Customers perched on little wooden stools along the footpath are the first clue as to the whereabouts of Fika Swedish Kitchen. Take a detour off the Manly Corso and you’ll quickly find them, sprawled out and soaking up the sun.
The new Swedish haunt comes with all the hallmarks of popular Scandinavian interior design. It’s a light, airy space with untreated woodwork and industrial fixtures, peppered with canary yellow accents. Meanwhile, the menu features homemade fare and authentic recipes.
“The aim for Fika is to be a place where Swedes can feel at home, and where Australians can experience something completely new,” says co-founder Sophie Zetterberg. She and fellow Swedish owners Linda Stanes and Diana Chirilas have been Sydneysiders for some time, yet have often yearned for the flavours of home. “Ever since the three of us moved here, we've wanted to bring the Swedish fika culture to Sydney.”
But what is fika? The Swedish concept is all about the ritual of taking a break and a bite to eat. “It’s a moment to relax, to catch up with your family and laugh with your friends… It’s the time between meals, the place between destinations,” says Zetterberg.
It’s been open just a week or so, but word of mouth has quickly spread about Fika’s traditional dishes prepped by a bona fide Swedish chef. A breakfast might take the form of crispbread with egg and fish roe spread (an ingredient you may have spotted in a tube at IKEA), while lunch might be meatballs with beetroot relish.
Open sandwiches are topped with traditional combos like skagen (poached prawns smothered with a mayo, dill and lemon mixture) and gravlax atop crushed boiled eggs with black caviar. Pair that with refreshing elderflower saft (that’s cordial to us), imported Swedish teas or Campos coffee. If you’re keen on something sweet, try a slice of gooey kladkakka mud cake, or one of the sugar-dusted cinnamon buns brought to the counter as they’re baked.