In the busy centre of Nicosia an industrious young woman is single-handedly cooking up a storm in a tiny restaurant, open for breakfast and lunch: Silver Pot. With two or three tables pavement-parked and tree-sheltered outside, it has covers for another 30 to 40 seated inside.
On arrival, you will be greeted by Alex or Phaedra, the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, the décor is eclectic and easy on the eye, with simple tables and coloured chairs. A welcome sign over the counter claims that “COOKING is LOVE you can TASTE”. Appetizing aromas waft from the kitchen. The counter is bedecked with muffins, cheesecakes, carrot cakes and other temptations to indulge in if you just drop in for a coffee.
What was a diminutive café, established in 2011, Silver Pot was enlarged in 2014 by an overnight overhaul to twice its size. Thankfully, as it was bursting at the seams. It now caters for a more patient clientele. The ethos of the place, owner Meli Michaelidou says, is to demonstrate how well a crew of young women can establish a well-organised, successful restaurant, serving organic produce fresh from local markets. Formerly a teacher, she is also interested in training students from the Catering College in her style of cooking.
As you walk in, you notice a large blackboard, covered extensively with choices of beverages, served hot or iced, and the breakfast menu. Under “Coffee: Wake up!” is a house blend of single estate Daterra, Costa Rica and Peru. For something extra special, ask for their single origin, fair-trade, organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. All are freshly roasted for Silver Pot and can be purchased to enjoy at home. This is an indication of Meli’s passion for the finest ingredients and concern for her customers. Her teas, loose-leaf and perfectly brewed, include such specialities as Pai Mu Tan (white), Oolong, and Feel Better herbal blend, which we all need from time to time. Or why not try a Blue Moon smoothie, to keep you nourished and alert if you only have a ten-minute break from the office?
Breakfast, which is served from nine to noon on weekdays, includes American Pancakes, French toast, free range eggs, toasted sandwiches and sides from avocado to grade A smoked salmon. If none of this excites your taste buds, or you have very little time, you can recharge with All day snacks. Everything here, amazingly, is between 2 and 6 euros. The lunch menu changes daily.
As spring is quickly waning, and summer fast approaches, bringing with it visitors, family and friends, the Silver Pot is an ideal venue for lunch. Today, I needed to catch up on news with a close friend, so lunch at the Silver Pot suited us both. The starters, freshly made cumin and chickpea Hummus, with toasted bread, and Quiche of the day, with or without side salad, we eschewed, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to manage Mains as well. My friend chose slow roasted pork belly, with cranberry rice, roasted carrots, Dijon mustard and mixed salad. I had Thai chicken satay, with fresh sweetcorn rice, home-made peanut dipping sauce and green salad with avocado.
The belly of pork, not a choice often found in Nicosia restaurants, was cooked to perfection, the fat melted in the mouth (yes, we both tried it) and was sweet and salty. The crackling (again tried by both) was crunchy with fennel seeds, salty, dark and dry – a good combination. The cranberries were a little hidden in the rice, the carrots well caramelised, and the salad a little too large for the plate. My chicken was tender and tasty, the crusty skin tasting of curry and cumin; the rice was light, and the sauce saucy, the avocado salad was more than enough… we could have done with side bowls. A satisfying meal and good value at €12. The wine was Greek and came in 187ml bottles. The desserts we chose were apple and blueberry crumble, with mascarpone, and baked lemon cheesecake on a crunchy almond base, both of which were delicious.
It would take a very grumpy diner to find fault with the Silver Pot, its food or its staff.
WHERE Silver Pot, Themistocles Dervi, Nicosia
WHEN Open seven days a week, Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm, Saturday 10.30am to 5pm (all day brunch), and Sunday 10am to 5pm (pizzas and snacks). Wednesday evening opening is only in summer (June-September, excluding August)
PRICE mains from €12, glass of wine €4
CONTACT 22 101722