09012023

In the Faroe Islands, Art, Food and Fashion Take a Cue From Nature

Coastal Tórshavn — one of the world’s smallest capitals — is itself a nexus of creativity, embracing the contemporary without losing its connection to the past. The old quarter, populated by centuries-old turf-roofed houses, covers a peninsula that juts into the busy harbor. Walk the city’s winding lanes, steep alleyways and wide boulevards, and you’ll find buzzy coffee shops, wine bars and fashion emporia. Rather than just using Tórshavn as a base for island hopping, stay awhile and explore the city’s food, fashion and art.

A sense of whimsy pervades ROKS (meaning “silly”), the laid-back sister restaurant to two-Michelin-starred KOKS (temporarily decamped to Greenland, but returning to Streymoy in 2025). Occupying a two-story, turf-roofed structure dating to at least the 1600s, the space is filled with amusing art, including depictions of an octopus holding glasses of red wine. The seasonal offerings, created by the head chef, Poul Andrias Ziska, showcase the Faroes’ fish and shellfish bounty in two tasting menus (595 and 895 Danish kroner, or about $87 and $130). The razor clams, a must-try, are served raw, accompanied by a vinaigrette and shallot sauce, and sprinkled with yellow dandelion and white sweet cicely blossoms.

Across the rugged cobbled lane stands another centuries-old building, housing a different kind of restaurant. With three homey dining rooms adorned with photos of former Tórshavn residents from the late 1800s and early 1900s, Raest, which means “fermented,” honors this age-old Faroese method for preserving food. The chef, Sebastian Jiménez, hails from Atlixco, Mexico, and puts a Mexican twist on the traditional fermented cuisine served in the 14-course tasting menu (1,400 kroner), each dish assembled like a work of art. Faroese flatbread, for example, is fashioned into a tortilla and topped with a pan-fried langoustine, fermented carrots and pipián rojo, a mole-type sauce that Jiménez’s mother regularly cooks.

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