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The comfort of the country December 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia.
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A Nicosia shop stuffed with images of a bygone era

“I want all my work to look good. I want the quality to be there, I want to convey a warm feeling to people who view my art. I guess it’s all about making people feel good.” The words of Michael Stoebner, an American artist who works from his 20 acre Minnesota farm, where the everyday country scenes and wintry wonderlands inspire his creations. But why should he be getting a special mention in the lifestyle page of a news-blog about a far-flung island that hardly knows snowy days?

The answer is Country Comforts and Lise Geukdjian, whose shop represents the quality and warmth so highly thought of by the aforementioned artist. The moment you enter the small, old house in old Strovolos you are enveloped in a warm blanket.

All the ornaments, fabrics, small furnishings and accessories associated with country style and decor are there. “When I moved to Cyprus four and a half years ago I was looking for a store specialising in country ware but there wasn’t one. I wanted the comforting feeling of the colours, patterns and all the paraphernalia that goes with the country as I was missing Vancouver” said Lise.

On entering her shop you may be overwhelmed by the Christmassy spirit but don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a seasonal shop. The two rooms on either side are packed with home ware. The room to the left is dedicated to Shabby Chic, the more feminine style of the Country look reminiscent of Victorian times: pale blues, pinks and yellows, ribbons, flowery patterns and cheque fabrics. Reproductions of old furnishings in pale colours, glass double door cabinets housing all the dainty china crockery you can imagine, wood carved mirrors and so much more that such a small room can hold. Old looking teddies sit on the corner of shelves together with the fine china. A two-seater cast iron bench and matching chairs have the flaking metal feel of reproduction furniture. Fabric coasters filled with fragrant cloves are tied in bundles of four.

Across from these sweet evocative creations there is the Country Primitive collection. Darker colours and Laura Ingles look-alike dolls are typical of this area, the prairie look is evident everywhere. Wooden signs painted with country scenes are up against the walls, while enamelware is displayed on shelves and tables. The owner uses them for cooking, although does not recommend putting them in the dishwasher. The windows are adorned with pretty valances and when I remarked on them, Lise said: “I am selling homespun fabric for curtains too. The fabric can be used for doll making as well as quilting”.

Browsing through the small rooms packed to bursting with nostalgic products evokes a bygone era and a life full of hardships but pleasures too. The owner spends a good deal of her time in the shop, as it is a one-woman show. Technology is invaluable in her case as a lot of work is done through the use of her laptop. She mans the shop, looks after customers, looks through catalogues and places orders, offers hot tea or coffee to newcomers and has a friendly chat with everyone. “It doesn’t feel like coming to work, it’s home,” Lise said.

Her affinity with all things country led her to set up shop in the small village of Kambia on the outskirts of Nicosia, where the family settled on their return to Cyprus, before venturing a move in the inner city. “The ladies loved everything I was selling and that gave me the boost to open a more central shop,” she said. The shop’s country home decor products bring a taste of the country into your home. The collection stretches to jumpers with snowy scenes on, thick fleece throws, cushions, doormats, candle chandeliers and even homemade mincemeat. The candles are all naturally scented giving out a lovely fragrance.

Lise has a good supply of present ideas especially for kitchen aficionados. Vintage pastry cutters come in different shapes and sizes and are a real treat to the eye. Also, a raffia tied recipe block with a rolling pin pen attached to it and a tea towel makes a wonderful gift. Vintage themed metal signs and retro red and blue decor are displayed on every available wall.

Despite having no previous retail experience, Lise has big plans for the shop. She hopes that during the summer months the outhouses in the courtyard will be used as a crafts centre. At the moment they are used as warehouses and are in dire need of restoration. “I want to convert the courtyard into a busy beehive for young children who love handicrafts. They can have their birthday party and celebrate doing all sorts of crafts at the same time,” she added. “Like minded people can meet for special classes on rug doll making and all sorts of other crafts”.

Country Comforts > 32 Archbishop Kyprianos street, Strovolos, Nicosia. 22 540169, 99 355984.

Maze > One to impress November 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia.
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Not The Maze or Amaze, just Maze. Divided into two distinct areas, a ground-floor lounge that caters for the in-a-hurry, serve-me-quick brigade, open for lunches and evening snacks; and the top floor, top drawer, leisurely diner.

It was top floor for us. The eye is immediately drawn to the decor, an explosion of colour emanating from the glass wall panelling, the spectrum has been plundered and lit to engage the optical senses. It was worth the visit for this alone. The tables are set for those who like a little room between them and the braying masses. So far, so pleasing.

A waitress immediately appears and takes the order for drinks; a large ouzo and a warming Black Label for the companion; did I mention we had arrived in the monsoon season? Next, the charming and informed Romanian member of staff with the evening menu, we are given sufficient time to make our selections. In many establishments one is either ostracised or hassled, not at Maze.

The card offers a selection of four cold or seven warm starters. The cold ranges from Bruschetta; diced tomatoes, fresh basil drizzled with virgin olive oil, to salmon variations, which comprises smoked salmon mousse, spiced salmon tartar, samosa with spinach and salmon, and potato blini with Keta caviar. This restaurant has a way with salmon. I chose salmon carpaccio, this is spiced with cumin, and served with a coriander flavoured yoghurt mousse, and sweet and sour mango coulis.

The Black Label orders deep fried mushrooms, stuffed with various cheeses. My order arrives on a square china platter containing six thick-cut slices of salmon, and a dressing of mango, accompanied by what I imagine are rice noodles, but am not sure whether I am to eat or admire; it was for decoration I believe, for after trying one, I proceeded no further. The salmon was delicious, but a little chilled for my taste, this is the price of arriving early. My companion offered a taste from his plate, which should provide a lesson to all those establishments that regularly drown weary old fungi in stale oil and expect us to be pleased with the result. These are a delight; crisp, flavour-full and hot.

Various salads are offered, and the fig and apple with cherry tomatoes, fresh mint, lettuce, with a nutty balsamic dressing appealed, but we moved on to the main courses.

The companion, who is a monster for red meat, is tempted by the thin-cut fillet on garlic pitta, but on enquiring as to its exact depth, settled for the beef fillet, which comes in two sizes, large and larger; this is Irish beef at its best. There are various side dishes and he selects potato wedges. I love duck, but it seems only to appear on Chinese menus where it is ceremoniously cremated, and saturated with fat. However; at item 42 on the main menu, is duck breast, with port wine, walnut mustard and wild berry sauce. Bring it on.

The little Romanian cautions me, ‘it is served pink’. ‘What other way is there?’ I respond.
Not since the height of ‘nouvelle cuisine’ in a very snotty hotel in Cluny, have I eaten a better duck; sheer perfection. My only criticism, is that the duck is served on a bed of grilled vegetables, none of which I like, courgettes, peppers and carrots, but it’s just me.

It is now past 9:30pm and the place is filling up. Who is there? The old money, the new money and the girls’ night out. As the place fills, the staff go into warp-drive, this is an establishment where the management are right on the money. No one is kept waiting.

There are nine items on the sweet menu as well as a cheese platter. I go for the panna cotta served with mango and strawberry sauces, in separate dishes, in case you were wondering. The companion selects exotic fruit melange with lemon sorbet and almond tulip. We could have had ‘death by chocolate’ or fondue from chocolate with fresh fruit. Mine is so good, my companion wants it.

There is a reasonably priced wine list, for a restaurant of this quality, and a staggering selection of cocktails, liqueurs and exotic soft drinks. I choose an espresso.

This is a restaurant, where you can take the in-laws, the outlaws, the business group or anyone else you wish to impress, they will not let you down. In the words of the immortal, Wodehouse, it is ‘one of the ones’.

SPECIALITY international cuisine, WHERE 42, Stasikratous street, Nicosia, CONTACT 22 447447, PRICE 3-course meal for 2, £52

Just ask a soccer specialist November 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus Occupied.
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Back on the island of Aphrodite, Cyprus that is.

Just after I arrived, I decided to take a walk around the old town of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus and reacquaint myself with Cypriot reality. I chose pedestrian Ledra Street as a suitable area for such an experience and after just a few first few steps my choice proved perfect.

To start with, there they were, the famous three-colour recycling bins, supplied for environmently-conscious citizens by Nicosia’s Municipality. I couldn’t stop myself going through their contents. What a disappointment! Whether it was the result of media reports about the rubbish not being recycled or it had been happening all along unnoticed, the fact is that all three had exactly the same mixture inside, which on the whole could not be re-cycled. But boy, do they look cute? They are certainly the prettiest rubbish bins I have seen in all the EU capitals I have recently visited.

After going through the municipal rubbish I thought it was time to re-visit the Cyprus problem so I headed for Flocafe, where I had a meeting with two foreign journalists in Cyprus to write about the subject. The young people decided to take a wider approach to the issue and instead of writing about Famagusta or the Orams case, went for football and co-operation among artists. Hence they contacted me, well-known for my expertise on soccer!

We spent half an hour together in the coffee shop and then the male journalist disappeared to interview some officials while I took a female for a houmous soup in a tiny eatery next to the Post Office and a walk around artists’ studios on both sides of the Green Line.

On our way we stopped for a moment in the moat between the Ledra Palace and Arabahmet (in no-man’s land), where a re-union of children and teenagers who had taken part in bi-communal summer camps was taking place. We looked through some of the kids’ drawings promoting the idea of peace and hey, somebody should use them constructively. I saw one that would be ideal as a logo for co-operation between divided Nicosia’s two municipalities. Of course, providing that such a logo is needed.

After the soup we went to Buyuk Han where we bumped into a group of Open Studios fans on a tour led by a Greek Cypriot painter. Under the arches there were some anarchist Turkish Cypriot poets getting drunk and watching the sunset. A freezing Russian artist from the south (what is going on with the weather in this country?) who has just had her works exhibited in the north came up to their table and asked for a glass of spirit to warm up. The others spread around the han looking at huge sculptures made from olive trees. One of the poets fetched a flute and began to play. We made a toast to nothing.

The next stop was a ceramic studio of a female artist, who created a video titled The Tale of the Silent Walk ie Woman Makes Peace. It showed 50 pairs of female shoes marching decisively through Nicosia’s old town ‘making peace’. Fifty was to symbolise the number of seats in the so-called Turkish Cypriot ‘parliament’. Were they all taken over by women everything would be sorted, said the artist, who also re-produced the shoes in clay in various bright colours, red for the fearless and blue for the free.

Back on this side, we again went through a labyrinth of narrow streets to a studio of another female artist whose many works explore the subject of war, with a particular accent on the buffer zone. Then we passed by the Archbishopric where a crowd of the faithful (what colour would it be?) was buzzing about the most recent developments in the Byzantine farce, the outcome of which we all now know. We stopped at Theatro Ena to ask about tickets for next day’s performance by famous spoon-bender Uri Geller and upon learning that the event was so popular that they were sold out decided to have a drink.

In the Orpheas Bar, the journalist asked where the real problem in Cyprus was.
“There is no real problem,” I said. “According to what I have heard at a recent conference in Brussels, the situation here is better than in Ireland. We have 10,000 Turkish Cypriots crossing to the south every day, working on this side, using the Greek Cypriot health system, some even getting a pension from the Greek Cypriot Government. The Greek Cypriot labour unions even go on strike to make sure that the Turkish Cypriot workers are insured. In Brussels, after hearing all this, an Irish MEP said she was not surprised that Cyprus beaten Ireland in a recent football match because here we are co-operating while in Ireland nothing is really happening.”

Now, you know why I am a soccer specialist!

Food of the ancient Greeks > Mastiha November 12, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia, Food Cyprus, Food Greece, Greece Islands Aegean.
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Tried and tested

Mastiha chocolate > How could I resist these? Being a huge fan of all things sweet, I was amazed to discover a type of chocolate I would never have imagined exists. OK, I was a little hesitant when unwrapping this one, but it was actually really tasty. It may take a bit of getting used to as you bite through the hard chocolate and are greeted with chewy mastiha. But with five flavours to chose from, there’s bound to be a few that tickle your fancy.

Mastiha Body Butter > Beautifully rich cream that makes your skin lovely and soft. What’s more it leaves you smelling like mastiha all day long. Great if you love the stuff, but give it a miss if you’re not too keen on the scent.

Elma Sugar Free Gum > Mastiha is excellent for oral hygiene as it acts as an antiseptic for the mouth. This chewing gum combines every category of ingredient found to be effective in fighting major enemies of dental health. It freshens breath, whitens teeth and tastes delicious! Great to have after a meal, but I could just keep on chewing it all day long. Unlike most gums on the market today, it keeps its taste for ages.

Mastiha Toothpaste > Many toothpastes and mouthwashes have mastiha as their main ingredient. Its use ensures dental plaque build-up control and protects from cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis. I’m sure you get the picture. Also, mastiha toothpaste prevents and fights the bad breath.

Mastiha Ipovrihio > I’m told that this is the most popular product in the shop as most Cypriots identify with this sweet that is especially loved by the older generation. Known as the ‘submarine’, the sweet mastiha is served completely submerged in water.

Natural Chios Mastiha Powder > A natural product proved to help with stomach health and combat ulcers. Can be used as a dietary supplement on a daily basis.

Did you know?

  • In Cyprus and the Arab Countries, mastiha is considered the most essential spice. In Cyprus they even flavour bread with mastic gum
  • Arabs consider it a great luxury to flavour their food, sweets, and even milk with mastiha, a fact that can be attributed to references made in their sacred books
  • During the 1960s, mastiha was exported to Germany in large quantities and used in the shoeshine industry
  • Mastiha has been proven to absorb cholesterol therefore diminishing the chances of heart attacks and high blood pressure
  • Today the French buy distilled mastiha oil for perfumes. Much of what you find on the shelves of beauty shops contains traces of pure Chios mastiha

Naked ambition October 22, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia, Lifestyle.
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Great tan, great abs, Cypriot stripper Mediterranean promises a good time

I’m here to meet a stripper. Although I introduce myself, he wishes to remain anonymous. His stage name is Mediterranean Fever and that’s all I’m getting out of him. Think Zorro without the sword: he wears a mask, he has a great tan, he struts his well-engineered body with abs that Superman would be jealous of, as though he is nine feet tall and has absolutely no modesty. But then again, anyone with an ounce of modesty might well not end up taking their clothes off while sexily gyrating in front of groups of laughing, screaming, and sometimes groping women. He’s a man of mystery, but a man with a mission: to be seen as something more than just a “piece of meat”. It’s almost an impossible task here in Cyprus, where the word “stripper” automatically conjures up parallel images of a prostitute.

His story is the same as many who follow his path: desperate for money, he needed to find a way to get himself back on his feet. He considered his virtues: he was a Latin dancer, did body sculpting, and was fun-loving. In addition, he was a university graduate, in economics, so felt sure he could “manage” himself. To him, it seemed obvious. And, every time he went somewhere he ended up exposing himself, so thought, why not make some money out of it. However, he is quick to assert that he is purely “professional”.

“I don’t do it for the women,” he starts to say, then realises what he’s said is completely contradictory and he smiles a boyish smile that has probably won – and broken – many hearts. “I mean, I do do it for the women… to please women… but not for sex.”

He continues, “Most Cypriots don’t see a stripper as a professional, just a mindless person or a prostitute. They underestimate me… I’m an educated stripper. I’m offering something different. My most exciting strip, most satisfying, was at a place with a group of traditional Cypriot women, who had lived in the village all their lives. They looked at me like I was an alien. It was a real challenge.”

He does speak fluent English and Greek, so brawn and brains? It’s a hard concept to swallow, but he is convincing. And stripping is not his full-time job. He works every summer for a water sports business, so keeps in shape and maintains his tan, while earning a bit extra. He’s also an “entertainer”, singing karaoke, and is currently working on becoming a fitness trainer.

We get down to the nitty-gritty. How long does the show last? Does he travel island-wide? What comes off? What stays on? Is it an “interactive” show? How much does it cost? He smiles that smile again, and you know that even though he’s been doing this for four years professionally, that smile has taken a lot longer to perfect. Each show is 15 minutes, all movement and dancing. Yes, he travels anywhere and has worked in all towns… nowhere is too far. He strips down to a G-string, though in hushed tones, he tells me “anything further needs to be discussed”. It seems it’s not out of the question to get a Full Monty if you require. Interactive performances depend on prior arrangements, as generally he performs a show and that means no touching. Costs begin at £150.

I find that a bit steep but Mediterranean Fever doesn’t even flinch. “How many strippers do you know in Cyprus?” he asks. It’s true. It’s an open market, therefore he can ask what he likes.

So how does he feel about taking his clothes off in front of total strangers? “At first I just did it for the money… now I like to do it. I feel I can give something that not many people can, so why not?” Why not indeed?

When asked how long he would continue doing if for, his answer – referring to tone of his body – was “as long as I’m still ripped to shreds”. That smile again. Finally, I asked him why people should call him if they need a stripper for a hens’ night, party or fun night at the pub. “Because I guarantee satisfaction”, he whispers, a twinkle in his eye.

Mediterranean Fever Strip Show. Tel: 99 838156. From £150.

Source and Copyright > The Cyprus Mail by Tracy Roth-Rotsas

A history of stamps October 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia.
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Tucked away in a corner of Nicosia is Cyprus’ postal museum

When we were very young (to paraphrase A.A.Milne) there wasn’t a child I knew who didn’t own a stamp album, who didn’t aspire to the best philatelic collection that money could buy or friends could provide. In my case, previously unknown relatives were dredged from address books, and postcards were sent in the hope that return correspondence, and thus exotic stamps, might find their way into my album.

The age of email has since caught up with me, and philately went by the board. Until this summer, when an aimless stroll through the backstreets of old Nicosia led me to a small door displaying a most intriguing sign: Cyprus Postal Museum. The weather was hot, the inside seemed dim and cool, and my philatelic interests, surpressed for years by the age of technology, began to resurface. And, how, I wondered, could such a small door be the entrance to a museum? I went in.

And that’s how I met Ploutis Loizou, Cyprus’ philatelic answer to King George V, who said of his stamps: “I wish to have the best collection, not just one of the best collections.” Set up in 1981, the museum was renovated in 2003, and fell under the auspices of the dedicated Mr. Loizou in 2004. “I worked from six in the morning until midnight, seven days a week,” he said, “to get the museum organised.”

Clearly it was a labour of love, as every stamp is beautifully displayed, every first edition labelled meticulously, and there is even a life size postman with a bright yellow bicycle standing next to a desk of paraphernalia from post offices in ages past. Genuine post boxes from the Victorian era leap to the eye, with the embossed VR standing out against the scarlet background.

Why, I wondered, are our post boxes now yellow? “Originally all our post boxes were red, the same as in England,” said Loizou. “But then it was decided that since post office insignia all over the world is in yellow, the colour should be changed.” And he was away, gently guiding me towards a roomful of stamps, anecdotes at the ready.

The stamps themselves are immaculate first editions, presented in upright glass cases, with notes as to the date of issue and the commemorative event. Loizou was a mine of information as he took me through the years, starting with a little background information.

Apparently Cyprus philatelic history began in 1343, with the first known letter from Famagusta to Constantinople. Over the years mail was carried on trading ships, and inland by privately hired muleteers. Then, in 1837, the Austrian branch of Lloyds opened an agency in Larnaca and the first Cypriot post office was born. In 1871, the capital opened its own post office, under the auspices of the Turks, but both closed down with the arrival of the British in 1878. At this point in the tour I was thrilled to be shown an exhibit of ‘Penny Reds’, among the first British stamps to be used on the island. From 1881 until 1960, stamps portrayed only the British monarchs, albeit overprinted with the word Cyprus, and the value of the stamp in piastres.

On August 16, 1960 Cyprus gained its independence from British rule, and Cyprus philately came into its own. That same year, a definitive set of three stamps depicting the island of Cyprus was issued, valued at 10 mils, 30 mils and 100 mils, giving Cyprus its very own stamps for the first time.

Over the years, stamps have been issued to commemorate many important events: 1963 saw the Jamboree celebrating 50 years of Scouting in Cyprus; stamps from 1965 celebrate John F Kennedy’s visit to Cyprus, and every four years an issue marks the passing of another Olympic Games.

In recent years, many of the issues have depicted the flora and fauna of the island: there are stamps showing moufflon, the turtles of Lara bay, indigenous crabs and a beautiful set depicting the wild flowers of Cyprus from 1990. The 2003 issue is a tribute to birds of prey, and is most unique, in that the stamps are all triangular.

Each of the issues is comprehensively labelled, but the joy isn’t in simply trawling the aisles admiring stamps, the real experience is in absorbing the curator’s wisdom. For Loizou, every issue is a story in itself, a miniature pictoral history of the island. His pride and joy is in fact the room of cancellation stamps, the mark that is added over the stamps to ensure they are not reused. He has spent years of his life travelling the island, collecting cancellation stamps from each and every post office, from the Monastery of Bellapais to the village of Trimithias. The same room houses scales and weights, from the gargantuan to the minute (used for checking the weight of gold coins), as well as sticks of the original brick-red wax used in sealing packages, and some of the first aerogrammes and letters to be sent to and from Cyprus.

To end a fascinating visit, Loizou brought out the visitors’ book, of which he is rightly proud. School groups and tours have delighted in his comprehensive tours of the museum, individuals who have popped in with five minutes to spare have left hours later, recording their awe and enjoyment that such a national treasure exists.

“Some of these visitors now write to me regularly,” beamed Loizou, flipping through a file to prove his point. “This man came here once, then we corresponded several times. Now we call each other,” he said, proudly showing me a letter from one Graham Little, President of the Eastbourne and South Downs Philatelic Society.

Perhaps it’s time I looked out that old stamp album and started writing to far flung Uncles again.

The Cyprus Postal Museum, 3b Ayiou Savva Street, Nicosia. Tel: 22 760522. Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9-3 and Saturday 9-1. 

Lebanese Arabesque in Nicosia October 15, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia.
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New Arabic restaurant in Nicosia that actually shows some promise

Leaving the city and travelling along Strovolos Avenue, fork left at the traffic lights situated at the junction with the new Strovolos Theatre and take the Tseri Road. About 500m on the left, is a Laiki bank, turn left and the restaurant is the second building on the right.

The standard for Lebanese food in Cyprus is set by Abu Faysal and long may it continue; there have been many challengers, but all have fallen short in my opinion; Ghazi reigns supreme. But, tucked away in a side-street off the Tseri road is a little gem. Established a few months ago, it offers traditional Arabian dishes in an intimate setting, served by a young, attentive and charming staff. We arrived on a Friday night at 8:30pm and had a choice of sitting in the main room or on the veranda. On being informed that we would not be able to see the belly dancer if we sat outside, my companion immediately opted for the veranda, it’s not that she has anything against the dancing, but thinks that I might be distracted from my task of reviewing; very thoughtful. How we finished up sitting inside I can’t remember, but we did.

Normally our aperitif is ouzo, but ‘when in Rome’ we go for arak, this is served with a small bucket of ice and a pitcher of water. Menus are produced and we go to work, ‘what is this’, ‘what is that’ all met with a smile and an explanation. In the interest of thorough research we eschewed the meze, and attacked the full card.

Our selection started with Tabbouli, a traditional salad that includes very finely chopped parsley, tomatoes, bulgar wheat, lemon juice and olive oil, the important thing is the fine chopping. Next up, the wine list; a good selection of local and foreign wines, but we selected a dry white Ksara from Lebanon; it seemed appropriate. We then chose a number of dishes from the cold meze list: Houmous, followed by Taket matet, a dip made from pomegranate syrup, red peppers, walnuts and breadcrumbs; followed by Labneh bel thoum, which for the uninitiated is strained yoghurt with garlic, and then my particular favourite, Patata bel thoum, yes you’ve guessed it, mashed potatoes, drizzled with olive oil and laced with crushed garlic; superb. All these dishes are served on a silver salver, and cost £l.25 and were accompanied by those delicate Lebanese pitas.

Next, the hot section. Four small pieces of Sfeha Balbakia, home-made pita topped with minced lamb, fresh tomato and parsley. Then the Falafel, which verified a very light touch in the kitchen, as did the Harah, deep fried potatoes in a traditional sauce.

For the main course I went for Shukaf Orfaly, small pieces of charcoaled grilled lamb, and the companion selected Farrouj Mashwi, grilled boneless chicken breasts. These are served, in a huge pita, on a silver platter, and proved the undoing of us. It would have taken the National Guard to finish the meal; portions are generous.

Did I mention a dancer? Of course I did. This girl danced to a frenetic percussion rhythm and generated enough kinetic energy to light up Strovolos, and surprise upon surprise, she is Cypriot, seventeen and of course, accompanied by her mother; so there.

We were served with Mahalabi and Arabic coffee, which contains cardamoms, not cloves, all courtesy of the house. Thank you very much.

Every aspect of this establishment pleased me, from the seamless service to the high-backed wooden chairs. Give it a go, it opens for lunch and has a take-away service.

Vital Statistics
SPECIALITY Arabic food
WHERE 4 Phythagorus St. Strovolos (off Tseri Road)
CONTACT 22 317839
PRICE Dinner for two including spirits, wine and water, £33.