Certainly stereotypes about countries exist. If I were to picture Swedish people and design I would picture blonde hair, lots of blue and yellow colours (their flag) and blond wood (from...well Ikea). And when we arrive at Fika Swedish Kitchen in Manly, I'm feeling distinctly dark haired among a sea of blondes. Open for two months, Fika is located in Market Lane parallel to Manly's busy Corso strip. Fika is Swedish for taking a break for a drink or food.
As Mr NQN, Louise, Viggo and I take a seat, we hear the patter of Swedish and it seems that the local Swedish community has already found Fika. The blackboard menu at the front shows breakfast served until 11:30. From 12 lunch takes over and after 3pm there are sandwiches available as well as their cakes. Prices are good and we are told that everything is made in house (yes including the Swedish meatballs, there are no Ikea ones here).
There are two types of coffee: Campos and Bryggkaffe which is Swedish filter coffee at $2 with unlimited help yourself refills. There is also the tradition of name day and today anyone called "Lena" or "Helena" can have coffee for free. Swedish teas can also be ordered or bought in packs in flavours such as "smultron and elder" or wild strawberry and elderflower.
O'Boy is like a Quik drink, a sweet chocolate powder for kids. It's not bad although really quite sweet but the hot chocolate is thick and milky and not at all watery. It's also available to buy for $15 in a large canister.
Iced elderflower $4 and freshly squeezed orange juice $4
The freshly squeezed orange juice is sweet and refreshing although on the smallish side. The elderflower drink is very lightly sweet and is a lightly flavoured iced water.
The open faced Skagen sandwich is said to be Sweden's signature sandwich. Here it is served on a very fresh baguette portion which has a crispy outer and a soft, dense inner. It's filled with peeled prawns with mayonnaise, cos lettuce leaf, dill & lemon and topped with tiny fish roe. I really enjoy this sandwich-the bread is fresh, filling and chewy and the prawn mix is generous with lots of mayonnaise and dill and there's a lovely pop from the roe and tang from the lemon.
Swedish meatballs $18
The Swedish meatballs are five to a serve and are excellent-made with 75% beef and 25% pork they're spiced and seasoned and served with a textured potato mash, onion gravy, lingonberrry jam and sweet cucumber images.
The other sandwich was the gravlax one which because it is laden with so many goodies and is also an open faced one, is a bit of a challenge to eat. It's topped with dill gravlax or cured salmon, chopped boiled egg, mayo & dill. It's also good but the bread on this is thicker and I prefer the Skagen because it is easier to eat whilst I managed to get egg everywhere with each bite.
Chocolate balls(Kokosbollar) $3
Viggo saw the chocolate oat balls and they reminded him of the chocolate oat balls that his Danish mother Madame Butterfly makes. These are really good-with coconut, chocolate, oats and sugar these crunchy and slightly sweet with the goodness of oats and coconut.
All of the desserts are also home made and they tell us that kladdkaka translates to "messy cake". Here, it is a crackly crusted chocolate cake with an appealingly soft, almost liquid centre-it's like a brownie cake which has us swooning. Served on top of this is homemade vanilla whip.
Rhubarb crumble $8
The rhubarb and berry crumble is topped with an oat and coconut crumble on top and I particularly like the crumble combined with a generous scoop of home made vanilla whip on top which is made with a caramelised vanilla reduction mixed with whipped cream.
So tell me Dear Reader, what or who do you think of when you think of Sweden? And do you prefer open faced sandwiches or regular ones?
Fika Swedish Kitchen
5b Market Lane, Manly NSW 2095
Open 7 days 7am-5pm