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In its perfect corner location opposite Weld Square, Brika seems to be the happening place in town. It’s happening because it’s lively, it’s hip (without being aimed solely at the 20 something market), the food is good, and there’s plenty of parking. We weren’t feeling too hip the mid week night we went though, because Perth decided to present us with the steamiest night we’ve had for yonks.

With not a whiff of breeze blowing, the Brika patrons sat fanning themselves with their menus, sweltering on this hot summer night. With nary a fan in sight, we asked our waitress if those huge boxes behind us were air-con units and if they could be turned on. Yes as it turns out, they were air-con units but it took a ton of water to fill them and they hadn’t been filled. And “no, they are not going to be filled tonight”.  Packed to the rafters with diners by 7.30, the stifling heat intensified. It was reminiscent of al fresco dining in Bali, but without the benefit of the holiday.

Along with my three companions Teejay, Miss V and her husband Woody, I was a bit swoony with the lack of any circulating air, but we soldiered on, determined to enjoy this evening. Our waitress recommended we choose a few entrees to start with. Stuffed peppers, sardines with grilled toast and saganaki cheese were thus presented within about 15 minutes.

Stuffed with spiced ricotta, the peppers and the filling were a bit insipid. While this dish was ok, it wasn’t anything special.

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The saganaki is very similar to haloumi and the perfectly fried slab, presented in its pan, was salty, creamy and delightfully chewy. A big hit with everyone.

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The Fremantle sardines in oil were fresh and tasty, but it was a very small serving and probably better shared amongst just 2 or 3 people.

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We ordered wines and beers throughout the night, and wine is served in small glass tumblers. The pourings are small, probably about 120 mls. There is a reasonable selection of wines by the glass, and our waitress gave me a sampler of the Greek retsina to try. Retsina is strongly redolent of pine and nothing like our Australian whites, so it’s a good idea to taste test first.

Mains were ordered some time after we’d finished the entrees. We certainly weren’t rushed to order, which was a big plus. Brika staff are happy to let customers take their time over their courses, which isn’t the case everywhere these days. We opted for a variety of mains, accompanied by the suko salad with greens, fennel, orange and fresh figs.

The calamari was tender, lemony and nicely charred.

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The swordfish is normally a three skewer dish, but we upgraded this to four. Meltingly soft, the skewers layered with capsicum and red onion, lay on a bed of hummus. Delicious.

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My friends enjoyed their meaty keftedes –  lamb, pork and apple meatballs with a side of  tzatziki – but I can’t comment on these as I don’t normally eat red meat. They certainly looked appetising.
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We also opted for a plate of patates, the Greek version of fries. They came with a dipping sauce.
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Fortunately by the time we had allowed our mains to settle and decided to order dessert, an ever-so-slight night breeze was wafting our way. Blessed relief.

The Loukoumades arrived first and they tasted as good as they looked. Light, fluffy, sprinkled with crushed walnuts and dripping with honey syrup, this was fabulous dessert to share.

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The halva pistachio cheesecake with berry compote was just right; not too rich or heavy as some cheesecakes are, but light and smooth.

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Our final dessert was a piece of baklava with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream; nice but fairly standard fare.

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Brika has all of the ingredients for a successful bar and restaurant. I’d doubt you’d get a table on the weekend without a booking. Our dining experience cost $60 a head including drinks and coffees for everyone, so reasonably priced by Perth standards. I just wish they’d sort out the air-con situation; it’s just not acceptable in our summer climate to not have fans for the comfort of the diners. I wouldn’t return again until the weather has cooled down. April would probably be perfect.

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