Brika might just be the most interesting small bar to open in Perth this year. Holding court on a hitherto unremarkable corner of Stirling Street, the city’s newest – and, for the moment, only – modern meze bar proves there’s more to Hellenic culture than Nana Mouskouri and smashed plates.
A collage of weathered window shutters makes a handsome feature wall. Pieces of drachma are set in the polished concrete floor while vintage ouzo posters hang on bathroom doors. This fresh-faced, low-cliché space is the handiwork of freshly minted publican Simon Psaros. The lawyer-turned-bar owner isn’t above calling in reinforcements should the situation warrant it. The compact and value-heavy wine list, for instance, is covered in the fingerprints of Lalla Rookh sommelier and all-round nice guy, Jeremy Prus. From crisp assyrtiko to juicy xinomavro, it’s the west’s most compelling dialogue on Greek wine.
The cocktail list, meanwhile, benefits from the drink smarts of Ian Loh and Candice Knight, two of the friendlier barkeeps you’re likely to encounter in this town (sadly, the duo aren’t behind the stick as much as we’d like). Their contributions to the party include the gin- and watermelon-powered Gin-nopolis and the Spyros Reviver #2, a Greek riff on the Corpse Reviver with Metaxa brandy and ouzo standing in for gin and absinthe respectively. It’s invigorating stuff, although feel free to get your RDI of ouzo, mastika and other Greco spirits straight-up and unadorned.
While staff are mostly upbeat and cheery, the introduction of additional sidewalk seating has triggered hiccups in the service ranks, not least behind the bar. Here’s hoping these get addressed sooner rather than later, but failing that, the kitchen’s brand of gusty, sensibly-priced cooking is reason enough to keep returning. Go a handful of punchy dips (taramasalata, tzatziki, hummus). Go platefuls of meat rendered juicy and smoky by the wood-fired grill. Go and see why the good people of Perth are feverishly trying to get themselves to the Greek.