By Alexander McCowan
Over the last fifty-five years I have entered two burger bars. The first was in Peckham when J Wellington Wimpy opened a branch there and I vowed I would never willingly undergo such an assault on the digestive system again; and the other in the line of duty for this paper two years ago; not a memorable experience.
However, my visit to the above establishment has brought about a change of heart. Whereas previously I considered the term ‘a good burger’ an oxymoron, and the exudations from their kitchens, toxic and injurious to the health of the nation, my experience last Wednesday lunchtime at Opos Prepei is one I shall happily repeat. The restaurant is situated among the plethora of eating establishments that have sprouted off Onasagorou Street, in a little turning next. We arrived at 12:30 and were lucky to get in. The coverage is meagre, not more than fifty in and out.
The service is first rate; there is so much of it.
We are greeted by one of the partners, Kyriacos, who kindly takes us through the very simple menu which is mostly in Greek but a measure of common sense will translate it. We are instructed in the ways of Opos Prepei which translates as ‘the proper burger’ and their simple and cleverly designed menu is very easy to follow. The card offers five different burgers, one being vegetarian and the others served in four different sizes.
The customer is offered a Black Angus burger which is a 100% beef – what else? – in a brioche (none of those ghastly baps) – which may be consumed ‘straight’ meaning plain; with cheese; with cheese and bacon – the Boss; or with cheese, bacon and egg – the Full Monty. There is a chicken burger on offer that may be consumed in the manner of the forgoing without the Full Monty; obviously there are ethical reasons for not serving an egg with a chicken burger. In addition to these, the burger may vary in weight: the establishment offers burgers at a 150, 200 and 300g – chicken only at 150g.
Once the technicalities were out of the way, Kyriacos explained his restaurant only cooked the burgers in two ways: the opos prepei way – medium, or well done, which we could tell was not approved by the management – and quite right too.
I ordered the Boss burger and the companion settled for the ‘straight’ with a barbeque sauce. I chose the chilli; there are three more sauces – avacado, onion and yogurt. In the interests of all our vegetarian readers I selected the veggie burger without any trimmings. The menu contains, along with the teas and soft drinks, a range of beers not encountered before in Aphrodite’s isle, brewed in Italy and described on the bottle as ‘Ale for the obsessed’. Marios, another partner, took me through them: there are five and they are high end ABV and flavoured. The companion had the AFO and I had Sally Brown; the first had a hint of citrus and mine with a smidgen of coffee bean. They were smashing, perfect for lunchtime. I asked to keep the bottles, you’ll understand when you see them.
The meal arrives in a cardboard box and when you open it transforms into your plate the french fries arrive in what can only be described as a huge match box. Every thing about the joint is a surprise, and a very pleasant one. The food was first rate. There are no sweets. For a restaurant that had only been open for three days the interest was surprising by 1pm – they had turned away about twenty customers.
All aspects of Opos Prepei are pleasing, particularly the work of the designer. At this stage all the partners are keenly in attendance, with a watchful eye over the young staff, and Chef Aris maintains a standard that will deprive many of the rivals of custom. This place will thrive, and as I see it their only problem is they need more room. The prices are the best value in Nicosia – go there before you need to book a month in advance.
WHERE Aristotelous 9, off Onasagorou, Nicosia
PRICE Burger, chips and a beer from €10