Monday, 29 July 2013

Palia Ilektriki (Old Powerhouse) - Nicosia

Let's face it. No good story starts with a salad. So this one starts (and ends) with cocktails. In fact I think I found my new favorite place for a drink in Nicosia.


Palia Ilektriki has recently changed owners, so they are still sorting some things out, but God, the yard was beautiful.

'old powerhouse', remember?

Concerning our drinks, we didn't even order from the menu; we just told the waiter what we like, and the barman would improvise and make us something to suit our taste:

Something along the lines of gin and tonic (ginger, honey, passion fruit, extra dry martini):

Something with a healthy dose of vodka (raspberry liquer, vodka, lime juice, salt):

Something light and refreshing (apple, grapes, wine, honey, basil):

and something fruity (melon, watermelon, lime juice, tea-infused syrup):

Although we liked them in varying degrees, we certainly applaud the efforts of the barman who came by our table to ask for our feedback. Soon we got talking and I saw that spark in his eyes when he talked about his drinks.

He was self-taught with only a few online lessons to learn the basics of matching the flavours successfully, but he has come a long way since then.

'You won't find our drinks in any other bar' he tells me. True, since he makes his own infusions and syrups and uses them to give that je ne sais quoi to his drinks; be it basil infused vodka, English breakfast syrup with orange, blueberry and raspberry liquer with a bit of lemon peel to cut through the sweetness or that little bit of brown sugar give a push to the aromas and flavours.

We talk about winter cocktails and he gets excited: 'I love hot cocktails, the flavours are even more intense. I  really want to stir people away from that mulled wine everyone's drinking.' Obviously he's not your average barman, and although he's still experimenting with a couple of things, I've no doubt that when he gets his recipes ironed out the result will be remarkable - it always is when someone pours his soul into his work.

Go, give Palia Ilektriki a try. It is, in my opinion, severely undervalued, and I would pick Palia Ilektriki over any bar in Nicosia any day.

You'll find them at Tempon 3, Nicosia (you may have to park and walk a bit), or call them on 22432559.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Petradaki - Paphos

I see I haven't been doing many restaurant reviews lately, so here's one to perk you up!

We visited Petradaki (literally translating to 'little stone') during our visit in Paphos for some authentic Cypriot cuisine - the kind we are deprived of in the UK.

We were not disappointed. The atmosphere was what it should be: traditionally family-owned, a tiny bit tacky and with a scenic view of the mountains.

We ordered the traditional mezedes (the Cypriot version of tapas), so we could try out a bit of everything.

So we naturally started with the traditional Greek salad:

I appreciate tidiness and organization. That's why I appreciated the presentation of this:

Now, this may sound weird, but I loved the pitta bread that came with the dips above; it was traditional Paphos pitta bread, which is much softer and doughier than ordinary pitta. In fact it's this much doughier.

Oh, it's the small things in life.

Next, it was grilled halloumi and lountza with mushrooms and halloumi-filled ravioli, both deep-fried.

Now, these two were a bit of a surprise. You see, they were vegetarian, which is neither too common, nor very traditional in Cyprus. Also, it takes a hell of a cook to make something vegetarian taste as good as its meat-based equivalent or even better.

You could take my word that they were very very very good, or you could take the Boy's word who is a proper carnivore, and I believe his words were 'ah-mazing'.

Similarly, this was the case with the spinach and mushroom canneloni. Not traditional, but ingredients were fresh (I know I don't have a picture showing them, so you'll have to trust me), and a real treat to the tastebuds. I should point out here that the canelloni were made with homemade crepes to roll in the filling - not that ready made stuff you buy from the supermarket.

Then, there was the meat. Moist, with just the right degree of chariness, but I'm not sure how I feel about just one sheftalia each.

Bulgur wheat traditionally cooked in tomato sauce:

Aaand grilled chicken and pork ribs. Although I found the chicken a tad dry, they were both still delicious.

Last but not least, there was the dessert; traditional deep-fried bourekia with an anari and cinnamon filling. For which I don't have a photo. They were gone. Too. Fast.

Now, is Petradaki the best tavern I've ever been to? No, although they make some of the best vegetarian food I've ever tasted on Cypriot soil.
Should you visit if you're in the area? You certainly, certainly should.

You'll find them at Kato Vrysi Rd, 45, Kathikas, or call them on 26814191.

PS: If you've got an appetite the size of a black hole, you could consider their Sunday lunch buffet, with all-you-can eat Cyprus delicacies at 15.50Euros pp. Making a reservation is strongly advised.

Monday, 22 July 2013

We're on Facebook!

Yes, yes we are! Check out the page here, and if you're a fan show your support and hit that Like button!


(the drinks are just a treat, because you're such a great bunch x)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Paphos Chronicles - Part 2

After visiting Sterna in Part 1, we couldn't stop ourselves; we had to visit more wineries.

Our next stop was Vasilikon, also in Kathikas. Nestled between the vineyards, there were road labels to guide us through the (winding) road to the new winery, which is still under construction, a bit like their website.

However, once we got there it was another story. The place was enormous. Although they were still in the middle of moving from their old premises, I managed to take a few shots just to give you a feel.

With a yearly turnout of around 400 000 bottles of wine, things were a bit more industrialized than traditional Sterna:

They make a lot of wine.

A lot I tell you!

Still not convinced?

I told you so!

If you've never heard of K&K winery before (founded by brothers Eracles and Yiannis Kyriakides), I bet you've heard of two of their most famous wines, the red 'Ayios Onoufrios' and their white 'Vasilikon', which they started producing in 1993. 

They've came a long way since then, instroducing their 'Methy' wine in 1999 using Cabernet Sauvignon, and last year their rose 'Enaleia' using half Maratheftiko, half Shiraz. However, with two prestigious bronze Decanter awards under their belt (for their Ayios Onoufrios 2010 and their Methy 1999), the Kyriakides brothers plan on enriching their production further by introducing a sweet wine to their customers. 
After all, people have proved their support: their current wines can be found in most wine lists across Cyprus. 

The Entaleia we sampled certainly did not disappoint.

Regarding the winery as a space, we'll be returning next year. Mr. Kyriakides informed us that the new premises will include (among others) an elegant wine bar with a view of the vineyards, a conference room and a space specially designated for social events. Like with all great things to be, expect a post.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Paphos Chronicles - Part 1

This summer the Boy and I decided to stay in Cyprus for the summer - after all, millions of tourists can't be wrong about the things there are to do and see in Cyprus.
So, here we are in peaceful (thank God) Paphos, reading and relaxing by the pool.

Obviously we couldn't keep this up for very long; we were only going to be in Paphos for a few days so we had to make the most of it. We decided to explore the nearby wine villages, an idea which came from this month's Taste magazine (if you don't read it, do yourself a favour and go get it from your nearest newsagents - they have well-researched features and beautiful photography on everything this blog stands for).

Our adventure included driving, walking and photographing our way through the villages of Stroumbi, Kathikas, Arodes, Ineia and Droushia:

In Droushia we even found a weaving museum!

Droushia also had another little surprise in store for us: Droushia Heights. I love discovering hidden gems, and this certainly fit the bill. The Boy assured me that until last year, Droushia Heights was nothing more than a pile of rubble, rocks and lots of dust.

And then there was this:

...and the waitress actually spoke Greek!

After a glass of fresh orange juice and a milkshake, we were off on the road again:

Since we were going through the Cyprus wine villages, it was only logical to visit Sterna, one of the wineries in Kathikas:

There, we were greeted by the manager and encouraged to look around. 
Look around we did.

Wine maturing

If you're going to buy just one thing to remember your visit (apart from wine obviously), make it a box of Yeroskipou delights, a well-loved local delicacy.

And then there was the wine sampling.

After chatting with the manager and sampling a wine or five, we left happily with a bottle of vintage port.

Then we got home. And we were hungry (so incredibly unpredictable). So we fired up the grill in a true Cypriot manner and put these bad boys on:

...which were eaten and washed down with two cold ones by the pool.

We were two tired but very happy piglets.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Paphos Chronicles!


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