From seaweed to strawberries, Olafur Eliasson is going local
The weather may be foul in Reykjavik, yet Eliasson's new pop-up restaurant is still cooking up great seasonal dishes
Iceland, unlike much of Europe, Japan and much of the US, isn’t currently experiencing a heat wave. Instead, this recent shift in the Gulf Stream has brought rain and temperatures of around 13 degrees Celsius to summertime Reykjavik.
Fortunately, this hasn’t deterred Olafur Eliasson. The artist, teacher, philanthropist and Phaidon author is still opening up his Berlin studio’s acclaimed (private) kitchen as a pop-up restaurant in the Icelandic capital next month, with his sister, the chef Victoria Eliasdottir.
Olafur and Victoria's pop-up restaurant, SOE Kitchen 101, will be serving customers from August 11 – October 31, in Reykjavik's Marshall House. Though his kitchen in Berlin does not offer meat, the Icelandic version will take advantage of its portside location, offering fresh seafood and fish, as well as other local delights, such as poetry readings, experimental jazz performances and choral recitals.
In the run up to their first service SOE Kitchen 101’s team have been out meeting Icelandic suppliers, who can offer them fresh, seasonal produce, no matter what the weather. There’s biologist Eyjofur Fridgeirsson, who will deliver edible seaweed to Victoria and Olafur; Örn Einarsson who specialises in growing strawberries in greenhouses; and local vegetable farmers Brennholt Tómas Ponzi and Björk Bjarnadóttir, who appear to be wearing cardigans inside their polytunnel, the weather is so grim.
Thankfully, Eliasson’s kitchen is still managing to bring a little seasonal flourish to its plates; so far SOE Kitchen 101’s test dishes include wild caught trout, grilled cod, black venere rice and white currants, tomato salad.