Halal Swedish food on Arab Street is a rare sight, and modern, whitewashed Fika certainly stands out in the mostly traditional area dominated by shophouses. The desserts are the clear winner here, while the mains are only so-so; tea-lovers will appreciate the personal pot service and eclectic selection of Gryphon teas. Avoid the unwieldy, open-faced sandwiches and stick with the sweet stuff: a just-right chocolate cake and Swedish pancakes with preserves go down a treat.
This is why Fika is a godsend to this area. By the time I reach this end of Arab St, I’d be sweating like a hog from the heat and humidity. Having to lug shopping bags (no, not the disposable plastic ones – I’m actually one of the few people who care enough about global warming to actually carry my own canvas tote) full of cloth from Gim Joo and bling from Lalhubbai doesn’t help either.
Fika has an air-con that works. It doesn’t matter if the food is only average.
The portions were hearty, leaving little room on the table for anything else, not even our elbows. This justifies the cost and softens the blow on the wallet a little. My dining companions and I avoided the usual meatballs dish, creating an excuse for a second visit, perhaps?
Fika is not short of competitors though, with several cafes and the usual establishments duking it out in the increasingly popular Haji Lane.
Firstly, the portions were incredibly big that none of my family members finished their meal. It was a great waste and even the meatballs, though quite nice, were left unfinished. I ordered the smoked salmon and it was super overcooked. I had a hard time chewing everything and gave up after a while.
It's probably the only halal Swedish restaurant I know in Singapore and I'm willing to give it another try. I just need to make sure I have my parents there so they can pay for it all...it's really quite expensive.
I settled for their famous homemade Swedish meatballs, which is highly recommended to all. I think Fika specializes on their meat set meals, thus I would not recommend set meals such as their seafood or mushroom pasta. Their lingonberry cheesecake is also a must-try!
The food wise, it tasted more like a fusion of western rather than authentic Swedish food. The prices range from $16 - $30 for main courses and $6 - $8 for cakes. I absolutely adore their mushroom cream pasta with meatballs. Their meatballs taste hand-made, and it was proven - in a bad way. There was once when my meatballs was crunchy. I continued a second bite and curiosity got the better of me and i cut up the meatballs, in search for the unusual ingredient. To my horror, it was egg shells.
Inspired by Swedish delights, the menu had a wide variety. I had the chicken with black pepper sauce and baked potatoes. EXTREMELY DELICIOUS. I was very pleased with my dish and even though the portion was relatively big, I ate it all. For drinks, I had their Swedish apple tea.
I spent about $30 for myself which may sound quite expensive but it was definitely worth my money. The place is rather popular and it was packed when I went. Lucky we had made reservations. Their staff are friendly and polite too. I understand that they have a second floor that is open to hold events but when I enquired about it, I found the quotation pretty pricey.
However, I would definitely return there with my Muslim friends and I am sure they will enjoy it as much as I did.
Fika Cafe does Swedish comfort food, including classics like the Swedish Meatballs With Lingonberry Jam. The meatballs are a mixture of beef and lamb, and while they aren't dry, they weren't very juicy either. I also thought that the meatballs could have been packed a little tighter, but overall, I liked the dish.
Other Swedish classics include Blueberry Soup (which is like Blueberry Juice), and Rosehip Soup (which has a citrus-y, almost orange like taste).
The desserts at Fika Cafe are really good, especially the Apple Crumble Pie With Ice Cream.
All the times I've visited, I found the service to be excellent. Staff will do their best to attend to your requests, answer questions on ingredients, or how best to consume a dish, and food is served relatively quickly even when crowded.
The Ambience at Fika Cafe is also stand-out. The first floor is your typical cozy cafe layout, but ask to be seated at the second floor. You'll think you just stepped into someone's home... There's a fake fireplace with comfy sofas, a bookshelf with ladder, and various other decorations and knick-knacks strewn about. Great for photo-taking.
If at all possible, do try to avoid sitting outdoors, as you'll be accosted by beggers. Having actually visited Fika Cafe on a daily basis for a week, I noticed that they actually come at fixed timings every day. For example, an elderly single lady will come, without fail, at 11.45am everyday. And around 2pm, a couple carrying a baby will come around. It's almost like they have some kind of schedule they keep among themselves.
If you're feeling generous and don't mind giving, then go ahead, but if you're adverse to this kind of thing, then it's best if you sit indoors instead.
I normally have the skagen, which is an open faced sandwich with a mountain of creamy shrimp, smoked salmon and shrimp roe. It is delightfully filling without being too heavy, and perfect for those who want to try having a meal served chilled instead of the usual hot food that we always have in Singapore.
I think that good food aside, I very much enjoy the design of the place. Everything from the counter to the lamps speaks elegance and sophistication. The sheer whiteness of the colour scheme brings to mind calmness and relaxation. This place is a must-try although it tends to be crowded during lunch period.
We ordered the grilled chicken crepe which came with a large, and i mean LARGE chunk of chicken wrapped in between the thin layers of crepe. The accompanying sauce highlighted the whole dish. The dish is really filling for one, due to the generous portion of meat given.
We also ordered their blueberry soup. Yes- blueberry soup.
Didn't you just open your eyes in wonder? That was me then. I was super excited to taste blueberries in a form of soup. There were hot and cold versions and upon asking, found out that the hot version was more popular, hence our choice.
Meh. Like what is this, it is just purely blueberry juice, heated up. Or maybe, give them the benefit of doubt, it TASTED like blueberry juice. Didn't even have any chunks of blueberry in the 'soup'.
The mains are great, just skip the blueberry soup.
The one time I went to Fika with a couple of friends, it felt sort of awkward. There were a few more people around, but it was so quiet. We were served with courtesy, but there just wasn't any warmth and I did not feel welcome. At all. And since the whole place was so quiet, it felt weird talking to my friends because it seems like everyone could hear our conversation.
Their food and drinks are alright, a bit overpriced in my opinion, but oh well. Probably in the future I'll give Fika a try again, and I hope it won't disappoint.