Iceland Mag

4 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Matur & drykkur - Icelandic fare with a twist

By Sara McMahon

  • Bringing back the old Chef Gísli Matthías Auðunsson owns and runs the newly opened restaurant Matur og drykkur. He and his partners focus on traditional, Icelandic cuisine but serves it in a new and innovative way. Photo/Björn Árnason

Newly opened restaurant Matur og drykkur offers traditional, Icelandic dishes, but with a twist. The restaurant has quickly become a favourite among local and international gourmands.

 

Chef Gísli Matthías Auðunsson, Albert Munoz, and three sisters, Inga, Elma, and Ágústa Backman, own and run a newly opened restaurant simply called Matur og drykkur, meaning Food and Drink.

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Tasty cooked head of cod is one of Matur & drykkur's specialties. Photo/Björn Árnason

The eatery, located on Grandagarður 2 by the old harbour area in Reykjavík’s centre, opened for business in January and quickly became a favourite among local and international gourmands. The menu consists of traditional, Icelandic dishes such as hashed fish, cod liver, and the humble “pylsa” (hot dog) with all the trimmings, but served in new and innovative ways.

“Our goal is to make Icelanders proud of their culinary traditions. We all know how tasty Icelandic food is, but it can also be a lot of fun if prepared with care,” Gísli Matthías explains. “The idea to take traditional dishes and elevate them has been mulling inside my head for years. But the timing was never quite right. Not until now.”

Gísli Matthías’s enthusiasm for Icelandic cuisine is born out of pride, he says. He is proud to be Icelandic and loves the country’s culture, natural beauty and, of course, the food.

 “Our goal is to make Icelanders proud of their culinary traditions. We all know how tasty Icelandic food is, but it can also be a lot of fun if prepared with care.”

“As a young, up-and-coming chef, I almost felt it was my duty to promote Icelandic cuisine and help preserve the old culinary traditions. Also, I wanted to support local farmers and producers creating products according to old customs.”

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The decor is warm and inviting. Photo/Björn Árnason

Locally sourced and tasty

Matur og drykkur is not the only challenging endeavour this enthusiastic young chef has taken on. Together with his parents, Katrín Gísladóttir and Auðunn Stefánsson, and his sister, the artist Indíana Auðunsdóttir, he also runs the restaurant Slippurinn on Heimaey island, the largest in the Westman Islands archipelago.

Slippurinn embraces the same ideology as Matur og drykkur and focuses on locally sourced products. “Often you don’t have to look very far for something, it can actually be right in your back garden,” says Gísli Matthías with a smile.

Despite Slippurinn only being open during summer, it has become one of Iceland’s most interesting restaurants. Gísli looks forward to opening Slippurinn again this summer and does not fear the workload will become too much.

“I’ve got a great staff, both here at Matur og drykkur and in the Westman Islands, so I’m not worried it’ll become too much to handle.”

The menu at Matur og drykkur changes frequently and according to the season. Currently the menu includes “classics” such as halibut soup, a hot dog with all the trimmings, Icelandic flat bread with hot smoked trout and a tasting-menu for those who want to try a little bit of everything. Gísli Matthías says Icelanders have praised his take on beloved, traditional dishes, while foreign connoisseurs of food enjoy tasting something new and different.

Bon appetit!

Opening hours: Lunch from Monday to Sunday
Evenings: Thursdays to Saturdays

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