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Restaurant Review: Moondog’s, Nicosia

Once again the reader is indebted to the Belgian gourmet. ‘Best steak in Cyprus,’ said he. ‘Oh really,’ remarked the Italian companion. With a Monday deadline and an anxious editor we booked a table for early Saturday night and at close on 8pm we entered Moondog’s.

There are 230 covers inside and out, then up a short flight of steps and into the cool, in every sense, interior. Gregory, the manager, shows us to a table set for four. The interior premises are divided by a long bar, beer is everywhere. Moondog’s is a bar that sells food. Beer is so essential to the operation they don’t have a drinks menu, they have a Beer Catalogue that runs to 25 pages packed with information declaring the alcohol content, price, volume and description. They range from a reasonable 3-5% to a staggering 12% ABV. Our table is directly under a wide television screen and there is another on the front wall and one more behind me, all displaying the posturing ninnies of the football world, as a special treat we have to listen to them. But as the night progresses, and Mick and Jimi get going on the other side, conversation fades without the benefit of an ear-trumpet.

The menu, in English and Greek, changes every six months and contains some colourful images, not least the large tattooed man standing on one leg with his eyes closed and arms outstretched. We are offered a choice from 15 starters, 16 burgers, four salads, 11 main courses, three steaks and four ‘super foods’. There are pizzas, sandwiches and wraps. The service is quick, friendly, and mostly female.

The starters offer Nachos, Spring Rolls, a Potato Basket; twisters, wedges and fries, with a variety of sauces; Salmon Cakes, Zucchini Fritters, Quesadillas – beef strips in tortilla filled with melted cheese and a Mexican sauce – in addition there are Chicken Wings, Mini-Burgers, a Platter of Bavarian Sausages and Moondog’s Combo, a melange of pork, chicken, ribs and sausages for two or four people. Mussels are on offer, cooked in white wine. We select the Zucchini served with sour cream; there are three fritters, cooked perfectly and enough for two.

The restaurant is filling, the noise level rises, and one realises that the Burgers at Moondog’s are very popular. Many are passing, the staff rush to deliver them, images of Hendrix and Cobain seem to endorse them; there is even a Quinoa Burger. They are huge and come with various sauces at a small extra cost. We pass on Burgers and Salads. The mains courses are good and solid: Pork Chops with herbs, Tandoori Chicken Kebab; Moroccan Kebab; the Lamb Shank is tempting – slow cooked and marinated in red wine – but so is the Truffle Porkchini. I settle on the Alaska Wild Salmon, a fillet grilled and served with asparagus, mashed potato, and garnished with dill and balsamic glaze. How often do we see wild salmon on our menus; I can’t recall the last time. The Americans have managed their salmon fisheries so much better than the Europeans. The detritus from Salmon farms in Scotland is killing the sport; many beats are closing.

Madam, the companion, is determined to try the steak, which is described as Prime New Zealand, certainly of European origin: Holstein, Hereford or Aberdeen. ‘How do you like it,’ enquires the charming waitress – they were all charming, even the men – ‘rare’ is the answer. If the dish is cooked a whisker beyond rare; the kitchen will hear. Her steak comes with a pepper sauce, fries and a small green salad. The presentation of both dishes is first rate. My salmon has all the attributes of a wild fish: firm in texture, full of flavour and perfectly cooked. However, the portions are over-generous; my fillet is twice the size one would normally expect. The accompanying asparagus are stringy, but the garnish, cream and mash potatoes are excellent. The only disappointing note with the steak was the fries – frozen. Understandable, given the volume of custom Moondog’s handles. Steak was perfect. We had two Belgian beers with the meal, and very nice too.

Moondog’s needs nothing from me: when we arrived and drove into the large carpark opposite the attendant implied late arrivals have trouble parking. He said ‘the place is packed every night’, and so it should be. Pensioners go early.

VITAL STATISTICS
SPECIALTY International
WHERE Moondog’s, Mikinon 3, road opposite DeLoitte, Nicosia
WHEN Open seven days 12 noon till 1-00am. Booking a good idea
CONTACT 70006300
COST Reasonable

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