What are the odds of returning to the exact same restaurant, out of hundreds of similar outlets, on two different (and unrelated) occasions? When my recent media trip brought us to Fika Swedish Cafe and Bistro for lunch, I was like… wait a minute. This place looks awfully familiar. Then it hit me: I was here three years ago, when my Singaporean buddy Jaryl brought me here for meatballs.
As I said, what are the odds?
Housed in a quaint two-storey building, Fika is Swedish for (loosely translated) ‘break’, and can mean anything from having coffee with friends and family to taking a breather from work. No points for guessing what sort of cuisine they serve.
The inside is cosy, with lots of white and wood. The ground floor can comfortably seat about 30 people, with more seats on the sidewalk outside. There is also a dining area on the first floor.
Our orders were quick to arrive, and they looked absolutely scrumptious! Swedish cuisine is a beautiful blend of flavours, textures and colours – they got the sight, smell and taste down pat. Sorry my phone didn’t do the food justice.
The last time I was here it was just Jaryl and I, so we only got to eat meatballs. But since this was a group trip, there were more people so we got to try loads of different dishes.
(Above) Baked Almond Chicken Bites (SGD9) , made from marinated chicken breast coated with roasted almonds. It was fricking addictive. Crunchy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside, the meat had a peppery flavour, a perfect marriage with the nutty sweetness of almond. Gone in the blink of an eye. Also, we were ravenous after a whole afternoon spent walking around Chinatown.
The Pickled Herring Platter (SGD 14) was a delightful smorgasbord of pickled herring, hard rye crisp bread. boiled egg, potatoes, red onion, caviar spread and dill mayo. Again, great blend of textures – crispy from the rye bread, creamy from egg yolks and mayo, balanced out by the fresh leafy salad and crunchy onions. People who don’t like the ‘raw’ fishiness of the herring might want to skip it though.
Everyone should know by now that I’m not a fan of greens, but the Fikasalad (SGD15) had me going for seconds. Mesclun salad, french beans, roasted pumpkin, sunflower seeds, rich feta cheese, radish, cherry tomatoes, and (more) eggs are drizzled over with an appetising honey-lemon vinaigrette and tossed together for great effect. It is also served with a slice of hard rye bread.
Don’t forget to try this item on their seasonal Autumn menu: the Warm Countryside Salad (SGD16). The centrepiece is a lingonberry poached pear, which is so soft it literally melts in your mouth. Surrounding it like a beautiful garden is rucola salad, plump, meaty mushrooms, walnuts and cheese. Being a fan of mushrooms I was a very happy camper.
For the mains, I had Fisherman’s Pasta (SGD24): essentially linguine with mussels, white fish, squid and prawn, topped with fresh rocket leaves and cherry tomatoes in a buttery, lemon-garlic sauce. After the phenomenal salads, this was a little underwhelming as it lacked seasoning and taste. The seafood was mostly fresh, except the fish which was overcooked and soggy. Gotta commend their portion though, which was enough for a big eater.
Filched Swedish Meatballs (SGD 19) from a fellow media member. The dish is served with baby potatoes, lingonberry jam and cream sauce. Bursting with meaty flavours and juices, it’s still as good as they were when I first had them three years ago. They also feel very home-made, like something a mom might churn out of the kitchen for guests.
FIKA SWEDISH CAFE AND BISTRO
257 Beach Rd 199539 Singapore
Opening hours: 11AM-11PM (Mon-Fri), 12PM-11PM (weekends)