The restaurateur that ensures the architecture, design, ambience and furnishings will combine to enhance the experience for the customer before they even study the menu and cast judgement on his cuisine deserves to prosper. Advantage Balcony.
The street is unusually inactive, which is strange for the resurrected Onasagorou/Phaneromeni area of Nicosia, which sheltered creatures of the abyss a few years ago; our mayor has transformed the district. It is where the citizens of our capital – like their continental partners – now take the ‘evening air’ with family and friends. What a pity such municipal aesthetics weren’t engaged before the barbarians were loosed on the moat.
The restaurant is housed in a restored mansion – typical of the Nicosian merchant class – where considerable care and money has produced one of the most attractive restaurant interiors in the city. The tables are well spaced, eclectic, tasteful and sit from two to ten diners. No intrusive music. The arrogance of some proprietors that impose their choice of music on the elderly diner is a common complaint when readers respond to a review. However, we have the menu, courtesy of Loris, our waiter, who informed us the duck had flown, and was no longer on the menu or in the kitchen.
The companion orders a Naousa Boutari while she decides which cut of meat she wants. The menu offers one soup, four salads, including grilled avocado, with a liberal sprinkling of quinoa on the others. The appetisers command attention because the first item contains a cheese rarely encountered outside Milan; it has a reluctance to travel. There is a brave salmon tatar; squid in an avocado cream; bass ceviche which is a Greek /Oriental dish and a Carpaccio of beef fillet. We decided to share the breaded Tallegio baked with sesame and served with chili jam. I selected a Prawn Linguini for my main dish and the companion had to choose between the Rib-Eye and the Angus fillet, the latter was served with roasted asparagus, chive flavoured mashed potatoes and mushroom crust – no contest: the fillet by a neck. The chef, Vangelis, embellishes his dishes with purees, mash and horseradish; few chefs in the capital will try celeriac, he serves it to flavour fowl and fish.
The Tallegio is cooked to form four crispy cheese sticks balanced over a splash of chili. Loris gave us a tray of olives and sauces to go with a satchel of different hot baked bread sticks. A most enjoyable start to the evening.
The staff at Balcony have an air of confidence and competence. Michaelis serves the main dishes and answered our question about the history of the premises. They have 90 covers, and can open the roof when the weather improves so customers may eat in the courtyard. They serve a lunch/brunch in platter form at the weekend and open at 11:00, otherwise it is evenings only.
An unusual feature of the establishment is that the plates are not overloaded: Gargantua may not approve. Which left room for dessert; we chose crispy meringue drops on a bed of mango cream covered by a blackcurrant sauce.
The food was first-rate, the service and ambience, a pleasure. It will satisfy most discerning diners, and be aware the menu changes regularly.
SPECIALTY Mediterranean style
WHERE Phaneromenis 61, Nicosia
CONTACT 99 999626
Price Not cheap