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Restaurant review: Tzitzikas, Nicosia

By Alexander McCowan

The Nicosian carnivore rarely has cause for complaint, but recently there have been rumours that the meat scene is not what it was. It seems that some restaurateurs, in an endeavour to embrace modernity, and perhaps female custom, are interrupting courses with steamed vegetables, stuffed mushrooms, blue cheese pizzas, penne, potato skins and rocket salad. However, weep no more because I have found the perfect haven for them: Tzitzikas. While the logo for this establishment is a locust or grasshopper, the name indicates it is a cicada, that extremely irritating little beast that ruins the siesta with its mating call but the only sound emanating from the tables here is the contented chomp of the happy diner.

The establishment is situated at the junction of Athalassa and Strovolos Avenue on the opposite corner to the Police Headquarters. We arrived at 8.30 on a mid-week night and were seated in what appears to be the car park; certainly there are cars up close but not too close. It is definitely al-fresco and there is nothing wrong with that in mid-summer. The tables are well spaced and the chairs comfortable. The waiter moves at mach speed so we know the night will be busy. The menu is in Greek and simple; start with salads and home made dips or halloumi and pitta then go on to grills or the fourno. There is pork, lamb, chicken, veal. Chicken legs, thighs, breasts and wings; pork as fillet, chops and souvla. There is the classical mix which includes chef-made sausages with sheftalia, and all this incorporated with whatever you decide is going to be your main meat dish. We select the chicken grill and fried potatoes.

The busy waiter arrives with the salad, bread, toast and the tzatziki and aubergine dips. The tables are filling and although the place has only been open for a few months every cover is taken by 9pm and families are being turned away.

Our dish arrives in the shape of a tray that resembles a small barbeque with the chosen chicken speared above the teeming delicacies that include a perfectly slow cooked sliced belly of pork, cutlets, different sausages, halloumi, chicken breasts, sheftalia and more than can be remembered. The companion and I have taken our granddaughter, the jazz singer, who brings an artistic appetite to the table, we struggle to keep up and eventually capitulate on the understanding that we can take the surviving viands with us. No problem. While the reader may think that the customer that can’t finish his first course doesn’t deserve a sweet, in normal circumstances I would agree, but I have seen the desserts on offer and they haven’t.

The sweet menu is a platter of five home made puddings including chocolate mousse, panna cotta, we left none of these.
Everything we consumed was first rate and memorable. The service was quick and silent; the proprietors, husband Marios in the kitchen, and wife, Egli, front of house are omnipresent.

Tzitsikas only opens for dinner, although they are considering a Sunday lunch later in the year. If they continue in this manner they will have to expand as the car-park won’t be big enough.

VITAL STATISTICS
SPECIALTY Grills
WHERE Athalassa junction with Strovolos Avenue, Strovolos, Nicosia. Opp police
CONTACT 22 515858. Booking suggested
COST Very reasonable

 

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