Restaurant review: Fika, Brick Lane
- Credit: Archant
Swedish food isn’t something that normally springs to mind with a mention of Brick Lane.
But among the abundance of Indian restaurants, vintage shops and watering holes, Swedish bar and kitchen Fika has been serving up cuisine from this destination for six years, as well as hosting a revolving door of creative projects.
Following on from last summer’s off-beat Wes Anderson makeover, the restaurant, which has a roof terrace, is currently enjoying a Scandinavian folklore pop-up with the interior transformed into a fantastical forest theme complete with trolls, intricate artwork, fairy lights and real foliage – the design of Emma Farrarons.
We were perched in a little snug booth downstairs, our seats covered in artificial grass and the walls dotted with sketches of pine trees, elves and woodland chalets.
Forest flavours like dill, birch and wood smoke dominate the cocktail list – my Troll’s Magic, a mix of elderflower and prosecco, was a treat, but my boyfriend’s Goblin’s Goblet was a bit too strong and bitter for us, albeit authentic.
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The food menu is also in keeping with the fantasy theme and is experimental as a result.
My traditional starter of tre sorters sill – three flavours of pickled herring – came served on crushed purple potatoes, which looked odd but didn’t taste any different and had a nice chunky texture.
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The vinegar flavours weren’t too overpowering and let the taste of the fish shine through, although there wasn’t much to distinguish between the three pickles.
My boyfriend’s starter of “buried beef” was thin slices of cured rib eye steak which was tender and full of smokey flavours, served with a mixture of spices, a sharp mustard and dotted with radishes and different types of foraged leaves.
While the menu proves there’s a lot more to Swedish cuisine than meatballs, he decided to stick with tradition and chose this popular dish for his main course.
He wasn’t disappointed – the meaty bites had an intense and very mildly spicy flavour, perfectly showcased by the sweet red wine gravy, the tangy lingonberry jam and the smooth mash potato.
I opted for the flash seared gravadlax – the thick cut cured slab of salmon cooked very slightly on the outside, leaving it raw in the inside – zesty and salty by the nature of its preparation, but not too rich.
And the mild, clean flavour and simple serving of hand cut baked potato chips were the perfect accompaniments.
All we could manage for dessert was to share a Swedish pancake topped with chocolate, marshmallows and fruit, but it rounded an impressive meal off nicely.
Fika is a quirky space with an imaginative menu, and the Hidden Folk pop-up will be in situ until the end of September.