One of the few premises on 28th October, Engomi, not devoured by the Unic empire is on a site formerly occupied by the most pretentious fine diner in the capital. The unwary luncher, seeking sustenance on an early closing day, may stumble into this strangely titled, unsophisticated, Cypriot equivalent of an English working-man’s café.
Clean and tidy, with room for many more than the old chap studying a racing form while drinking wine and eating olives. The menu, written in Greek and English, albeit not too challenging contains a distinction not previously encountered: Pork Kebab… Greek portion €3, Cypriot portion €5. Does this reflect some preference, or maybe prejudice, the owner wants to convey to the rest of us? Are customers expected to declare their nationality before ordering? Interesting. But I later find out, merely a reference to the size of the kebab and the bread it is served in.
Elena, our Greek waitress reveals all portions are on the large side, but Cypriot. The companion orders the Saganaki Kefalotyri – grilled cheese, wrapped in herbs, sesame, and coated with honey, to add to her grilled mushrooms. The main courses are popular cuts from pigs, steers, chickens and sheep cooked on a grill and served with salad, fried potatoes, rice and a choice of spicy cheese or tzatziki; Greek pitta bread, and – nice touch – toast drizzled in oil. The companion has a down on chickens at the moment, and decides pork is the sensible path to take: she orders souvlaki, and ‘ribs for me’; expressing a desire for them to be crispy, rather than otherwise. The house wine is €5 a jug.
The cheese starter is served in two wedges, covered in sesame, and oozing with melted cheese flowing into a trickle of honey – an unusal taste. Baskets of hot pitta bread and toast sit beside the enormous servings of souvlaki and ribs. I was ambushed by these ribs, that obviously came from the great boar of Dali, that did for the lovely Adonis – or so the Dalites claim. The ribs occupying my plate were so big, they could lead to a charge of possessing an offensive weapon. ‘Crisp,’ I said; and crisp they were.
Our countrymen may not be familiar with the term trencherman, but this where they can find them. When we finished eating there was enough food left over to feed the five thousand. The service was fine. Given the location, next to the most rapidly growing student body in Cyprus, at the prices and portions, it can’t fail.
WHERE 61, 28th. October, Engomi
WHEN Open noon to midnight, seven days
CONTACT 22 355040
PRICE Very reasonable