TV food programmes have always been popular but back in the infancy of British television, when the only channel was owned by the taxpayer, they featured presenters that wore evening dress, were called Fanny and Johnny, sometimes Philip (Harben) and followed the rules of behaviour and language dictated by the BBC’s first director-general, Lord Reith.
How times and appetites have changed?
It is a Tuesday night in gentle Kaimakli, and we are about to enter an establishment more in keeping with the Calgary Stampede, than a gentle suburb of our capital. One is reminded of that iconic food show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, where a golden haired muscle-bound host justifies the avoirdupois of the average American and takes the viewer into massive kitchens where huge smoke ovens convert sides of beef, pork and venison into portions that evince degrees of satisfaction from the diners that claim no other establishment can compare with theirs. This is solely due to the imaginative secret ingredients that combine to flavour the various joints and cuts. The process is the New World equivalent of the marinade: the dry rub. The rub consists of dried herbs, powdered aromatic vegetables, garlic, chili and many others. Our host, the famous Smokey Dee, known to his wife, parents and friends as Dimitri, has smartly incorporated the title of his joint by which the American reality food show is known to its millions of followers: Triple Dee’s. Will the ebullient Guy Fieri visit Kaimakli anytime soon?
Dimitri will be known to the many sports and music fans for his pulled pork buns that fuelled their enthusiasm for the outdoor events. And it was this niche market that persuaded him to anchor the smoker in his ‘hood’, as they might say in New Orleans or Queens. Every cut that enters the smoker is locally sourced, the ‘rub’ is applied by chef Sebastion and assistant, Assif. Garlic is a major feature of every dish.
My jazzy grand-daughter who has savoured smoked brisket in New York and my companion – who produced the herbal brines for our cold smoker in Somerset – chose to sit outside. We used oak chips in our smoke house, this smoker imports oak from Bulgaria. Apart from the rub, the wood is essential.
Michaela supplies the menu which is flimsy in appearance but weighty in content. The customer can have his meal in a brioche bun and fill it with pulled pork, sausages, pickles and four types of hot sauce. Or order individual portions of spicy chicken thighs and wings, smoked pulled pork, ribs that require both hands, pork sausages, beef brisket that comes in two sizes: big and bigger. Side dishes of mash potato, macaroni cheese, baked beans, mushrooms, coleslaw – perfect accompaniment for smoked meat – grilled vegetables, pickled cucumbers, chili and pineapple salsa.
There is something of rural Dixie about smokers, which means they do not serve Premier Cru’s. Beers and ciders are the order of the day in Smokey Dee’s: craft beers, local cider and the usual suspects in cans. All utensils are organic: recycled paper bowls, disposable wooden cutlery, must cost a fortune.
We decided on a platter that contained everything the smoker prepared. Although the portions are substantial, I noticed some customers ordered additions. They certainly understand the Cypriot appetite. Our platter contained 150grm portions of all the smoked meats, mashed pots, macaroni, coleslaw, buns, pickles, spices and four bowls of sauce graded in terms of heat. It was a platter for two and three of us couldn’t finish it.
Smokey Dee’s is the perfect venue for the club night out for both sexes. At present it is open for lunch and dinner five days a week, Tuesday till Saturday. Parking opposite, seating inside and out. No annoying music. Excellent value.
SPECIALTY: Smoked Food.
WHERE: 11, Leoforos Makariou 111, Kaimakli, 1020, Nicosia.
CONTACT: 77773014. Delivery and take-away service. e-mail:[email protected]
PRICE. Good value.