Brick Lane, food wise, is synonymous with Indian restaurants and Bagels. There are, of course, other types of eateries though and last month I went to one with blog contributor Claire – who happens to live in the area – to dine at Swedish restaurant and bar, Fika. Fika, which loosely translates as a “coffee break”, is located at the Shoreditch end of Brick Lane. With its modestly sized room, brick exposed walls and vintage furniture it does indeed look and feel like a place to go and have a chillaxing coffee break in. But here they offer more than just coffee.
They have an upstairs, shabby chic looking roof terrace, which can cater for about 25 people. You have to squeeze up a tight staircase to get there mind, but once you reach the top it’s pretty pleasant and it’s where we decide to eat. The menu is themed on this occasion as they’ve been hosting ‘Wes Kingdom’, which is their invented pop-up menu inspired by Wes Anderson films. So if you are a fan of his cult films, then quite a lot of items on the menu will tickle you. There are also props and paintings dotted around the place that are a nod to his films too.
We crack on with a very potent and very delicious ‘Life Aquatic’ cocktail. It comes in a fun semi DIY kit, which assembles into a vodka, dill, elderflower and lemonade mix. My starter is the ‘Foxy Doughnut’ and Claire’s the ‘Tomato Kingdom’. The Foxy Doughnut is an interesting mix of chicken liver and apple with a beetroot puree. I wasn’t sure the combination would work at first, but it SO did. Claire devoured her starter too, muttering something about textures and the tomatoes being full of flavour.
I have to choose the classic Swedish meatballs – ‘Pitch Perfect Meatballs’ – for the main and Claire being veggie opts for the ‘Wild Pie’. The pie comes with a potato mash top filled with earthy wild mushrooms, goats cheese and rocket – the rocket is in the filling, not on the side, which is novel. Claire again devours this in no time and says she could have eaten another. My meatballs is as its title suggests perfectly pitched and very comforting served with a light mash and cider rich sauce.
Kladdkaka is a classic Swedish cake, which is what I choose for dessert and Claire the Pot o’Goodness with a berry, yoghurt and custard concoction. The Kladdkaka is an intensely dense and sticky chocolate cake and slightly more gooey in the middle – a bit like a brownie, which definitely benefits from the serving of vanilla ice-cream that cuts through the richness.
Dining at Fika is a very casual affair, my only experience of Swedish food prior to that had been from that very well-known Swedish store. This of course, is miles better and beyond comparison. There were a few Swedes dining when we were there too, which tells me that the food in general must be pretty authentic. The ‘Wes Kingdom’ was due to end at the end of September, but it’s still currently on their website, so if you fancy a spot of Wes Anderson inspired food then do check it out.
Starters are from £4-£6, mains £9 -£16.00 and desserts from £4.60-£6.00. The cocktail was £8. It’s worth noting that Claire pointed out that these prices are quite high for the area, but then again Fika are offering something very different to its surroundings.
Food I Fancy dined as guests.
161 Brick Lane
London, E1 6SB
Tel: 020 7613 2013