A few weeks ago I attended lunch at Fika Swedish Café at OneKM on the East Coast; this Singapore restaurant is the newest location (following Kampong Glam and Milennia Walk in the CBD) for what is surely one of the island’s most unique culinary concepts: Halal Swedish food.
Fika is the brainchild of Singaporean mama Tasneem Noor and her Swedish husband, Joakim Smidhagen. A graphic designer by training, Tas is a lover of all things Scandinavia (she met her husband while backpacking there) and started testing out recipes borrowed from her mother-in-law when she discovered that the famous meatballs served at IKEA weren’t Halal (this was six years ago; IKEA has subsequently started serving them). Soon word of her delicious meatballs and creamy pasta bake started to spread, and she found they were highly in-demand for family and social gatherings!
Fika (loosely translated to “having a coffee break”) aims for a homey, casual vibe, modeling itself after Swedish “house food”, right down to the adorable windows and shutters that line its borders from the mall walkway. There’s even a kids’ play area (including a real live tree that they can play under!), ensuring a fun and happy dining experience for the entire family.
The food is hearty and comforting, and they use fresh ingredients as much as possible to make everything from scratch. (Some items, like the delectable lingonberry jam, have to be imported).
Among my favourites were the Pickled Herring Platter (light and zesty), and the creamy, not-too-sweet beet salad, which was smooth and satisfying. I could have gobbled up two more plates of the chicken sausage stew (“we went through a few butchers before finding someone who could give us satisfactory meat”, Tas reports), and of course I enjoyed the hearty, juicy Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam and beef stock gravy.
Speaking of lingonberry, I loved the refreshing lingonberry ade that I had to drink; Fika offers all sorts of interesting Swedish beverages, from Trocadero soda, to non-alcoholic pear cider, to caramel-flavoured Portello. The meal finished strong, too, with a moist, fudgy brownie with fruit and ice cream, and a lighter, but just as flavourful, Budapest roll with mandarin, fresh cream, chocolate cake and almonds.
It’s fortunate Fika’s fresh-baked confections are so yummy, as they’ve recently launched a side business in children’s birthday parties. With their play area, whimsical décor, and delicious food, they handle all planning, logistics and party favours so parents can just enjoy themselves (or at least focus on wrangling the kids!).
Fika’s extensive menu includes breakfast and set lunch options, and they strive to cater to all dietary restrictions with gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based and soy milk options, too. So next time you and the kids are in the mood for something a little different, mama, consider traveling to Singapore’s little piece of Scandinavia.
Fika, #02-K3 OneKM, 11 Tanjong Katong Road, Singapore 436950, Tel: (+65) 6702 2456. Other locations at Kampong Glam/Beach Road (+65 6396 9096) and Millenia Walk (+65 6336 7234).