Dinner – Wednesday, February 21, 2018
We first heard rumblings about Dill when it was still run by its founder, Gunnar Karl Gíslason. However, he decamped to NYC to open Agern with Claus Meyer (we were actually rather disappointed we missed it on our last trip there), and the kitchen is now headed by Ragnar Eiríksson. He’s obviously not doing too badly, as the restaurant became Iceland’s first to claim a Michelin star in 2017. This was our last dinner in Reykjavik, and we had a few years of anticipation to fulfill.
The menu began with three snacks: (1) rye crackers, smoked cod roe, dill powder; (2) malted barley crackers, angelica, dried wolffish; (3) Dried monkfish, black garlic, herb emulsion. All were pleasant, with the first being our consensus favourite.
The next set of snacks highlighted the restaurant’s program of drying and preservation of roots: (1) radish with pickled rose; (2) beet and tarragon; (3) parsnip with herbs; (4) salsify, dill, breadcrumbs.
Pickled celeriac and Iceland mussels
Salted cucumber, dulse, watercress, yogurt
Sunchokes, skyr, dill oil
Salted fennel, vegetable broth, dung-smoked trout
Sticky, sweet, umami, salty – this bowl was all that and more. The grated trout was essentially an Icelandic version of bottarga or karasumi, with an added element of smokiness. A little over the top, but excellent.
Pickled white cabbage, onion, chive oil
My dish of the night. The cod had an amazing creamy texture, up there with the best Spanish bacalao. However, the pickled cabbage and onion marked the style as distinctly Nordic – the combination of all the ingredients was superb.
Parsley, parsley root, red wine vinegar
“Milk and cookies”
Milk ice cream, syrup biscuits, whey curd, wheatgrass oil
Cream, crowberries, dill oil, toasted yeast
The use of yeast added another dimension to an already excellent combination of earthiness and astringency. The cream mellowed out the other components and brought it all together – fantastic.
This was a good meal – the star from Michelin seems well-calibrated. Based on our other meals in the city, I’m not surprised that it’s Reykjavik’s “best” restaurant (harsh but true – standards in the city haven’t yet caught up with other Nordic capitals). Certainly, given how eye-wateringly expensive Iceland is, this was our best-value meal by far. My understanding is that Ragnar Eiríksson is now departing to open another venture – I’m looking forward to how the next chef at the helm will continue to evolve and grow Dill.