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The Gallery Restaurant

by Debra C. Argen
The Gallery Restaurant - Hotel Hólt - Reykjavik, Iceland
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The Gallery Restaurant, Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, Iceland - Tenderloin of Beef RossiniThe artwork at The Gallery Restaurant in Reykjavik perfectly complements the culinary artistry of Executive Chef Friđgeir I. Eiríksson, (Iceland's Candidate Bocuse d'Or 2007).


Edward F. Nesta and I had dinner at The Gallery Restaurant in April 2007, where we began the evening with a glass of champagne in the comfortable lounge chatting with Executive Chef Friđgeir I. Eiríksson before joining him for dinner in the restaurant.

It is not often that we have the opportunity to dine with a chef, so we really enjoyed the evening learning about Chef Friđgeir I. Eiríksson's culinary philosophy, his competing in the Bocuse d'Or in France often equated to the "Culinary Olympics," and his vision for The Gallery Restaurant since returning in April 2007 after spending five years in France at the Michelin-star restaurant, Domaine de Clairefontaine.

The Gallery Restaurant is  located in the Hotel Hólt built in 1965 by Thorvaldur Gudmundsson, and is still owned by the same family. Mr. Gudmundsson and his wife were passionate about Icelandic art, and the artwork at the Hotel Hólt is recognized as the largest privately owned collection in Iceland. The elegant fine dining restaurant features original Icelandic paintings on the walls, a wood tray ceiling, red carpet, and round tables draped with white linens and accessorized with white napkins rolled into impossibly tall towers, red Gerber daisies in tall art glass vases, and votive candles. The restaurant also has an impressive wine cellar with over 4,000 bottles of wine, and an outstanding collection of cognac, armagnac, and single malt whiskey.

We began our dinner with a heavenly Amuse Bouche of a rich Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with diced artichokes and a swirl of olive oil, served in a demitasse cup, and my only regret was that this portion was only a tease.

The Gallery Restaurant - Hotel Hólt - Reykjavik, IcelandFor our first course we had gorgeous local Langoustines with Red Pepper, Diced Zucchini, Coriander, and Fresh Ginger in a rich sauce with just the right amount of spice presented in a deep bowl and paired with a 2004 Jean Marc Brocard, Chablis Premiere Cru, Fourchaume, with light oak and citrus on the nose, and white peaches, and grapefruit on the palate.

The Gallery Restaurant - Hotel Hólt - Reykjavik, IcelandWe continued with a second course of Halibut with Capers, Olive Oil, and Lemon Sauce, presented as two pieces of seared halibut with a mélange of small-diced red and yellow pepper, and caper crown, that was garnished with a parsley leaf. Paired with a 2001 Château d'Agassac, Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Médoc, which was a delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a deep rich color, had ripe plums and spice on the nose, and a rich fruit and peppery finish, this course was another palate pleaser.

The Gallery Restaurant - Hotel Hólt - Reykjavik, IcelandEdward and I parted ways for the third course; he had Tenderloin of Beef "Rossini" with Glazed Root Vegetables and Madeira Sauce, which was Icelandic beef, truffles, and foie gras, wrapped in spinach leaves, rolled into a ball, dipped in egg, rolled in breadcrumbs, and then fried. The course was artistically presented with the "ball" cut on the diagonal to reveal the decadent contents on a pool of Madeira sauce, with potatoes and carrots, accompanied by a silver pick with smoked and salted beef tongue and foie gras. Chef Friđgeir I. Eiríksson explained that it was his idea to create a "chocolate Lion Bar" using the salted beef tongue and foie gras.

The Gallery Restaurant - Hotel Hólt - Reykjavik, IcelandFor my third course, I had Monkfish with Root Vegetables, presented on a square art glass plate as bronzed and glazed succulent monkfish with potatoes, carrots, and celery root purée with a drizzle of sauce. While savoring this course, I learned that the carrot is Chef Friđgeir I. Eiríksson's favorite vegetable.

The Gallery Restaurant - Hotel Hólt - Reykjavik, IcelandDessert was a creative presentation of chocolate croquante ice cream garnished with pretty chocolate swirls, and a chocolate "egg shell" filled with cream with a mango "yolk," paired with a luscious 1996 Tokaji Aszú, Sisznókő, Hungary, with caramel, peaches, spice, and a toffee finish. A selection of petit fours followed ending the evening on a delightfully sweet note.

The Gallery Restaurant is open daily for lunch from 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm, and for dinner from 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm.

Read the article in the Chefs' Recipes section where Chef Friđgeir I. Eiríksson shares his recipe for the Tenderloin of Beef "Rossini" with Glazed Root Vegetables and Madeira Sauce.

The Gallery Restaurant
Hotel Hólt
Bergstadastraeti 37
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:     +354-552-5700
Fax:                +354-562-3025

Please read other articles on Iceland in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, Fashion, and Adventures sections.

For information on Iceland, please visit the website: Icelandic Tourist Board: www.IcelandTouristBoard.com.

For information on Icelandair, please visit the website: Icelandair: www.Icelandair.com.

For information on Hertz, please visit the website: www.Hertz.com.

© June 2007. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.

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