Sunday, 2 November 2008

It's a Coffee and Cake Thing

Café culture has become one of our past times over the years and I think we owe it largely to our holidays spent in Reykjavik.
Coffee is definitely big in Iceland, strong too and it usually comes with endless free refills. In fact, the refill is a positive sign that you're welcome to stay as long as you like, unlike in some coffee franchises in the UK, which expect you to drink up and then leave. Shame on anyone who takes too long, or dares to carry on reading a book long after their cup is drained!

View across Reykjavik's Faxaflói Bay to the island of Viðey

When we visit during the colder months a cozy café is a welcome respite from the often face-numbing arctic winds which race across the ocean.
On our recent trip we fell into Tíu Dropar on Reykjavik's main street, Laugavegur. It's a little homely place that sits just below street level, so the view out of the window gives one the amusing sight of feet going by – so it's more shoe than people watching!
I really like this place, it's more traditional than some of the other more swanky designer-style establishments in the city. It's popular with the locals too, which is always a good sign.
The small wooden tables are all snuggled into this warm and inviting room whose walls are hung with some interesting historical prints of local figures and old Reykjavik life. The crockery is rustic and slightly mismatched, adding to the charm. This place does not pretend to be anything that it's not – it's real through and through. I think you know what I mean when I say that, we've seen those places that try too hard to create a look and atmosphere, but it's so obviously 'themed'.

The unassuming entrance to the charming cosy café

The café offers a range of fresh sandwiches, salads, soups, etc, but we couldn't resist their homemade chocolate cakes. Historically, Icelandic people have a very sweet tooth and the array of tasty baked goods available is testament to that fact.
Traditionally, Icelandic housewives would always offer their guests plenty of of strong coffee and quantities of cakes, pancakes and pastries – and that was before the dinner finally arrived on the table!
Kaffe og Kaka

The name of the café comes from an Icelandic expression "bara tíu dropar" which literally translates as "just ten drops" and means something like; "I'm-just-asking-for-a-little-but-really-I-want-another-full-cup". Well, it was cold and windy outside, so we felt the same too.

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