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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Restaurant review with Alexander McCowan ]

Restaurant review with Alexander McCowan

Perfect for Nicosia’s young and fashionable

The latest chrome invasion on Nicosia’s Grivas Digenis to attract the junior gliteratti is called Hustle. I don’t imagine the allusion to Larry Flynt will chime with the boulevardiers of Nicosia, but the management obviously believes it will.

How to describe the Hustle? It reminded me of a cross between a superior northern Italy railway station and a snooker hall. We are told that the interior is the brainchild of two celebrated artists of whom ‘we shall hear more in the future’. On arrival we are greeted by a pleasant young man who in response to my enquiry about whether this is a restaurant, as we had been assured it was, or a railway bar, shows me to a table for two, which is cheek by jowl with another table for two. There are long raised tables and stools, low tables, nooks and crannies. The walls contain three screens each of which is showing a silent movie containing groups of exhibitionists doing suggestive things with guitars, and are collectively known as the ‘Gods of Rock’. Apparently this is in-house entertainment known as Hustle TV, whereby the establishment plays music from its own system while the diner watches the asylum.

Enter the staff carrying the menu. This is in the form of a cheap tabloid and sets out what we are to believe is the ‘Hustle’ philosophy, much of which has to do with playing billiards. On page four we encounter food; under ‘season’s gear’, an advertisement for electronic equipment and sunglasses, we find freshly baked pastries. It states: chicken, spinach and fetta; that’s it.

Then, under a heading of waffles, we have ham and cheese, and cheddar cheese and chicken; I wonder why they make the distinction?

Next page, we are offered ‘sensational salads’. Has anyone ever had such a thing? Surely the very nature of a salad is to be quiet, understated, modest, even. There are five altogether, and three of them contain chicken breast; the others don’t. The next page is most worrying for it boasts the ‘Prefect sandwich’, all the prefects at my school were monsters; I gave this a miss even though it contained the famous ‘American steak sandwich’, the ‘Delhi deli’, and the ‘Mediterranean in Spanish baquette(sic)’. By now the companion is becoming a little jittery, she has been promised a three course meal by the management, and by God, she will get one. On Page 8 we are offered the burgers; these include the ‘Hustle burger’ complete with smoked cheese, crispy bacon, mushrooms and BBQ sauce; the ‘Brazillian’ with caramelised onion rings, bacon and melted cheddar cheese; the ‘make your burger’;
chicken burgers, and veggie burgers. Next to these are the starters, they include chicken wings, breaded mushrooms, freshly made nachos, mozzarella sticks with a pesto dip, chicken fingers; I didn’t know they had any, but these are served in a basket with a honey and mustard dip; grilled tandoori fingers, again served in a tortilla basket. The companion has the mushrooms and I have the tandoori. Apart from the burgers, the main courses are a limited number of grills and pastas. The pasta consisted of two spaghetti and two penne dishes that feature smoked salmon and cheeses. With this embarrassment of choice, and in the interest of the readership, I go for the ‘Hustle’ burger and the companion selects the grilled beef fillet. The joint is jumping; parties of girls everywhere; smart girls, old girls, good-looking and otherwise girls; next to us is a big girl, and she hasn’t stopped talking for the last hour.

No-one is looking at the ‘Gods of rock’; shame.

The waitresses are divine and the service is perfect; whatever little eccentricity you require, such as condiments, they will find them. The ‘fingers’ and the mushrooms arrive hot and steaming and are as good as they can be. The wine list is perused and, whilst one is not in accord with the management view, that a good Bordeaux is like distilled ‘Led Zeppelin’ and Champagne is the equivalent of a Jimi Hendrix solo: they do have one or two surprises in their very limited list; one of which is asking €23 for a Kyperountas Cabernet Sauvignon. I select the Casilero del Diabilo, a high powered South American, and cheapest on the list at €15.

I have probably eaten half a dozen burgers in my short life and none were a happy experience and this was to prove no exception; undercooked and lacking in taste, even though we were promised it was a 100% lean beef; the accompanying vegetables did not thrill. Sad to say, the companion’s grilled fillet was equally unappetising; shallow, flaccid, resistant to the blade, and accompanied by what one might believe to be frozen chips; oh dear.

‘Shall we have a sweet, dear’? This establishment goes in for minimalism on the menu, you really don’t have to spend too much time over selection. There is Berlin, a white chocolate mousse cake, apple pie (what can go wrong with that?), Dome chocolate and a series of waffles. The companion has the Berlin, which I don’t suppose was made on the premises, and I go for the Cappuccino praline waffle. The Berlin was good; the waffle a disappointment; it was like trying to consume a damp mattress.

This establishment will be a raging success, it strikes exactly the right balance of pretentiousness and naivety that sustains the chromium elite of Nicosia; the young will go to enclave, and the not so young to be seen with them; they do a rich line in cocktails, and let’s face it, who cares about the food. Did I mention they have two pool tables? Can’t be beat.

Vital Statistics
WHERE 3, Griva Digeni; opposite Starbucks, Nicosia
CONTACT 22 458588
PRICE Meal for two with drinks, €50

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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