Our very first 'second visit' review - how exciting. A dinner for 7 to celebrate the birthday of Marmite's partner, who we have dubbed 'Midnight Oil'.
You can read our first review of Brika here. The short version is:
- The food was very impressive. We all presumed it was authentic and traditional, but then none of us would have cared if it wasn't as it was all simply delicious.
- In the previous review I kept talking about how great the haloumi was, and it turns out it's actually not haloumi at all. It's another kind of cheese. I'm not 100% sure which kind of cheese, but definitely not haloumi.
- We loved our waiter, who recommended us dishes and was otherwise friendly and delightful.
- We were sitting inside of the restaurant, which is on the ground floor of an apartment building. Some of us were sitting on stools, which became uncomfortable towards the end of our meal.
- We were seated outside - which I was very happy about as it was much warmer than our last visit and we got to see a different side of the restaurant.
- Being sat outside meant that we were shown to a long bench table, with stools. More effing stools. They look like the exact same effing stools I complained about last time, too, just a different colour!
- Tapas food on a long table doesn't really work, as it's much harder to share and you always feel like one dish is being hogged up the one end. I'm starting to fall on the 'all tapas food is annoying' end of the spectrum. Tapas food sounds good in theory but it doesn't really work in practice. I'm hoping Perth soon falls out of love with it.
- Our first waitress was lovely - all smiles and jokes and very happy to know we were happy. Our second waitress wasn't. The second waitress seemed to be impatient with us, and wanted us to start ordering food a few minutes after the last of our group had sat down. She came out twice and her mood didn't improve. I ended up ordering some starters for the table, even though no-one really knew what they wanted at that point, just to keep her happy. I understand we can all have bad days at work, but truth be told she wasn't great.
- The food was very good once again.
- We shared the sardines and they were a hit among us all. Except for Madam Rabbit, who couldn't be convinced to eat them even though they are basically an oily vegetable with only the tiniest of eyes. They didn't taste salty at all and had a great lemoney kick to them.
- The hummus and the tzatziki were great starting dishes and this time came out with enough pita bread for the full table.
- I remembered to get a photo of the chips this time and, as you can see, they are fairly chip-like. The smokey sauce they came out with was very popular with the table too.
- The olives were average and not worth ordering - certainly not for $6.00.
- The 'mains' came out in a rush about 10 mins after the starter dishes listed above, which meant there really wasn't enough space on the table for everything. I think this was the grumpy waitress' fault.
- The pork belly was very nice, although I didn't get to try them with the honey glaze they came with as it never got passed down to me (again, a problem with tapas on a long table).
- I didn't try the lamb chops unfortunately but all reports were very positive.
- The 'saganaki', which apparently means to pan-fry anything and not necessarily cheese, was amazing once again. This is the dish I thought previously was haloumi, but I think it may actually be goat's cheese instead. You must order this dish if you visit Brika - it is a chunk of delicious cholesterol.
- The meatballs with a tzatziki dip were very nice and worth ordering.
- The salads were all a little disappointing to me. The beetroot salad was the winner among what we ordered, and the cypriot salad was the clear loser. It wasn't nice. I'm not sure even Madam Rabbit bothered with it. It's like, lentils and.. nuts.. maybe seeds.. and.. ugh, who cares.
- Unfortunately I wasn't on my game and didn't get photos of everything, and I didn't try all the dishes and can't remember many talking points for those dishes I did try.
- Overall though I think everyone agreed there were enough star dishes on the table and werenot many misses.
- Brika wanted to charge us $30 to bring our own cake. Is that really necessary? What are people's thoughts on cakeage as a general concept, and what cost is reasonable?
- I think we perhaps could have swallowed something around the $10 mark, and even then we probably would have ordered one or two of their deserts to compliment our cake and for more photos.
- We chose not to order dessert at the bench, though, and instead ate our cake at a friend's apartment nearby.
- But even for those without friendly locals it seems the park across the road would have been a plenty-good venue to sing happy birthday to someone. Surely that's a better option than paying $30 simply for the license to enjoy something you brought with you?
- It's pretty clear in hindsight that my photos weren't that great.
I think overall perhaps Brika lost some of its sheen on the second visit. The second waitress and her grumpy mood put a dampener on things for me, the stools were uncomfortable, the tapas on the long table didn't really work and they asked us to pay $30 to enjoy a birthday cake we had brought for the birthday boy (not because we wanted to undercut them, but just because Midnight Oil really liked a particular cake and it's his birthday so he gets to make those kinds of decisions).
However, notwithstanding all of the above whinging, the food at Brika was - yet again - wonderful. There were a few misses (the salads in particular) but certainly not enough to take away from the big hits they served us.
I think perhaps the reason I make the above complaints is because I was expecting the amazing food and so was not blown away when they delivered it. On my first visit, I probably could have ignored everything I've just whinged about because the food is just so good (also, because on my first visit I had enough wining to prevent whining). The second visit, though, not so much.
I would go again but perhaps not in a hurry.
7 cakeages out of 10