MAR Restaurant is a brand new restaurant that just opened by Reykjavík harbor, on December 7th 2012 to be exact! The interior was designed by HAF by Hafsteinn Júlíusson and the tableware by the ceramic artist Guðný Hafsteinsdóttir. Interestingly in the entrance of the restaurant there is a really neat and cosy design boutique, Mýrin that sells lovely icelandic design.
The concept of MAR Restaurant is to infuse cuisines from France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Brasil and Chile with fresh Icelandic ingredients. Their menu is split between launch, day and dinner menu and offeres variety of seafood, meats, vegetarian and of course deserts.
Now let’s get down to business and check out what they offered us. First up was a sample course of fish croquettes served with tomato jam, dill and anise, where the sweetness of the jam and the fish worked really well together, a simple yet very tasty sampler.
Our first starter was plaice ceviche with oranges, popcorn, red onions and peppers. This dish was really fresh with a little bit of sweetness from the oranges and worked perfectly with the plaice, however the popcorn did not do anything for the taste of the corse it was more of a fun visual twist of the original course.
Second starter was a lovely wild mushrooms risotto with pan-fried lobster, where the risotto was just spot on cooked with rich flavor of wild mushrooms and very tasty, however the lobster was a little less exciting and lacking in flavor and in our opinion could have done with a little less time on the pan.
Last starter we tried out was the seafood soup with mixed seafood. The soup itself was really good, with hint of lobster and perfectly salted, however it seems that the seafood as scallops and lobster had a little too much time to cook in the soup and was getting a little bit too cooked.
For the first main course, we were served was parma wrapped monkfish fennel salad, sweetcorn and pepper sauce, a well presented course, where the fennel salad owned the dish and took us by surprise but otherwise a little dull in our opinion where we’ve seen the wrapping of fish in bacon or parma a thousand times.
Now for the best dish of them all, the salted cod or Bacalao with zucchini, rocket salad and plums. A spot on dish where the sweetness of the plum sauce worked brilliantly with the saltiness of the cod. The dish was well presented and had a nice contrast, both in colors as well as in taste.
Last main course was a slow cooked rib – eye steak with cabbage, mushrooms and red pepper sauce which turned out to be our least favorite dish of them all, the meat was slow cooked for 6 hours and it turns out that it was just plainly over cooked and the dish it self was no eye-candy at all.
For deserts we got a platter of all courses of their deserts menu, coconut and rice pudding, creme catalana, sorbet and fruits and warm chocolate cake. Where the coconut and rice pudding was the most interesting one and gave your taste buds a ride for your money. Over all the deserts, no matter which one you’d choose wouldn’t disappoint!
For the dinner menu, starters range from 1.750 ISK / 14 USD to 2.500 ISK / 20 USD, main courses 3.850 ISK / 30 USD to 5.300 ISK 42 USD and deserts from 1.350 ISK / 11 USD to 1.690ISK / 13 USD which is pretty standard pricing in Iceland.
Our only real complaints are that we were a group of five that decided to take a surprise menu and each course was served on two plates to share between the table, first of all we were not told of this and expected to be served our own dishes, second both dishes had equal amount of food that made it a little hard to divide equally and last of all you should not have to ask for new plates each time a new course arrives, you really don’t want to mix ceviche with wild mushroom risotto!
As is with most new restaurants, there are always some quirks to work out but over all MAR is a restaurant worth visiting, with its lovely atmosphere and good food, even though we found some kinks with some of the courses.