Have you heard of Fika? It popped up on the scene across from the Manly Library entrance just over a year ago and specialises in Swedish fare, a first for the area. Fika is a Swedish word that translates as ‘taking a break for coffee and a bite to eat’ according to the rhetoric throughout the cafe. However, the team go on to explain it is more than that… “it’s a moment to relax, to catch up with your family and to laugh with your friends. It’s making up for lost time, or part of your daily ritual. A cosy escape, or a refreshing pause. It’s the time between meals, the place between destinations. I don’t know about you, but appreciating the definition of Fika, gives me the warm and fuzzies and total resonates with me. Oh the Sweds…they are so clever! I am a sucker for Scandinavian culture though and actually make a living promoting Danish designer furniture and Swedish lighting to Architects and Interior Designers. So for our Darley Days dinner this week, The Hubby & I were looking for that cosy escape and agreed it was time to try Fika.
Fika is open every day from 7 till 5 and serves dinner on Wednesday through Saturday too. When we arrived there were four tables occupied with a potential of five more to be filled, which was easily achieved by the time we left, creating a delightful cosy buzz throughout the space. The menu is a nice size, not to overwhelming and very inviting with nine share plate options and six main selections. Our waitress hinted that a share plate and a main each should be enough.
The Hubby quickly spotted the Forest Mushrooms: forest mushrooms with crispy bread, horseradish cream and pea sprouts on the share plate list and was a goner. I love mushrooms and it appears I have brought out The Hubby’s appreciation of the fungi since we met, as he seems to never miss a beat now when mushrooms are an option. Love it!
I couldn’t look past the Fiskilicious: Crispy skinned salmon with cauliflower puree, broad beans & tomato salsa and The Hubby was smitten with the Swedish Meatballs: Fika’s meatballs with potato mash, lingonberry jam & gravy. Our order was in!
Fika has a fun cocktail menu as well, that needs a mention. I say ‘fun’ because with descriptions such as ‘tastes like a hug from Mamma Mu in a field of strawberries’ for the Mamma Mu cocktail which consists of liqueur43, muddled strawberries & cream says it all doesn’t it! Or my favourite describing the Likör Sour…’sweet and sour like your Swedish mother-in-law’. Although, I am not a big cocktail drinker these days, they did look tempting and I loved to see Glogg: Swedish hot mulled wine and Snaps on the drinks list too. I settled for a delicious Shiraz.. boring, I know…and The Hubby was keen to try one of the seven different Scandinavian beers on option. He went for the Swedish Mazarin Pale Ale which came in the coolest beer bottle I have seen in awhile plus it was given the BIG thumbs up for taste by The Hubby too. I liked the bottle so much, I asked to take it home to use as a vessel for my drip candles… he he.
The food did not disappoint either. The Forest Mushrooms were ‘super tasty’ and the horseradish sauce hit me with nostalgic memories of something in my childhood that I still can’t put my finger on… mmmm, might need to use more horseradish in our home cooking! The mains came out not longer after and were beautifully presented. My Fiskilicious main seemed a little small at first glance but then The Hubby added that it is probably the right size for the price tag of $20…good point Hubby! Being a hobby fisherman, he is a good judge of value of fish after all. Oh and it was delicious too, the crispy skin was yum and perfectly crispy and everything on the board worked so well together. There was not a crumb left over and I was completely satisfied too, I didn’t need any more.
The Hubby’s order of Swedish Meatballs was given the thumbs up too. The Lingonberry, which is a berry found in inland areas of Scandinavia and is similar to cranberries was a little too sweet as a jam for The Hubby and the only thing that was still remaining on his plate at the end of the meal. Other than that he declared that he could have drank that gravy and the meatballs were well received too.
Our whole experience at Fika was indeed a refreshing pause and place to relax and catch up. The food was tasty and affordable and the beverage options were a pleasant surprise too. The founders have indeed brought the Scandinavian culture and combined it beautifully with the modern Australian lifestyle. Sweden and Australia might be on opposite ends of the world but there is something truly kindred about the two. Don’t you think?