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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Restaurant review by Sarah Antoniou ]

Restaurant review by Sarah Antoniou

Generous portions and a stunning view
Charmers Fish Tavern and Steak House

Larnaca’s sea-hugging road of Piale Pasha is a unique coastal concoction. Part of the road has a sheer drop at its edge to the bobbing ocean waves and the Mediterranean almost envelopes you in its blueness and imparts a relaxing, holiday atmosphere. Larnaca Municipality has plans to update this coastal stretch making it prettier and more accessible for walking and cycling.

Charmers has an enviable seafront position with a stunning view. The exceptionally wide frontage of the restaurant is smart, with tall pots filled with palms and flowers and wooden glazed doors which fold open to allow diners to get a good sense of the fresh sea air. Inside, tables are set professionally and with great care. Even the white napkins, which bear the logo and name of the restaurant, are placed deliberately, all facing in the same direction. White tablecloths are overlaid with signature dark red ones, wooden chairs are traditional Cypriot style, and the many mirrors on the rear walls almost reflect a hotel atmosphere.

The menu sprang no surprises and had a good variety – many fish dishes and a page full of different types of steaks. The usual combination of Greek specialities was also featured, including moussaka and stifado, as well as more internationally-inspired dishes. All steaks were priced at €20.50 except for the Plank Steak (€22), which was “Highly Recommended by the Chef” - an obvious choice for one of our main meals. Starters were priced between €4.70 (for Grilled Halloumi) and €9.70 (Garlic Prawns). The Crab Cocktail (€6.50) tempted but I finally chose the Garlic Mushrooms, which were the same price, and my partner, feeling very hungry, went for the starter Spaghetti Bolognaise (€5.55).

His hunger soon vanished as the Bolognaise arrived – a huge portion which I would only have expected to be a main. All very well, but his Plank Steak had not arrived yet. My garlic mushrooms were swamped in a glossy, mustard-coloured and flavoured sauce which oozed over onto the garnish of a twisted lemon slice, carrot and lettuce leaves. Not what I would have expected garlic mushrooms to be like, but the taste was quite agreeable, though severely lacking in garlic. I pecked at the spag-bol starter, already generously scattered with parmesan, and could see why my dining partner thought it so good. The rich tomato and meat sauce was deep and delicious.

I sipped a freshly squeezed orange juice, which was sweet and slightly zesty as a basket of toasted Greek bread was offered. A glass of the house red wine tickled the taste buds – with a lightness of flavour we recognised to be the award-winning Ayios Onoufrios.

My eyes opened wide as I spotted the Plank Steak being carried over – sitting on a massive block of wood, the steak was topped with a ring of pineapple, and creamy mushrooms covered with melted cheese, flanked all along one side of the plank by twists of piped mashed potato, and accompanied with various vegetables including carrots, sweet corn and overcooked broccoli. Fire danced from a silver pot in one corner of the rectangular offering. At this point, I was relieved for my partner that I had helped him with the spag bol!

My main course, a fresh Sword Fish Kebab (€13.50) was light in comparison, but my own portion included two skewers of fish sprinkled with parsley, and served with a selection of vegetables, plain rice and chips. I had to ask for lemon to drizzle copiously over the insipid fish, which was also rather on the dry side, and this helped its flavour come alive.

With only one other table of diners in house we expected the service to be quick off the mark, but it seemed we had been forgotten. After what seemed like an age, our plates were cleared and we asked to see the dessert menu.

Banana Split was not possible as they had no bananas (in the middle of banana season in Cyprus?) so to end our meal and to satisfy our sweet craving we shared a dessert. Our Ice Cream Cake (€5) – a plain sponge with vanilla ice cream at its centre and a chocolate top – came with three dollops of fresh cream and was doused with a bitter chocolate sauce sprinkled with pistachios. The cake may have been nice but the sour sauce overwhelmed our taste buds and made it a huge disappointment. The Plank Steak had obviously stolen the show.
SPECIALITY Fish and steaks
WHERE Piale Pasha, Lordos Seagate, Larnaca
CONTACT 24 624127
PRICE 3-course meal from €55, including drinks

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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