While browsing at the Mouflon book store, the owner Ruth mentioned there is a new enterprise on the street: a small restaurant, close by, that serves breakfast, brunch and late lunch, closing at 4pm. How very interesting.
In the shady Sofouli Street diners may look over the extraordinary tangles of Wisteria and Passiflora embracing the sun-drenched buildings opposite. We are greeted by Christina Savvides, the proprietor, who explains the rules of the house. The lunch menu changes daily, the emphasis is on natural nourishing food, the ambience is organic, the customers, apart from me, youngish, fit and busy. We are struck by the stylish interior, simple well-spaced tables, spectacularly clean, nothing intrusive.
The drinks card contains coffee in every modern form, herbal teas and singularly refreshing home-made juices and lemonades and just the one chilled white wine; a Petrides, our usual choice for chicken or fish; very perceptive. The outside temperature demands a glass of chilled mint lemonade and the companion orders a carrot and apple juice that is served in a small carafe with a glass of ice on the side. Good start.
Apron is big on eggs. The brunch card offers turmeric eggs scrambled on rye toast with Virginia ham, grilled tomatoes and avocado spread; I’ll try that next visit. Croque madame: heard of that before in Nicosia? Ham on Gruyere served on toast with two poached eggs and grilled tomatoes. How about Avocado brioche benedict: two poached eggs with mashed avocado, smoked salmon with hollandaise sauce served with a green salad. There are two further dishes involving three egg omelettes with quinoa, mushrooms, cheese; what more could you want?
They offer granola pots, nuts and seeds; pancakes with contents that would give the health fascists apoplexy. Lots of salads.
Main courses – which change every day – include beef curry; free range sweet paprika chicken with a variety of root vegetables; lemon herb salmon with sweet peppers and their own yoghurt sauce served on mashed potatoes. You are invited to try a pork tenderloin with Hoisin sauce, with wild rice and broccoli, or an Angus burger with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, salad and coleslaw, which is the most expensive item on the menu at €10.50.
However, knowing I could have a glass of the Kyperounda, I chose the seafood pasta with tiger prawns. Madam, the Italian, selected the chicken, but when she saw the prawns chose to help herself which I countered by ordering three more and called for a sharp knife. We have been married 59 years. Capiche.
My dish was more than sufficient; perfectly presented. The pasta was penne, an excellent accompaniment for sea food, the alliance works extremely well, however, while just on the right side of al-dente it was too much. The sauce is short on marine dwellers, perhaps the early diners fared better. The prawns were cooked to perfection. Madam claimed the salad needed a little more dressing.
For us a sweet would not generally be a feature of the meal but Apron’s are something else. The companion had the Pavlova with praline and fresh fruit and I settled for the orange cheesecake over a carrot crumble. A magical experience.
Nothing about this establishment was displeasing. It reminded me of those rare outlets in our capital that have thrived over the years, mainly directed at the ladies that dine. They do not over commit their resources and establish a reputation for quality and innovation.
Madam Savvides is ubiquitous, and the men of the kitchen, Kyriacos and Sean, know their onions better than most.
They are open every day bar Sunday and can comfortably seat 70. Some days they are packed, others not so much. It will be best to book.
We thought it a most enjoyable experience apart from the parking regulations. Don’t ask. If the municipality wants to discourage any enterprise from succeeding, continue to employ the moron that came up with this one. He must be in planning.
SPECIALTY Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch
WHERE 34 Sofouli Street, Nicosia. Next to Mouflon Book shop
WHEN Daily till 4pm except Sunday
CONTACT 22-675858 best to book
PRICE Very reasonable