What comes to mind when you think about Iceland? A beautiful, barren landscape? Hot springs? How about fish, tomatoes and vodka? Perhaps not, but that is where the new limited-edition menu (only available until 20 March 2019) at cosy Notting Hill seafood restaurant Bucket hopes to change your mind. Alex Mennie popped in to find out more.
Having paired up with Icelandic vodka brand Reyka, Adam and Georgie Godik Hayward, the husband and wife team behind Bucket, have planned an exciting selection of Icelandic inspired fish dishes paired with suggested serves from Reyka brand ambassador Fabs Latham.
The exclusive menu starts with the traditional Icelandic Humarsúpa, a creamy langoustine soup with a rich umami flavour and a whole crustacean afloat in the centre of the bowl. This is served with the Puffin Collins, named for the photogenic native of large parts of Iceland. It combines Reyka vodka with pink grapefruit, elderflower and a fresh cherry tomato – a refreshing take on a collins, and an introduction to some of the botanical notes that recur throughout the evening.
Next on the menu, the nod to Icelandic culture continues with butter-braised cod cheeks, long considered a delicacy by the natives – kept and enjoyed, with the rest of the fish considered only fit for export. At Bucket they are served on a rich potato rosti which has absorbed the spiced oil of the chorizo it has been cooked with.
To accompany the cod cheeks, the house recommends the Riverbank Gimlet, alive with natural soil and damp forest flavours thanks to its combination of nettle cordial, Fino sherry, soil essence and garnish of tomato vine. The pairing is a fascinating one, sharing a common earthy thread which the kitchen attributes to the rich umami flavour of the chorizo oil soaked sweet potato.
The journey of tomato, vodka and soil then ends in a dish of pan seared halibut served with a medley of slow roasted tomatoes descending in size right down to bright yellow tomberries. The high quality fish wears its seasoning lightly and takes its sweet flavour from the roasted fruit.
The tomato note is mirrored by the recommended Tectonic Spritz, another long drink, this time carrying memories of your parents’ greenhouse. It combines Reyka vodka, dry vermouth, tonic and rosemary with a curious sweet tomato essence.
The special limited edition menu provides an introduction to the glory of Iceland’s natural larder. The simply prepared fish, ripe tomatoes and clear crisp vodka represent some of the country’s finest ingredients combined in harmony and with respect for the striking natural environment.
If you want to get more out of this wonderful Icelandic pairing, a Reyka vodka masterclass led by the compelling Fabs Latham will take place on 14 March. Guests will be led through the mystical history of Iceland, some highlights of the local language and stories of respect and tolerance for the little people, with a chance to try some of these exceptional fish dishes. The perfect circumstances in which to try Iceland’s oldest vodka, a spirit crafted from glacial spring water, distilled using geothermal energy and filtered through volcanic rock. Truly a spirit of its homeland.
This special menu is only available until 20 March. For more information, visit Bucket’s website below.