Afternoon tea in Iceland isn’t massively common. However in most areas frequented by tourists you’re likely to find one or two hotels or restaurants that offer it in some form. During my recent trip to north Iceland I found one place offering afternoon tea in Akureyri – Icelandair Hotel Akureyri.
I have to admit this rather unassuming hotel really surprised me. From the outside I thought this modern building (it was built in 2011) lacked character, but once inside I was enveloped by a warm vibe that was both welcoming and relaxing.
High tea in Akureyri
Afternoon tea – or high tea as they called it here – is served in both the lounge area and the Aurora Restaurant depending on your preference. The lounge is all comfy sofas and even has its own roaring fire, giving it a cosy, relaxing ambience. I was told that this is where many of the locals come for high tea during the weekends, whiling away their Sunday afternoons enjoying some cake and a glass of bubbly with friends. A very popular activity with residents, many people buy each other high tea gift cards for birthdays and Christmas.
For a more sophisticated and formal setting the Aurora Restaurant is the choice for you. Renowned as a first class restaurant in the town, this is where we took afternoon tea during our visit, enjoying the light and open modern dining space, complete with a beautiful feature wall displaying the northern lights. Oh and it has its own roaring fire too.
As the hotel – and the town itself – is quite small I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the afternoon tea. In all honesty I think I was expecting a tasty treat but not something that would blow me away. But how wrong I was.
Hands down, the savoury dishes were the most delicious I’d ever have come out on a three-tier afternoon tea tray. The ‘sandwiches’ we were served were tomato and cheese, salmon, and ham bruschettas, with fresh toppings and crisp leaves served on the most amazing vegan bread and drizzled in olive oil. Full of flavour, the dense, nutty bread is freshly baked each day on-site. Chargrilled before serving, it’s well worth flying to Akureyri for!
The sweets didn’t disappoint either and I loved that there was a local Icelandic twist to some of the dishes. For example we tried a cake made with mysingur; an old, Icelandic brown cheese. When described it didn’t sound appealing as I don’t like cheesecake, but what came out was a delicious dark cake that tasted like caramel while having the texture of a brownie. Another Nordic-style dish was the Daim bar cake, which was essentially a dark chocolate rice crispie cake. This also went down well.
Other sweet treats included little jars of strawberries and cream, coconut macarons, a thick chocolate mouse with blueberries and mango and caramelised popcorn. However, joint favourite with the mysingur cake had to be the delicious chocolate brownie. Perfectly baked, it had a gentle flavour, crisp top and was served laid on a bed of sweet toffee sauce. I may have devoured both my own and my other half’s…
Prosecco for one!
Drinks-wise the selection is small – I was surprised to find that there was no English Breakfast tea available, but there was earl grey and a number of fruit teas. Coffee was also available but I chose to enjoy some bubbles with my afternoon tea. This was the first time that I’d been served prosecco in cute little ‘one person’ bottles, but the amount works out just right, as you get around one and a half to two glasses from each bottle. It was good bubbly too – extra dry and crisp. Very enjoyable.
Not only was the food outstanding at the Icelandair Hotel Akureyri, so was the service. We were looked after by Addi, who kindly spent a lot of time answering our questions about the food, the hotel, the town and even his name. Hard to pronounce if you’re not a native speaker, he explained that his name translates to powerful eagle that live in his family’s valley.
High tea at Icelandair Hotel Akureyri
High tea at Icelandair Hotel Akureyri is available every day from 2-5pm. It costs 2,750ISK, which at time of writing is approximately £18. This makes it a very good value afternoon tea, especially when you consider Icelandic meal prices! You can add a bottle of prosecco for 1,500ISK, which is roughly £10.
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Our afternoon tea was complimentary for the purposes of this review. However, as always, all views are my own.