Six people for dinner at Perth's new darling restaurant, Brika.
(Don't forget you can click on the image galleries below to cycle through them)
Booking for Brika was done by email and was a very easy affair, with someone from the restaurant calling me the afternoon of my email to lock in details and then again the afternoon of our dinner to confirm we were still coming. All very pleasant.
We were given a choice of 6.30pm for two hours or 8.00pm for as long as we wanted. I've made my thoughts on eating on a deadline known before, and so it's no surprise that we opted for the 8.00pm timeslot, even though we all felt a little bit too nanna to be eating at that time.
One thing I should note about this review of our experiences at Brika is that, with the late timeslot, it meant I had consumed a fair amount of wine by the time we sat down to eat. This means I didn't get great photos of the venue. It means I'm slightly hazy on what we ordered and it means my glowing memories of the evening may be slightly influenced by alcohol. Perhaps that was their plan all along..
Food was good. Real good. A bit garlicky at times, but real good. We let the waiter guide us through the menu and he started us off with two plates of olives, pita bread and dips. The hummus dips and the tzatziki were excellent. The olives were lovely as well (I'm an olive fan, for those that subscribe to the olive theory and interested) but I'm not sure he needed to give us two plates of them. I also think they could have provided a bit more pita bread for that amount of dip, as you will see from the photos there was some tzatziki left over. Fortunately, it was real tasty and so Tom A. Hawk was happy to eat it off his finger. We all tried to look away as he showed no shame, doing all he could to hold off from licking the plate.
Once we had finished our dips (like savages) the waiter brought us some sardines, haloumi, charred vegetables and chips. I didn't get a photo of the chips but they looked like how you imagine chips to look. The haloumi was amazing, although again we probably didn't need two plates of it and in hindsight I wish he had of brought us something else to try. The sardines were good, although I didn't think they were great. They certainly weren't overpoweringly salty though and so while I was hesitant to try them I'd happily order them again.
After the second round of plates a theme started to emerge. It was all greek food, I'm told (I'm not cultured and I don't really know what greek food is meant to be like), which we all enjoyed. But it seemed to me Brika's more obvious theme is simple food, done well. The haloumi was literally a chunk of warm cheese with a slice of lemon, and I know I've had that dish elsewhere but it's never tasted as good as at Brika. The sardines dish was some toasted bread, sardines (fresh not tinned, our waiter assured us) with oil, and it came together as rustic and satisfying.
The waiter then brought us a third round of food, which included their slow cooked lamb, barramundi, octopus and a village salad. The slow cooked lamb came out on the bone and so Devine Brown took charge and cut it off the bone so that we could all share it. I'm cultured enough to know that it's better for a restaurant to serve the meat on the bone, rather than to cut it off for diners and serve cut up meat on a plate - but then I'm not sure that serving meat on the bone at a tapas joint is very practical. Anyways - who cares - the lamb was tasty and a joy to eat. I completely understand why the waiter described it as his pick of the menu, not that I have tried everything else that they have to offer, but it was very good.
I didn't get much of the barramundi but Tom A. Hawk raved about it - saying it was his favorite dish of the night.
I didn't really like the calamari though. It was a bit cold when it came to us and tasted a bit mushy, for lack of a better term. I think that might have been just me though, because Tom A. Hawk was happy to eat my rejects.
Following that round, I think I probably could have kept going and try a few more items from the menu, but either the waiter moved us on to sweeter stuff or we asked for dessert, I'm not sure. It didn't really matter though as the dessert didn't let down any of the meals that came before it. We picked up two baklava's, two custard filo pies and an orange cake and they were all scrumptious. I think the orange cake may have been my pick of the bunch, although perhaps that's because I only really had one or two bites - it might have got a bit boring after anymore than that.
Brika food: very simple, very nice, presumably very greek.
We didn't really get stuck into the drinks. We had a white wine, a few ciders, a few non-alcoholic beverages and finished up with desert wines.
The two wines we tried were very nice, although my only comment would be the glasses they serve their wines in aren't what you would call wine glasses. They're much smaller, much more basic. They're essentially what I would call water glasses. If I'm being honest, I didn't really like the smaller glasses but they weren't a huge problem given we ordered our own bottle - and they're consistent with Brika's simple theme if nothing else.
I really liked our waiter. He was very nice, relaxed, and happy to walk us through the menu. We trusted his selections and for the most part he did a great job. He joked around with us when we gave him an opportunity and even got stuck in to mop up some spilt wine or our table rather than just giving us the napkins to do it ourself.
He was very good - perhaps the best waiter we've had since starting our reviews.
One minor issue cropped up at the end of the night, when the first bill we were given came in at around $150 more than what we were expecting. As I said earlier, I was probably not in the right frame of mind to be making money decisions when we sat down, and that capacity only got worse as the meal went on, so I was getting ready to pay it when Madam Rabbit went up to query the numbers. Turns out they charged us for three bottles of the desert wine rather than three glasses.
The waiter was very friendly and admitted his mistake though and it really wasn't an issue, other than to note that had one of us not been on the ball we would have probably paid quite a bit more than we should have.
Divine Brown wanted to note that one of the bartenders was incredibly hot, although his greek heritage was questionable. He also noted that another bartender looked a little bit like a serial killer. It's weird because I couldn't even see the bar from where we were sitting - I'm guessing Divine Brown had consumed a fair bit of wine before we sat down as well. Considering the name he chose for himself when sober, though, who knows.
Brika is on the bottom floor of on apartment building and while it's not a bad layout or decor, it's not super impressive.
They've tiled some old shutters onto the wall in the same style as Potatohead, which does look pretty cool. And while I'm no engineer, it looks like the wooden beams they've put on the roof were decorative and not structural.
Also, the table we were shown to was sort of a booth in the corner. This meant that whereas some people were sitting on nice cushions with plenty of back support, an unlucky two were sitting on small stools. The stools became uncomfortable after two hours - although with all the wine I admit I didn't really notice my back pain until the next day.
My only criticism of our Brika experience is that I think they could do a bit better with the amenity of the place.
Overall, all of us were really happy with our night at Brika. The price was reasonable at $320 for six of us with drinks (albeit with two people not drinking alcohol) and the food was very satisfying.
Service was great - really great - and if it wasn't for the uncomfortable stool I had to sit on I wouldn't have had much to complain about at all.
We thoroughly enjoyed it, and if it wasn't so popular we would go back again soon.
8.5 hot greek(?) bartenders out of 10.