I was introduced to Café Loki in a most intriguing way. When asking for advice about Iceland, I received a tweet urging me to have the rye bread ice cream at Café Loki. That piqued my interest! But rye bread ice cream? I’d never heard of such a thing! My reaction was: hmmm … I’m not so sure about that … it sounds a little too bizarre. But then I went online and found many people extolling the virtues of this unique dessert. OK, it’s settled, I’m going to Café Loki!
Mom didn’t share my newfound enthusiasm. As she gets older, she’s become much less adventurous in her palette. Try as I might, mom was having none of it. Though I didn’t leave her much of a choice; I was too intrigued not to go.
Café Loki is in a perfect location, just across from Hallgrímskirkja in the Reykjavik city center. Hallgrímskirkja is a church whose unique architecture has made it the most iconic structure in Iceland. Café Loki has a front row view from right across the street. Postcard perfect!
The cuisine at Café Loki is traditional Icelandic. I had a combo plate of smoked trout, mashed fish and, of course, the famous rye bread ice cream. Both of the fish were served atop rye bread. The smoked trout was similar to smoked salmon and, as with all the seafood I had in Iceland, extremely fresh. The mashed fish sounded a bit outside of my seafood comfort zone, but I was delightfully surprised. It was a delicious bite that had an unexpected and tasty creaminess. Mom had the herring on rye bread, which was beautifully plated.
The rye bread served in Iceland is quite different from rye bread in the U.S., which is made with caraway seeds. Here it is dark and rich with a hint of sweetness. It is dense, but surprisingly moist. If only rye bread was made like this at home! Café Loki’s bread is slow-baked overnight, which gives it a rich depth of flavor. Traditionally, Icelandic rye bread has been baked in the ground, taking advantage of Iceland’s abundant geothermal hotspots.
As much as I enjoyed the fish, I was here for one thing—rye bread ice cream! I couldn’t wait to savor my first bite. I dipped my spoon in along the edge to experience the full flavor of the ice cream solo before adding in the luscious whipped cream. One bite and I was hooked! It was delicious. The rye bread gives a hint of chewiness as well as another sweet layer of complexity to the flavor. I believe there were some shaved bits of chocolate as well. It was topped off with a generous serving of whipped cream (and a drizzle of rhubarb syrup, which I had asked to be left off).
Now it was mom’s turn. She was still skeptical despite my obvious enjoyment and tried to pass, but I wasn’t taking no for an answer. Mom admitted that it tasted surprisingly good. Though she doesn’t have a big sweet tooth, and I failed to convince her to order one of her own.
We had a lovely lunch, and I’m very grateful to the random Twitter follower who enthusiastically insisted that I go to Café Loki. As a matter of fact, later that day, when I was wandering the shopping streets solo, I found myself not far from Café Loki, so I treated myself to another ice cream. And I wasn’t the only one intrigued. When I bent down to say hi to this stunning kitty, she only had eyes for my ice cream. She definitely has good taste!
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
+354 466 2828