Sieriff 7, 99711119, LEMESOS (LIMASSOL)
Tue-Sun lunch and dinner
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:4] 4/5
Ambiance: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
My favourite part of writing for Cypriot and Proud (and the reason why I started this blog), is discovering hidden gems, places that are fantastic but unknown to the masses (or underestimated by the masses). Over the years I have reviewed hidden gems like Mia Delicy (probably the best food around), The Old Neighbourhood, a number of hidden gems in the mountains like Maria in Koilani and Manolas in Kellaki just to name a few. I will include Art Bistro Agora in the same category as my lunch there the other day was nothing like what I thought it would be.
If I had told you I wanted to visit it for a long time it would be a lie. Reason being it has only moved to this more accessible and “suitable” location for this kind of restaurant only a month ago (from the old market). What do I mean by suitable? The restaurant is a Cyprus-meets-Middle-East-with-an-Indian-touch kind of place, offering a large selection of fantastic starters, salads and main courses that you would never expect to find there. This is why I think its location behind the castle square, in tiny and cute alley right off Agkyras street is fantastic. As I generally like dining al fresco I preferred to have my lunch at the cute tables outside. From what I heard, however, Art Bistro hosts quite a few events on weekends like tango dancing, opera (yes that’s right) and belly dancing that take place in the quite clean and pretty inside space.
After having met the owner it all fell into place. Being an Indian business man, he travelled the world and lived in quite a few places. Food is his passion, something he decided to build on when he came to Cyprus. The Indian and Middle Eastern touches are obvious from dishes like the traditional falafel, a large selection of fantastic dips (including a smoked eggplant and a “fava” dip), Tandoori chicken wings as well as “giaourtlou” kebab. Creative local dishes like “kleftiko”, pork kebab and “giouvetsi” constituted the majority of the menu.
My favourite part of the starters were all the dips that were served with grilled pita bread. The 3-dip platter that came on the house at the beginning was a great way to start the meal. The hummus selection that included a tasty hummus with pesto was really yummy, and so was the red pepper and walnut dip (my personal favourite). The “tyrokafteri” (spicy cheese dip) from Greece was equally good. The tandoori chicken wings served with a light mint sauce were crispy and flavoursome, but my favourite starter was by far the warm feta cheese served in a thin filo pastry (and not the thick double filo we usually have it in), with a light honey sauce. Even mr Proud Cypriot who is not a cheese fan loved it.
The salad with cripsy fried halloumi and pita bread was refreshing and quite light with Arabic spices. The meat platter that the restaurant prepared for us included a selection of everything and was just what we needed. The highlight was in my opinion the chicken kebab (the chef’s speciality), that was marinated in an Arabic spices and was tender and full of flavour, while the mixed minced meat kebab (“politiko”) tasted like shish kebab and was also worth it with a lightly spicy flavour. Both of these were preferred to the pork kebab that you can have anywhere anyway. The cherry on the cake was the “kleftiko” cooked in red wine. It was extra soft with a light sour and savoury flavour from the wine, yum! Finally the definition of an Indian-Cypriot dish was the “sieftalia” in an Indian butter sauce, a very unique dish, a must-try if you like sieftalia!
For dessert we tried the home-made “galaktoboureko” and the “ekmek kataifi” with a rather different, and lighter flavour. Mr Proud Cypriot preferred the “galaktoboureko” but I preferred the “ekmek” as I thought it was sweeter.
Prices are very reasonable with salads averaging at 9€, dips around 3.50€, main dishes from 8-12.50€ depending if it’s a meat or fish dish.
Reasons to go are the food that is (finally) something different, the ambiance in the beautiful alley in the old city that makes one think they are in another country, and the very hospitable service. Go!
Sieriff 7, 99711119, LEMESOS (LIMASSOL)