Just 14km north of the Greek border is the city of Bitola in Macedonia. This ancient town is a delightful little place to spend a few days in. We enjoyed a momentary stay a few years ago whilst on our honeymoon in Europe.
On our short visit to Bitola, we took in a leisurely walk down the main street known as Širok Sokak. Perfect for people-watching, this street is lined with lively cafés, striking architecture and numerous galleries and shops.
From Bitola, we spent some time in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city. It was only a brief stopover. We didn’t have time to brush up on Greek mythology at any ancient sites nor visit any of the idyllic islands, but we explored a little.
We stopped in at a taverna and enjoyed a spread of ages-old Greek favourites. Few things are better than the taste of oregano and lemon on charcoal grilled octopus.
Fast forward to a few years later and we’re now enjoying those classic Greek flavours at Brika, a near-new eatery in Perth’s CBD. No sign of faux marble columns here. This place has a contemporary feel yet a Greek rustic charm about it. On the menu you’ll find meze (short for “mezedes”) which are small plates designed to share.
The first dish brought to us was a beetroot salad with haloumi, pomegranate and mint. This was delicate and fresh. The white and golden beets were a welcome surprise – these are slightly sweeter than the red. More haloumi with its lovely salty tang was needed to balance the sweetness of the beets.
The next dish was the octopus. Charcoal grilled with oregano and lemon. Sweet, tender octopus, with a distinct charcoal flavour. A liberal squeeze of lemon and I was hooked.
Following the octopus was the pan fried barramundi with skordalia. A crispy outside covering three pieces of the succulent white fillets. The punchy skordalia was a perfect match.
A few of glasses of the Thymiopoulos ‘Young Vines’ Xinomavro from the north of Greece and lashings of warm pita bread and we’d had our fill. This was deliciously simple food in a relaxed atmosphere. Promises were made to come back and try the slow-cooked lamb.