distinctly different taste than caribou from Northern Canada. A little sweeter. Delish.

          Puffin is indeed consumed in Iceland and it can be tasty if prepared correctly. Its likely impossible to bring it across borders to taste here.

          This sounds like an interesting dinner-am away until mid-week but when I return, will try to check it out. Love Icelanders.

          And yes, hakarl is not for the faint of heart-not to my taste but the Brennivin is just crazy ass fun!

          SWS

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            When I was in newfoundland last year I asked around to see if any restaurants served Puffin (there are many Puffin rookeries off the east cost of newfoundland). I received more than one shocked look of horror :)

            1. re: bobbob911

              We were more circumspect - but did get to try the puffin in Iceland.
              Full report here:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/614217

              1. re: estufarian

                This is the fellow who is cooking...

                http://www.orange.is/

                He's quite well respected.

                And very pleasant also.

        2. Did anyone else go and try this menu? Heading there on Friday.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ylsf

            I was there last night and really liked it-- I think my favourite course was the langoustine. It was all quite rich. The place was packed, and it seemed like most people were ordering the Iceland menu. I think this is the first time I've eaten out somewhere and had more than three other patrons stop, look longingly at what course we were on, and interrupt to say how much they'd just enjoyed it.

            1. re: Manybears

              Thanks for the update, we are eating in the "bistro" part tonight (which is the cafe) since the main dining room was already booked up. Did you try the special drinks? On paper they sound really interesting so I am really curious about those.

              1. re: ylsf

                I did have a "ring road" which was more dry than I was expecting and not bad, but not anything special. If you like a lot of high-drama in your drink, however, the visuals on the other one (sorry, I forget the name of it) are quite something-- I didn't taste it though. Hope you have a great night!

              2. re: Manybears

                I loved that description, "look longingly...interrupt...", Manybears!

                Sadly, that was not our experience this evening (Friday). Everything was fairly well executed but kinda lacklustre in taste. It bothers me that all dishes were served lukewarm. Why bother pouring the soup at the table (from a reused 2% milk carton?!?!) when it's tepid? The molecular gastronomy highlight was the geyser mint-blueberry cocktail which was very tasty and fun to watch. It is not clear how the liquid nitro worked in the choc mousse rubber ducky dessert as there was no bubbling or dry ice "steam".

                Nice touch to serve bread with ricotta + chile flakes. Is that a Drake thing?

                Mugison put it best (on stage later in the evening) when he summarized the dinner as "overpriced crap". It must have been an off night. Maybe no chefs in the kitchen? Or is Icelandic food supposed to be this subtly flavoured? I'd give the whole meal a 7.5 out of 10.

              3. re: ylsf

                ylsf, what did you think of the meal on Friday?

              4. We ate there tonight, and all three of us thought it was great. The value for money was excellent, especially if you factor in the saved plane fare to Iceland. The comment about all three of the non-dessert courses being served luke warm was accurate, and I usually hate that, but somehow this time the taste and presentation won me over. The reindeer steak, in particular, was tender and delicious.

                This was our first time at the Drake, and there were some interesting occurences. First of all, when I made the reservation on Wednesday, the only time slot available for the whole of Saturday evening was 6 o'clock. In fact, however, the dining room was no more than 10% filled by 7 o'clock, and was less than half full when we left at 8. Do they have a problem with their reservation system, or could this possibly have been deliberate (couldn't handle a full room with this menu)?

                Second, there seemed to be an almost infinite number of wait staff. We were seated near the door to the kitchen, and It honestly seemed that every course to every table was delivered from the kitchen by a different person, and this went on for almost the full two hours we were there. It was amazing to see.

                Thanks to Non Doctor for the recommendation -- we would never have gone without it.

                1. Non Doctor, I'm so curious to know if you went back to enjoy dinner with your GF. If so, what did you both think of the meal?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Food Tourist

                    I was planning to but the week got really crazy and I ended up on a culinary tour of Prince Edward County that weekend.

                    Shame.

                    I would have loved to have made it back.