Old Port (4th one on the Pier), 25354200, LEMESOS (LIMASSOL)
Mon – Thu & Sun 5pm – 1am, Fri – Sat 5pm – 2am
Food: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Service: [rating:3.5] 3.5/5
Ambiance: [rating:4] 4/5
I have to say, I am loving the old port renovation. Just when new openings were slowing down, THIS happens! The fourth restaurant on the pier (after Pier One, The Steak House and Diamante) is one of the most anticipated arrivals of the summer (if not of the whole year): Frankie’s Social little sister, Gin Fish. That alone, is a reason to pay it a visit. The name guides you towards the right direction since it is a seafood bar for, (surprise surprise), gin and fish. It’s not a seafood tavern and it’s not a sushi bar, but rather something in between an oyster bar and a casual seafood restaurant.
I will go straight to the point and say that the best part is the hip vibe and lively ambiance. I loved how you have to walk by the bar and live the whole Gin Fish experience before you sit down. I also liked how the white colour prevails through white marble and the white furniture. The lighting is not as low as in other bar restaurants, something that I liked. It is quite big but not massive as most of the open space is taken over by the bar area. There is also a large veranda where you can literally dine above the water, good if you prefer something more quiet.
The menu is on a single A3 page and divided into salads, antipasti and then the type of seafood (e.g. raw, ceviche, smoked, crispy and on-the-grill). The concept of small plates to share is immediately obvious and reinforces the gin bar concept. We started with the Cornish crab with Tobiko caviar. Although it was in the salads, don’t expect to see a large salad (thank god), but rather a small cold crab dish to share. It was light with and the crab flavour was not hidden behind accompaniments, probably our favourite dish. We also shared the Smashed Potatoes with pickles, a rather simple dish of mashed potatoes with a light, sour flavour. We didn’t take anything from the Antipasti/Dips, and although I thought the San Daniele prosciutto with artichokes was extremely out of place, I did want to try the Scandinavian dish, Salmon Gravlax with horseradish. We saved it for next time.
We also liked the Smoked Cod with capers that had a particular flavour (as all smoked fish), very fishy and very salty, a dish that will be a love-or-hate kind of thing. The Garlic mussel pot with fresh cream, a classic French combo was much better than I expected, whereas the Chipirones (crispy baby calamari) were the ultimate nibble. Mr Proud Cypriot said they were too crispy and over fried. I agreed but I enjoyed having a crispy flavour after the smoked cod and the mussels. The Soft shell crab with Tobiko caviar, chilli, spring onions and a lightly sweet sauce was also crispy and flavoursome, a dish I would definitely have again. I wasn’t very impressed with the Salmon ceviche as, despite being ok in terms of preparation and quality it was too lemony even for me. Out of all I would say that I preferred the Cornish crab and the Soft shell crab with my least favourite being the Ceviche. We didn’t have any of the seafood from the grill, which included seabass, salmon and tuna fillets.
Needless to say that you have to have gin. Choose out of more than 15 gin cocktails or make your own. Bombay, Brokers Gin, G-vine, Hendrick’s, the usual suspects (and more), are all there. My Tanqueray N 10 with Three Cents tonic water, orange wedges and Lemon was excellent, and went well with our dinner. Mr Proud Cypriot’s classic Hendricks was equally good, an all-time classic. 11€ per gin cocktail was also ok given the size of each glass.
All in all, although there wasn’t a dish that stood out everything was very good, carefully prepared with good quality ingredients. The most important thing is that the ambiance and the food selection was all part of the same concept. If I were to compare it to Pyxida Oyster Bar I would say that the latter is more of a more high-end, pure-seafood-no-sauces-and-sides kind of place, where as this one is more if a buzzing, hip and lively bar with interesting seafood creations.
Service was friendly, albeit too busy. Sitting next to the president of Cyprus did not help either. I didn’t like the fact that upon arrival we had to walk around for 5-7 minutes before finding someone to ask for our reservation but we forgot about that by the end of our meal. We paid 100eur for two people with 2 gin cocktails.
The images are taken from Gin Fish directly as I was unable to take pictures, stay tuned for more images coming soon.