Why your next breakfast meeting should be at Brik in Jozi
In what once was the old Rosebank fire station, you'll find a cosy eatery that's an example of good food done right
Sasha Simpson says it’s a coincidence that her new eatery shares its name with a thin, flaky Turkish pastry. When creating the restaurant, in a nook of the old fire station building in Rosebank, they wanted to keep some of its heritage. After going through the usual suspects of ladders and poles, they eventually settled for using red brick. The quirky spelling was “just a fluke”. I believe in numerology and “brick” without the c just worked out better,” Simpson laughs.
A spot of Turkish pastry wouldn’t be out of place in this earthenware-inspired setting. The space is an attractive mix of contemporary furniture and ceramics. The warm reddish-brown interior is washed with light from the feature bay window.
It’s the perfect setting for your next daytime meeting, if you’re lucky enough to nab a table – or a parking spot, for that matter. (It is easier to park up the road in Rosebank Mall.) The small space manages to feel both modern and cosy, which reflected in the food too.
The menu is tight, yet adventurous, drawing inspiration from Simpson’s Jewish heritage and her fascination with Asian flavours. It is by far the most exciting breakfast menu Joburg has seen in a long time.
When was the last time you saw a tomato-water pickle, for instance? No ordinary gherkin, this cucumber is pickled in lacto-fermented tomatoes. “Lacto-fermented products bring fruitiness, acidity and umami to everything they touch,” reads the menu. When coupled with a poached egg, sweet potato latkes, horseradish emulsion and a nice chunk of warm pastrami, it delivers on its promise.
You will find other interesting pairings, like coconut-fired egg with burnt butter hollandaise and an open omelet with turmeric aioli, picked cabbage and labneh, on the menu.
For lunch, you can enjoy an open sandwich with kidney beans, sweet onion, coriander and walnuts with lashings of goat’s milk feta or dig into beef cheek and bone broth with dunkable cabbage rolls.
To round off your meal, enjoy a delicious coffee. Flynn Coffee, based in Kramerville, is a partner in the space. They specialise in “third wave, traceable coffee” – basically beans that are artisanally-roasted, ethical and traceable. It’s also are one of the few spots that actually knows how to treat almond milk right (if you’re into that sort of thing).
This partnership is part of Simpson’s vision for her first solo venture after years of working in the hospitality industry.
“The whole philosophy of Brik is building up those relationships with local suppliers,” she says. “It’s about going back to eating food that isn’t necessarily out of a packet or a premade syrup or powder. It means building each dish as it was always supposed to be.”
• Visit Brik at The Firestation, 16 Baker Street, Rosebank, Johannesburg.