‘I feel like I’m on holiday’, said Lucy whilst sipping on her Life Aquatic cocktail, which consisted of dill vodka, elderflower and bitters topped with lemonade. Meanwhile, I was tackling my Inventory cocktail head on. A squeeze of vanilla vodka here, a dash of chilli caramel liquor there and a splash of Cognac, not to forget adding a bit of bubblegum candyfloss for good measure. It did feel like we were on holiday. Sadly, we were only sat on the quaint roof terrace on Brick Lane.
We were at Fika, a Swedish haven nestled on one of London’s most famous streets, Brick Lane, next to bagel shops and curry houses galore. I had been to Fika before but a long while ago ande it was in the winter months so the terrace wasn’t an option.
We unraveled the place mat menu and picked a few dishes to share – Lucy plumped for the Tomato Kingdom (heirloom tomatoe carpaccio, pickled wild mushroom and popcorn) and Campfire Steak. I went Swedish and ordered the Gravadlax followed by Meatballs. I felt sorry for the poor waiter who, looking slightly forlorn, rushed around the terrace to take orders of every table, each of which had filled up at the same time. He was very polite and had a good sense of humour so the slowness didn’t really matter.
The starters were small but light and perfect considering we had both ordered meaty mains. The tomato salad was a real treat. The pickled mushrooms added texture and the popcorn added a fun element. The gravadlax consisted of rolled slithers of smoked salmon, a green salad and Darjeeling jelly. So far, so good. Fika’s menu is playful and makes references to the films The Darjeeling Limited and The Life Aquatic. It’s a bit bonkers and I haven’t quite figured out why but I’d like to keep it that way.
The meatballs were not quite as good as some that I had in Stockholm earlier this year but they were delicious and were complimented well by an apple cider sauce and lingonberry jam. As I always find, probably because I am a sauce glutton, there wasn’t enough sauce or jam for the amount of meatballs and potato on my plate and as the waiter returned at the end of the meal to see how we had got on, I can tell he was wondering why my plate was gleaming white.
We were tempted by desserts – Lucy went for the safe option of three scoops of ice cream and the Kladdkaka was recommended by the waiter. I had already ordered the peanut butter & jelly sandwich but went with his suggestion. I kind of wish I hadn’t. I’m not denying it was tasty, decadent and rich, but it was essentially a chocolate fondant with an inside that wasn’t quite as gooey as it should have been. The salted caramel ice cream that Lucy has was to die for but we both agreed that it was a bit odd to serve it with a scoop of sorbet.
By the time we had finished our meal, we were having difficulty seeing anything on the roof terrace. There was one small lamp in the corner that did nothing and a smidgen of candlelight. It all added to the atmosphere though and I left with a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy for Fika. I’ll be back, if only to try some of the other weird and wonderful cocktails on the menu.
161 Brick Lane
020 7613 2013