Experience the fresh and flavourful culinary arts of Iceland with Hjá Jóni
By Celina Tran | Photos: Iceland Parliament Hotel
Based in the Icelandic capital, Hjá Jóni Restuarant aims to provide guests with a luxurious and memorable experience. Here, each dish tells a story for the eyes, soul, and tastebuds, accompanied by a flavourful Icelandic accent.
There’s no doubt that the culinary experience makes up a significant part of getting to know a new culture or country, and in the land of fire and ice, the capital, Reykjavik, is the place to look to. Here, you can not only enjoy the best of your holiday underneath the magnificent northern lights but also experience a magnificent meal at Hjá Jóni Restaurant, located in the new, elegant Iceland Parliament Hotel on Austurvöllur Square, downtown Reykjavík.
“At the Hjá Jóni restaurant, the emphasis is on professional, but attentive service, and the place has a comfortable, light atmosphere,” says Sólveig Jóhanna Jónsdóttir, the food and beverage manager at Iceland Parliament Hotel. “The menu is varied and inspired by international dishes with Icelandic influences and ingredients – we strive to have something for everyone, and above all, the emphasis is on quality ingredients.”
International flavours with an Icelandic twist
Named after former Icelandic President and leader of the 19th century, Jón Sigurðssonand, and located next to the parliament, Hjá Jóni is a restaurant that strives to show the very best of Icelandic hospitality, service, and food.
Fanney Dóra Sigurjónsdóttir, head chef at Hjá Jóni, explains that as they serve food to locals and tourists alike, they want each meal to showcase the magic of Iceland while taking inspiration from the best of international cuisine and flavours.
“We use the herbs and ingredients that thrive in Iceland, mixed with exciting international ingredients that elevate the cuisine,” she says. “Icelandic fish and lamb are highly regarded, but we also offer juicy beef steaks and exciting vegetarian dishes.”
The head chef adds that the menu and product range are constantly being reviewed to meet people’s changing needs and consumption habits. Regardless of the ingredients or season, Sigurjónsdóttir says that each meal must show a connection to its homeland and people.
“It’s important to me to have a story to tell, that the dish doesn’t just fall out of thin air, but has some story, thought or connection to the place and/or its staff. It is also important to me to choose the best ingredients every time, in line with availability and seasons, and to be true to myself in cooking.”
To the staff at Hjá Jóni, the most important thing is that each meal is a memorable experience, which is why they prioritise quality, taste, and attentive service above all.
Enjoy drinks in artistic, historical surroundings
Hjá Jóni is a part of the Iceland Parliament Hotel – Curio Collection by Hilton Hotels – and offers catering service in three of its beautiful, historic buildings the Independence Hall, the Old Woman’s School and Landsímahúsið.
The Independence Hall is an elegant banquet hall in the heart of the city, closely linked to the country’s independence history. The Old Woman’s School also has significant ties to the city, and served as a ladies’ school, among other things, until 1909.
“The building has now been reconstructed in an elegant way, and is a unique event space where the past meets the present,” says Jónsdóttir.
The last heritage building is Landsímahúsið, which once was home to the Icelandic Telecommunications Company. Today, it houses Telebar, an impressive open space brimming with artworks where guests may enjoy drinks.
“A visit to the hotel is thus not only a feast for the taste buds, but also for the eyes,” says Jónsdóttir. “Telebar is open from noon to evening, and the rhythm of the space changes as the day progresses. In the evening, guests may enjoy small dishes as well as decorative drinks.”
The bar space also hosts live jazz music every Thursday, inviting guests to welcome the night with rhythm and taste. In addition, Telebar has a Happy Hour every day, where select drinks can be enjoyed at a great price.
The different buildings of the hotel belong to different time periods, all having served as important parts of Icelandic culture and history. Their rich past and cultural significance make the hotel and the Hjá Jóni restaurant a space everyone should see. So next time you find yourself in Reykjavik, why not treat yourself with a stay at Iceland Parliament Hotel, where both your soul and tastebuds can enjoy the best of Iceland’s flavours?
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