Woooooh ooooo ooooo oooo, for the longest time 🙂 Ok so I was singing the catchy Billy Joel tune For The Longest Time as we drove towards Brika, because for the longest time, well at least since it opened, I had put Brika at the top of the list of places I desperately wanted to eat at. Haha desperately, listen to me, talk about a drama queen. Such is my passion for trying delicious food I suppose and it’s important to be passionate.
So off we went to Brika, “WHERE THE PACE IS LEISURELY, THE PLATES COMMUNAL, AND THE CONVERSATION SPIRITED”
It was a wintery evening when we arrived a touch after six and while there were several tables set up outside, which were well sheltered and did come complete with warming outdoor heaters but I was somewhat pleased to be seated inside, where it was a little more snug. And there was actually a familiar face that greeted us. I had meet the friendly chap in charge at a few other venues around town and it was nice to get to say hello again.
So we sat down and started looking at the menu. Ok, ok I may have already perused the menu before we arrived but it was all Greek to me. Hahaha…… I’m hilarious I know. I am sure the staff there must hear that phrase a lot. Thankfully though we entrusted all our ordering decisions to the Brika team. Clearly they would know best.
I kicked things off with a Greek wine, a glass of the Thalassitis by Gaia, Assyrtiko 2012. It was actually the first Greek wine I have tried before and after moving on from the initial surprise that Greek wine is traditionally served in more of a tumbler than a wine glass (which I felt that was good knowledge to have ahead of a visit to Santorini next year) I did enjoy the wine, it was white and dry. My favourite kind.
First to arrive on the food front was the classic combination of pita bread and dips.
Hummus chickpea tahini
Tzatziki cucumber garlic yoghurt
Served toasted and warm the triangle slices of pita bread was just divine and topped with the entirely flavourful dips, it was a simple wonder. Simple wonders are just wonderful. The hummus had plenty of garlic. A punchy amount of garlic, which I welcomed. I like garlic. And then there was the tzatziki, which was almost a welcome contrast with its refreshing ribbons of cucumber. And so creamy! I loved them both and we worked off a very high dip to pita ratio 🙂
Next to appear was something I knew I was going to love before I’d even tasted it – Saganaki kefalograviera pan fried. I might not have been before but speaking to a cousin about his visit he had mentioned this dish to me. Pan fried cheese, how could it go wrong! It couldn’t. It was delicious and reminded me of haloumi, which I am already addicted to, but the big win here is that in Greece when I see Saganaki kefalograviera on the menu I’ll know to order double. I was learning so much!
Beetroot Salad haloumi pomegranate mint was a really pretty dish with it’s different shades of winter beets and was fairly light, though just full of flavour, with some welcome sweetness from the beetroot. Also I suspected the lightness would work well for us because there was still a few other dishes that would be arriving later.
The next few dishes arrived in a flurry. First the Calamari lemon zest herbs was a wonderfully charred affair, but the rich smoked flavor worked well with the melt in your mouth calamari tubes. I liked that essentially every dish we order came with a juicy lemon cheek. The citrus spray was a real compliment to each dish.
The largest of the dishes that we ordered (well not so much ordered but the Brika team had chatted to us and knew we were lamb fans when they placed our order for us) was the Lamb slow cooked charcoal house marinade. A real, generous hunk of meat. That may not be the more elegant description but let me assure you the flavours were pure elegance. The meat just fell off the bone and there was such an interesting herbed and spiced marinade that it had been lovingly slow cooked in. It disappeared in a flash, especially with my resident meat lover as my dining companion. But we can both appreciate the benefits of also enjoying your veg so we welcomed the side of the Lahanika, which is seasonal charred vegetables. When you eat really great veg like this you can perhaps appreciate why some people are vegetarian, but then I remembered the lamb and was pleased I could to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Now we were told that when in Greece you have to give ouzo a go and at Brika they have several varieties available. As it was explained to us ouzo is not something you shoot like a B52 or a shot of Black Sambuca, but instead it is something you sip, potentially even over the course of a whole meal. We sipped a small glass each as we shared out dessert of Baklava filo pastry honey walnuts halva icecream. As a licorice fan I enjoyed the ouzo. Served iced cold it still somehow managed to warm you from your head to your toes as to sipped it.
And the dessert – amazing! Definitely ideal for sharing because it is fairly sweet. The accompanying creamy halva ice cream worked really with the sweet, flakey pastry goodness of the baklava. Oh the wonderful syrupy goodness of baklava, we just loved it!
What a night and what a meal. I really liked my first visit to Brika. Delicious Greek food and super friendly service. I hope to head back again soon and study up more on their dishes ahead of my visit to the mother land next year. Opa! 🙂