Kex Hotel, Reykavik’s answer to the Ace Hotel, is finally here. The three-story space, set to open November 7 at 100 NE MLK right next to the Burnside Bridge, is anchored by Vivian, a Nordic/Oregon-inspired restaurant and lounge in the building’s ground floor. (Kex’s rooftop bar is slated to open spring 2020). We’ve got an exclusive first look at the 3,000-square-foot, 110-seat space and its offerings. Editor's Note: Kex has changed the name of its restaurant from Vivian to Dóttir (the Icelandic word for daughter) because of its similarity with Vivienne, an already existing restaurant near the Hollywood Theater.
Kex’s interior was designed by Halfdan Pedersen (Baulhus Design). Pedersen’s epic antique shopping spree spanned the globe, complete with ancient Hungarian milking stools and bamboo conveyor belts.
Ólafur Ágústsson, noted chef at Reykavik’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Dill, is on board as culinary director, but Portland chef Alex Jackson, who spent eight years at San Francisco’s Sons & Daughters, is running the kitchen as executive chef.
An early look at the dinner menu shows a properly Icelandic lineup of fermented, pickled, dried, and smoked dishes, plenty of root vegetables, and yes, open-faced smørrebrød. We’ve got our eye on something called O’Connor’s revenge—a pork burger with German Bergkase cheese, shrimp toast with yogurt-like Skyr aioli, and Grandma Helga’s Doughnut with “chocoscotch” and black cardamom sugar.
Check out the slideshow above for a dive into Portland’s latest hotel restaurant.