Stasinou 16, 22376584/99408022, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
Passing by I thought it was a casual snack bar and even tried to go for lunch only to find it closed, therefore decided to go on a random Tuesday night (especially because Mr Proud Cypriot was away and I didn’t have to worry about him complaining that we didn’t go for “souvlakia”).
Arriving there my friend and I were a bit worried as the restaurant was almost empty (it was after all a cold Tuesday night), and being quite simple and plain and together with the bright lights it reminded more of a café and even thought about leaving. It was only when the menu came that I thought, “thank god we stayed”!
What I had in my mind to be a casual dinner turned out to be a multi-course degustation menu!
It was a list of 15 dishes that included tortellone with fetta, leaks and tomato, as well as foie gras terrine with pistaccios and cherries. There was the option to order the 5 or 12-course menu (+ 2 desserts on the house) with 20€ or 30€ , respectively. The truth is I was still a bit cautious thinking “how good can this be”, we are after all in Cyprus and having in mind London restaurants it is hard to find something that measures up to them. Nevertheless we went for the 5-course option, looking forward to what would come.
The truth is every single course was carefully prepared and presented, offering a fantastic combination of flavors, having an Italian (as the chef is Italian) but also a local touch. The pecorino flan, which was excellent, was served in an egg shell and tasted like a good “flaouna”, the “kleftiko” with quince was my personal favorite as it was extremely soft and tender, cooked to perfection and the foie gras terrine was full of flavour. My least favourite was the tuna with olives, apples and salmon caviar as I am not a big fan of olives in my food, but my friend loved it so I guess it is just a personal preference. For dessert we were kindly offered two of them on the house, I chose the pistaccio crème brulee and the tiramisu, both quite good (even though I preferred the tiramisu).
What made our dinner even better was, (for the first time), what came at the end: the bill. All of the above was slightly less than 30€ each with 3 glasses of wine, (for two people). It looked even less thinking that the night before I paid 25€ to eat starters and “souvlakia” at a local taverna. What was even more impressive is that everything is prepared solely by the Italian chef, and served solely by his lovely wife. The fact that they lived (and worked) abroad did not come as a surprise as everything about the restaurant is unique and different.
All in all, do not be put off by the simple and a bit quirky décor but try this unique and fantastic value-for-money restaurant with very good food, especially for Cyprus standards. Things to note: order the 12 course menu for 30€, especially if you are hungry and despite the name, reservations are recommended.
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