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Restaurant review: The Shopkeeper & Co, Limassol

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Seated at The Shopkeeper & Co’s communal table, with headphones on, the music serving as a sufficient block between your own thoughts and any adjacent conversations, you could be forgiven for thinking that you weren’t in Cyprus.

This has less to do with the self-styled concept store and coffee bar’s customer base, which is quite international, mirroring Limassol’s evolution into a melting pot of people and cultures, and more to do with the arrangement, aesthetics and overall ambience.

rest3Its relatively compact exterior seating area, comprised of a few tables along the ever-busy Gladstonos street, is also always busy. To be sure, while the establishment is distinctly casual and will happily serve walk-in customers, reservations are advised for those visiting at lunchtime or on Saturday mornings.

Upon entering The Shopkeeper, you will be greeted by three clear-cut but complementary sections. Directly in front of you, a stack of shelves showcases a variety of edible items for sale, including artisanal panettones (a seasonal treat), chocolate, alcoholic drinks, and fragrances, among other things.

To your right-hand side, wall-mounted shelves hold a robust collection of designer coffee table books, spanning a number of topics, from pop culture to fashion, to photography, and automotive design. These books are as beautiful to look at as they are pricey. For instance, a book on Barbie by New York publisher Assouline will set you back €108, while a book on renovation by German publisher Gestalten costs €49.

To your left-hand side, black, wall-mounted shelves play host to a range of products from Aesop, the well-known Australian luxury cosmetics brand. If you are interested in trying any of the hand soaps, for instance, there is a dedicated basin for just that purpose. Just like the books, and the artisanal products mentioned above, the basin serving both a functional and aesthetic function.

Onto our order, we tried three items, one from the breakfast section, the scrambled eggs on toast, one from the warm dishes part of the menu, the lentils, and the Mexican salad.

The scrambled eggs, which I have admittedly tried before and can attest to their consistency, were fluffy, creamy and full of flavour, served with small dollops of cream cheese, over a single, crispy slice of toasted, buttered bread. At €4.50, it’s one of the cheaper items on the menu, although I appreciate that for some people paying that amount for eggs and bread may seem extortionate, but this is the price of convenience. It’s a solid item that can hold you over through lunch, if you are keen to avoid anything heavier.

rest2The lentils, which the restaurant calls a salad for some reason, are served with burrata cheese, spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a thin slice of crispy house bread. They justified the hype. The lentils were well-prepared, which is crucial for me when it comes to high-fibre dishes, and the remaining ingredients complementary, particularly the burrata, which dissolves and blends with the lentils. Simply put, these are not your grandma’s fakés.

Finally, the Mexican salad was easily the most photogenic dish of the three. It was also well made, with strips of spiced chicken combining well with the vegetables and dressing. We skipped dessert but had an after-meal coffee to wrap things up. It’s plain, black coffee is on the smaller side size-wise, but is more aromatic and flavoursome than your average coffeeshop.

 

VITAL STATISTICS

SPECIALTY: Breakfast items, coffee, salads, sandwiches

WHERE: The Shopkeeper & Co, Gladstonos 92, Limassol

WHEN: Monday to Saturday 8am-7pm, closed on Sundays

CONTACT: 25 811146

HOW MUCH: €4-9 for a breakfast item, €7-13 for main items, €3-8 for dessert

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