For a while the ‘knowing ones’ have sung sweetly of the quality of the kitchen at Geusikleous 62 so, on a warm Thursday night, we enter an establishment pulsating with merriment and industry. There are 20 women sitting around a clutch of tables celebrating something that causes continuous mirth for the rest of the evening, two further tables holding more women, in fact, the place is packed with women: what’s going on? I counted six men. Our waiter, Kyriacos who glides rather than trots, guides us to our table – a little away from the joyous throng – and gives us the English menu: ‘I recommend the kleftiko, it’s excellent’ –- just like his English.
The restaurant is enclosed in an ultra-modern glass surround but the interior is rustic: solid wooden tables and chairs, evenly spaced. The menu, which changes by the day, is headed ‘Thursday 1st June’. It contains eight of the usual starters; eleven what are described as ‘pot dishes’ that include chicken in lemon sauce; beef in tomato sauce served with macaroni; afelia: seared pork marinated in coriander and wine; grilled pork tenderloin and the highly recommended kleftiko.
The section headed Seafood contains five dishes ranging from kalamari to shrimp pasta and includes octopus in wine; salmon and sea bass. There are any number of delights from the charcoal: kebabs, chops and burgers, which are followed by what are described as small dishes such as halloumi, loukaniko, pastourma, liver, zucchini croquettes, and seasonal vegetables seared with eggs. In addition we have ‘Meze fit for a king’ – doesn’t specify which one – followed by the platter for 2 that contains much of the foregoing.
We select the zucchinis and tzatziki to start, the ‘excellent kleftiko’ for the companion and the octopus for me. Stelios, the other gliding waiter, delivers a half-carafe of house wine, a basket of scaldingly hot bread, the starters, and little side dishes of sauces and dips. The zucchinis are delicious.
The main courses are simply presented with pilaf accompaniment, mine is a small octopus cooked to a level of tenderness that would not trouble an aardvark; most acceptable. However, the ‘excellent kleftiko’ is a beast of a different kidney; it has languished overlong in the ofton. Whilst intense in flavour it has lost the fatty barrier – the sine qua non of lamb kleftiko – it has melted away, leaving only the chewy outer membrane. Nevertheless, we managed to devour most of it between us.
There are two sweets on offer: orange pie and kattimera, a dish not previously encountered. We choose both of them. They are topped with mastic ice-cream and rather nice. The management provides the coffee and the extra glass of wine I requested. By the time we leave, the joint is jumping, and packed with jolly troughers that I discover come every week to celebrate something; exactly what that might be wasn’t clear. However, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will certainly return, if only to catch the kleftiko a little earlier in the day.
The owners and chefs, George and Avgi, labour mightily in the kitchen, source everything locally, and cook six days of lunches and dinners – menu changing every day – lunch only, on Sunday. Closed Monday.
The service is seamless, the ambience extraordinary, the food, generally, first-rate. This is a show that will run and run.
WHERE Geusikleous 62, Perikleous off Strovolos Avenue, Nicosia
CONTACT 22 252323, booking essential
PRICE Very reasonable