As you might have guessed from how the homepage of my blog is taking shape right now, the month of May is being taken over by write-ups and reviews from the week I recently spent on a double-destination vacay to Reykjavik and New York City. A little bit ‘extra’, I know but it has generated fourteen blog posts for you to feast your eyes on over the coming weeks so if you fancy following in my footsteps, you’ll know exactly where to get the best grub.
Of those fourteen blog posts (yes my fingers are about two paragraphs away from setting fire) this was the one I was most excited to cover and it’s lovingly dedicated to the adorable hidden gem that is Emilie and the Cool Kids.
Being the cool kids we are (duh), I happily succumbed to a diversion from our intricately mapped out itinerary of edibles in favour of breakfast at this intimate little ‘cookies and coffee shop’, slightly off the beaten track of Reykjavik city centre. I say slightly off the beaten track but during our time in Iceland’s gorgeous capital, we traveled everywhere by foot, never once feeling the need to hop on public transport. (Okay, except the night we ate ALL of the food at Tapas Barinn and couldn’t face the 20 minute walk back to our hotel in a state of semi-food-coma-consciousness)
Sitting on a quiet street corner about halfway between the Fosshotel Reykjavik and El Santo Mexican restaurant, Emilie and the Cool Kids lured us in purely on the promise of bagels. An unsuspecting grey-washed exterior blends seamlessly into the urban backdrop so you’d be forgiven for strolling straight past. Open the door on this kaleidoscope of colour, kitsch and the toasty aroma of freshly-baked Cinnamon Buns though and you’ll understand why Grandma always told you never to judge a book by its cover. I mean, we’re dealing with somewhere that runs a Cookie Happy Hour here.
Greeted with a counter full of irresistibly tempting scones, cookies, muffins and macaroons as well as numerous menus pinned to the baby pink walls, we knew choice wasn’t going to come easy where Emilie and her Cool Kids were concerned. After drooling over the wittily named bagel menu (don’t worry it was laminated a.k.a. wipe-clean) we decided to forgo The Godfather and the Salmon & Garfunkel in favour of a classic cream cheese and bacon bagel on sesame bread.
Our bagels were simple, understated and slightly outshone by the quirky crockery in terms of aesthetic but completely delicious nonetheless. What was a sight for sore eyes, which had previously spent the day wide open at the Blue Lagoon and the Gulfoss Waterfall, was the glistening Cherry Pie that was sitting on top of the counter. Looking like something straight off the set of Twin Peaks, we couldn’t resist a slice of this lattice delight after our bagels and it was every bit as crumbly and tart as you’d imagine.
Slightly nauseous at this point but determined to sample at least 50% of the menu before our scheduled flight in about 6 hours time, we found room for a Nutellaccino and a Chocomarshmallow with all the trimmings. Yes, you just read that right – a Nutellaccino – and yes, it was a steaming concoction of cappuccino coffee and a big ol’ dollop of molten Nutella. It came complete with a cute cocktail umbrella in honour of it being the first day of summer in Iceland – an ironic contrast to the rain battering against the window as it was served but one which definitely made both of us smile.
My Chocomarshmallow might have been boring old hot chocolate and marshmallows on paper but I mean it when I say this is the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had the pleasure of singeing my tastebuds on and you know how much I love my cocoa. It also came with a chunk of fresh Blueberry Muffin in the side which, despite my impending sugar crash, went down an absolute treat.
Emilie and the Cool Kids is the kind of place you could swing by on your way to somewhere and leave clutching a hot scone and a coffee in a (biodegradable) takeout carton, or sit for hours on the pink velvet couch watching the world go by. Our hospitable waitress who, in her floral dress, mustard tights and red lipstick, looked like something straight from a David Lynch film, was as charming to us long-haulers as she was to the commuters popping in for their morning caffeine injection.
White tiles, copper accents, banana leaf motifs, exposed bulbs and plush furniture appeals to anybody serious about millennial decor, while the canopy of Hawaiian lei which hung from the ceiling in honour of Icelandic summer contributed to Emilie’s unmistakable fun factor. The franchise can be found in various nooks and crannies around the world, including Nice, Cannes and Marseille so be sure to keep a look out when you’re on your travels.
So Liverpool, you can take your Taco Bell and you can take your Pieminister. You can even abort plans on the river-front Australasia that has been rumoured for a while now. Just please, please let the food Gods grace us with an Emilie and the Cool Kids of our own. Failing that, please introduce direct flights to Keflavik airport from Liverpool John Lennon airport so I can go about getting my fix much quicker.
Seriously though guys, be a cool kid and check Emilie’s gaff out if you’re round and about Reykjavik. You might even find yourself going back for seconds like we did when we grabbed takeout for our journey back to the airport…
Round two was a big, fluffy Nutella Muffin stuffed with that gooey, chocolate-hazelnut good stuff and a retake of the cream cheese & bacon beauty we had had earlier but this time with a Chili Cheese Bagel that had just the right amount of heat. Not the kind of kick that leaves you crying for your mum but you know, just enough spice. We did also get a Cheddar & Bacon Scone to go too but I’m not sure 2 hours in my bag did it much good; my scone would have probably been best devoured warm and fresh in the comfort of the cafe.
My only regret? Not getting another slice of that damn fine cherry pie.