Slick, modern fit-out. Specialty coffee focus. On-trend menu. Fika on Brix wouldn’t look out of place in any inner-city precinct, which makes its suburban location – inside the Mills Park Recreation Centre in Beckenham, complete with playground and pet-friendly alfresco area – all the more surprising.

Equally noteworthy is that this diamond-in-the-suburban-rough is owner Imelda Latief’s first cafe venture. A pastry chef by trade, she spent the first seven years of her hospitality career in the kitchen before a stint at a friend’s Croissant Express franchise exposed her to more of a service role.

“It made me realise that I loved building relationships with customers,” says Latief. “I found it really rewarding and that’s what gave me the drive and inspiration open a cafe of my own.”

Although born in Indonesia, Latief has drawn upon the Swedish coffee-break tradition of fika for both the name and philosophy of her cafe. In Sweden, fika isn’t just about sitting down for a cuppa: it’s a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life.

“I wanted it to be a place where people could relax and take a break from their daily routine,” Says Latief.

While confident in her ability to deliver great service and knock-out pastries, Latief has enlisted help in constructing Fika’s coffee and food offerings. Beans are supplied by local roaster Grand Central and head barista Andrew Kenyon’s specialty coffee set-up features different single-origin batch brews alongside the usual espresso-based offerings.

“Bringing more advanced coffee knowledge is definitely one of our missions,” says Latief. “We’ve got about 80 per cent of people who usually drink long blacks to switch to batch brew by explaining it tastes better, is cheaper and has more caffeine.”

Menu consultant Benny Suwarno, a long-time friend of Latief’s and chef at Typika Artisan Roasters, has written a menu of cafe classics and Asian mash-ups. Thus, bacon and eggs and apple and raspberry Bircher muesli are offered alongside bulgogi beef hash and chicken katsu bao. A good kids menu and range of cakes and pastries rounds off the selection.

Fika on Brix
86 Brixton Street, Beckenham
(08) 6369 1230

Tue to Fri 7am–3pm
Sat & Sun 7am–4pm