Earth Cooking Done Right

Geothermal ovens on porch of Icelandic “earth cooking” eatery

I have to admit that ever since I read about putrefied shark being an Icelandic delicacy, I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to experience the local cuisine. And I have to say I was rather unimpressed with the food in Reykjavik. It was overpriced, and nothing really to write home about.

Gladly when we set out on our own in the country, that all changed. And the first place that really caught my attention was Kjot og Kunst, in sleepy little Hverageroi. It’s less than an hour away from the capitol, but it’s a world away from the cosmopolitan trappings of the big city.

There are only five or six restaurants here, but this one really caught my eye as they advertised “earth cooking”. I was intrigued, and it turns out that they have harnessed the geothermal power that lies beneath them, and they cook their baked goods and many of their entrees on steam powered brick ovens on the front porch. And if you like, you can even watch Chef Olafur prepare your meal outside.

The menu presented a wide variety of traditional and contemporary offerings, but I went for the special, which was a baked chicken breast stuffed with peppers, tomatoes and onions. It was served with a roasted potato and some carrots, and it was easily the best meal I’ve had in Iceland.

Charles chose the more traditional fish balls with onion butter. Although he expected some heavy breading, he was pleasantly surprised when the server presented him with a plate full of lightly sautéed fish chunks, sans the breadcrumbs he expected (and dreaded). It was also served with a roasted potato, as well as a sizable salad.

All I can say is yum.

Although these folks serve up a scrumptious dinner, they also offer a nice selection of soups, sandwiches and desserts at lunch time.

Even better, they have good wheelchair access, with ramp access up to the front door, a zero-step entry and plenty of room to navigate a wheelchair inside.

So all in all, Kjot og Kunst gets a big thumbs up from me for food, atmosphere and access.