Pasikratous 11-13, 22667668, LEFKOSIA (NICOSIA)
I used to think that fine dining in Cyprus is sort of non-existent. There were some spells of fine dining in Limassol with restaurants like Mavrommatis or even Beige in Limassol. It was only in the last few weeks that I realized that fine dining does in fact exist in the capital, and it exists in all its glory. With a wine cellar the content of which is probably the best in the capital, found in a unique location, decorated in a very elegant and refined style, providing a fine-dining service and a carefully selected and prepared menu, in my opinion, 1900 simply defines fine dining in the capital.
One of my favourite things about 1900 is the fact that the location and the restaurant as a whole contradicts its surroundings. In an alley off Laiki Gitonia, full of tourists, casual cafes and souvenir shops there comes a restaurant with a sophisticated lay out and décor, which has been there way before the old-city-frenzy. The main dining space is on the ground floor and although all tables are situated in one square room it doesn’t feel crowded or noisy. It is in fact appropriate for anything from a romantic dinner, to a large group of friends. The wine cellar on the first floor is impressive, which is on the way to the “private room”. This room looks like how I would imagine a gentlemen’s cigar room. It is used upon request for wine and cheese, a digestif or even dinner. I also liked the fact that, even though refined and elegant with white table cloth and comfortable old-school chairs it is not uptight but rather has a modernised side to it that comes from a few rays of colour here and there, the bar and the funky table lamps.
Needless to say that the food fits the whole concept perfectly. And that was even before I found out that the cook was actually one of my personal favourite chefs, Petros Andrianou (see Petros Andrianou) that came onboard recently. Thinking back the food did have a “Petros” taste, i.e. touches of weird combinations with simple and exotic ingredients that together provide a great unity. The foie gras with corn powder and dried berries and the oysters in pineapple cannelloni, chilli oyster water and lime were an obvious choice for a starter in such a place, but when you are 8 months pregnant you must, unfortunately compromise your meal. When I asked Giorgos, the owner and the person behind all of this he blindly recommended “the garden” as a good option. The dish reminded me of Sicilian food: they take simple ingredients and transform them into a new and fantastic dish. The tomato tartare, with lime, roasted tomato petals, truffle oil and herbs was very good and refreshing. Although the dish has a very familiar ingredient as its base, the result was a new flavour all-together. As a main course I was tempted to go for the steak but I thought I should try something different. Between the home-made tonarelli pasta with crab meat, peach, macademian nuts and mascarpone cheese and the baby chicken cooked in aromatic herbs and served with potato puree with mastic and pancetta dust I chose the chicken for some protein! As a person who doesn’t eat a lot of chicken due to the low market quality of it, I have found somewhere where I can finally enjoy it. The meat itself was tender and surprisingly flavoursome, especially combined with the light taste of mastic and the salty pancetta. Something else I should mention is that, for a small menu there was something for everyone: vegetarian starters and main courses, fish dishes, pasta and meat.
After my starter and my main course I felt ready for a dessert. I found it hard to choose from the very interesting options but in the end I went with the rice pudding as it is generally one of my favourite desserts. Apart from the rice pudding itself which was quite light, the home-made honey comb and the coated macademian nuts were exactly what was needed for to provide a sweet yet light taste of pudding.
I generally found the restaurant (and my meal) to be “complete” as a fine-dining experience: the food was tasty in a unique way, the wine list was indeed one of the best I have seen with wines starting from a 20-30€ moving to tens of thousands of euros and a feel-good inviting ambiance. Even the cutlery were of “Laguiole” the finest cutlery in the world, hand-made in Laguiole town in France!
I can’t say that the price was more than what I expected. One must always remember what you eat for the price you pay and not prices in absolute terms. Starters ranged from 12-16€ while main courses from 19€-26€ with the exception of the filet steak at 35€.
My overall verdict is that 1900 is making a come back in all aspects. One thing is certain: instead of paying 50€ to eat burgers and Ceasar salads I prefer to pay the same amount and go through this experience.
It is worth mentioning that every Sunday 1900 offers all-day-dining from 12 at lunch to 10:30 at night with dishes like roast, pasta and more at good prices.