By Alexander McCowan
This columnist is constantly looking out for new venues to visit and vivify which means that I am often dependant on my circle of friends to reveal the location of some establishment whether they have dined royally or not, been ripped off, amazed at the value, disappointed at the service and so on. My friend Sylvia, probably the best pastry cook in the world, suggested that I visit a little fish taverna based in Aglandjia that had escaped my notice where she claimed the fish meze would impress. She wasn’t wrong.
We arrived early on a Wednesday night to discover an old style taverna situated opposite the park, the proprietor invited us to take any table as he clearly wasn’t expecting to be overwhelmed. Neat arrangements: blue linen over white, well spaced tables, walls covered in paintings, bright and airy.
The menu consists of 21 marine dishes priced in euros and Cyprus pounds and sold by the kilo. There is no mention of salads, starters, or any alternative to fish and their companions, squid, prawns and the like. We decided that the way to proceed was down the meze route, which was a very good idea.
A very large bowl of salad containing peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and stringed carrots that was enough for four people came with a basket of pitta with an ample supply of tarama and tahini. The wine list is a surprise: it is short, well chosen and reasonably priced; we select a Vasilicon, which along with the Petritis is among the best value of the whites we produce and a good companion to the fish meze.
The first of the hot dishes contains soft shell crabs and infant squid, perfectly cooked, fresh and tender. The chef has an excellent touch on the tempura which is used liberally on the crustacea and cephalopoda.
Four large battered prawns follow the crabs and in turn are followed by fish croquettes surrounded by some small grilled shrimps, every dish met with the companion’s approval except for the chips which were chunky and erred on the side of al-dente. But you can’t have everything; it’s the first time I have been served fishcakes with a meze and most welcome I say.
All dishes were served at a pace that allowed for digestion, something not always observed by the meze brigade. A plate of octopus and large whole cuttlefish that were as good as any of the predecessors and then, when one begins to question the wisdom of selecting a meze, a platter of small fish that could have fed the five thousand arrived; mullet, marida, etc. and they were first rate. The final dish was a filleted and dressed Bream.
Don’t have a sweet even though they come courtesy of the establishment.
The maitre ‘d is Panicos and the mistress of the kitchen is his wife Astero.
She is not only an artist in the kitchen but displays her talent with the palette on every wall of Mytilinios.
We had a very jolly evening and would recommend the establishment to all that enjoy fresh fish cooked with expertise and served by a professional who knows his trade.
Bravo Astero and Panicos.
WHERE 155, Larnaca Avenue, Aglanja, Nicosia
CONTACT 22 430238
PRICE Very reasonable