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Restaurant Review: Souxou Mouxou Mantalakia, Nicosia

By Alexander McCowan

There was a time when Onasagorou Street was avoided by anyone not a skate-boarder, drug dealer, lady of the night or the poor bloody immigrants. What a transformation: if we understood the concept of boulevardier, this is where you find them. The joints are jumping and nowhere more so than Souxou Mouxou. The street is now stoked with eateries, big ones, small ones, eat in, eat out, take-away, you name it they have it.

When we visit Souxou on a Wednesday night, it is already warming up and Andreas the proprietor is overseeing the seating arrangements. Unless you are having an affair or conducting some business deal choose the outside tables and watch the whole of Nicosia pass by. Crisp is the word to describe this establishment: white linen everywhere, white tented canopies and instant service.

I was told by the all-knowing Theo that Souxou served ox-tail, a distant memory and rarely encountered in the capital, but alas not tonight. The menu in Greek and English contains a mere 25 items divided into starters, salads, pastas, main courses, fish and grills. This is my kind of menu: brief and sensible.

The companion wants to start with the mille feuillet with cheese mousse, spinach and honey with walnuts and I select the marinated octopus in herbs and lemon oil in fava puree. There is a heavy Greek influence here that is reflected in the wine list with some of the best products of the islands on offer, and wine by the glass is a good way to proceed: Andreas knows his wines and will match the grape to the dish.

There is very little waiting time before the starters appear and they are not a disappointment, both dishes are excellent; the mille feuillet remained firm until the last bite and the octopus was of the melting variety.

The main courses range through chickens with a rather unusual dry nut crust, or with cous-cous, lemon sauce and samphire; which is the first time I have seen this herb on any menu in Cyprus although it grows in profusion on the south west coast. There is a pork fillet; a shank with salad and roast potatoes, lamb shank, roast lamb and a very tempting braised beef cheeks with potato puree. I select the lamb shank, and the companion wants baby spatch-cock chicken from the grill with steamed vegetables.

By nine o’clock there are very few covers left. The staff are animated and buzz from table to table checking if all is well. The main dishes arrive and my shank is sitting in a bed of celery puree and dressed in honey and thyme; the aroma alone is worth it. There are no complaints from the companion which means all is well.

An extremely good evening: good food, service and ambience. Charalambos is the geni in the kitchen who must be congratulated on such an inventive menu and the skill to maintain it. Bravo.

However, this kind of food comes at a cost and Loizou is not cheap: the main courses start at €15 with the majority of main dishes costing €18. But for a special night it’s worth it.

VITAL STATISTICS
SPECIALTY Mediterranean blend
WHERE 45-47 Onasagorou, Nicosia
CONTACT 22-666600 Booking essential
WHEN Open every day for dinner, lunch on weekends
PRICE Be prepared

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