Our man about town told me yet another enterprise had opened on the site once occupied by the late unlamented Posh and previously the old Bagatelle; an establishment where the tired businessmen went to try and remember why they were there. Eventually the restaurant retired and the space remained vacant, slowly crumbling into obscurity, even the inexplicably moored dinghy retreated to the edge of the cul-de-sac, perhaps to avoid the pot-holes.
Rous, which now occupied the space, it appears is an example of culinary history. Andreas, the ubiquitous proprietor, claimed “the menu is based on the gastronomic heritage of Cyprus infused with ingenious touches from all around the world. Traditional recipes executed in a different way, enriched by the finest ingredients”. Indeed. My word, he wasn’t exaggerating.
Two months ago I declared that my companion and I, after braving the war-zone behind The Cleopatra, had discovered the heir to the recently departed No Reservations – Tacoya. But given their eccentric booking system and the surrounding debris: we reserve judgement.
Rous has much of the impediments of Tacoya – shabby surroundings, broken paving, appalling parking facilities. However, the kitchen is dominated by a pair, Spiridoula and Panayiotis, who can challenge the best the opposition has to offer. Rous has 45 covers, a very attractive interior, and opens for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday: lunch 12-4pm and dinner 7-11pm.
The lunch card has five starters, six main courses and two sweets. From these the diner selects one of each at a set cost of €25 and if a glass of wine or beer is required there is an extra charge of five euro. The staff are very quick on their feet, they glide over the surface and deliver a selection of various hot baked rolls to dip into the delightful spreads that accompany them.
The starters contain among others, Celeriac and truffle soup; smoked trout with seaweed, yoghurt and tarragon; broccoli, almonds and quinoa grains; raw scallops, black olives, horseradish and pears. Madam chose the broccoli and I swept up the scallops. They were exceptional.
We followed this with a main choice of beef cheeks, onions and mashed potatoes; I never thought to taste this dish again in the capital. The companion had a dish of red mullet served with asparagus, and black garlic potato puree. We could have selected mushroom or chicken ravioli, chicken and leek soup, or bass with beetroot and mushrooms.
The deserts included a dish made from Commandaria ice cream and Tahini halwa with orange gel and almond tuile.
The food, service, appointments and ambience were exceptional.
The evening menus are just as imaginative: they boast a Vegetarian carte starting with a chestnut tartlet followed by eight dishes priced at 48 euro; wine pairing costing 35. A Pescetarian menu that includes eels, anchovies , caviar; bass; red mullet and other delights. At same price.
The main menu that evening contained nine items including pork belly cooked in black beer; Foie Gras; duck fillet with raisins, cashews, topinambur cream and lemon leaves powder: again, the same price. Very comprehensive wine list.
This is a remarkable venture and deserves to be experienced by all those that enjoy fine dining. However, let us hope they pay serious attention to the parking problem.
SPECIALTY Historic Cuisine (In every sense)
WHERE Rous, 16, Kyriacou Matsi, Nicosia, Ag. Omologites
CONTACT 22-760720. Booking essential
PRICE Not cheap but good value