Cappuccino Café Amárena

October 15, 2019

Café Amárena opened in the centre of Protaras last year. It was something of a disaster, waiter making the coffee, poor quality coffee, no surprise always empty.

It was a surprise it re-opened this year, but with one big difference, now employing a skilled barista. But still poor quality coffee beans, still always empty of customers. Syrups on display never a good sign. It is like raising a flag we serve bad coffee.

Two weeks ago I passed by with a friend, it was empty, not a single customer. By contrast Patisserie Amelie was busy.

Late in the evening, after an excellent meal at Nissiotis overlooking Protaras Pier, I dropped by and had a cappuccino.

As always empty, only a couple of tables occupied. When I left, I was their one and only customer. Not helped by the deafening noise from the bar next door.

My cappuccino reasonable, the girl who made my cappuccino has consistently improved her coffee making skills, which is good news.

But, never going to be able to serve good coffee let alone great coffee until they buy quality coffee beans, and these days no excuse for sourcing poor quality coffee.

It is depressing when a coffee shop could be better, they have the staff, a good machine, the grinders could be better, to be let down by poor quality coffee beans.

May get away with it in Cyprus with the locals, but visitors expect to be served a decent cup of coffee.

Cyprus is at a least a decade behind England. Every chain have heard of and others be grateful not heard of, all serving bad coffee, bad coffee in takeaway cups.

Larnaca is nearest will obtain a descent cup of coffee. Local bus to Ayia Napa then Intercity bus Ayia Napa to Larnaca.

Try Paul’s Coffee Roasters and Nick’s Coffee Bike, both serve excellent coffee.

Tagliatelle bolognese Ravioli’s Italian restaurant

October 14, 2019

I was going to eat at Spartiatis a seafood restaurant overlooking Konnos Bay, but a cool evening with wind blowing, I decided to eat instead at Ravioli’s an Italian restaurant.

Large widescreen showing sport in a restaurant is never a good sign. Bad enough in a pub.

My order came quick, far to quick. Not a good sign.

When I arrived the restaurant was almost empty. When my food arrived it was empty.

My tagliatelle bolognese was not good, tough and chewy. Parts were piping hot, other parts cold. Not helped by serving in a cold bowl.

Very poor compared with what I have had elsewhere.

Then a large rowdy pig-ignorant group sat on a table behind me. One shouting he was going to get seriously drunk. Why do people not show manners when dining out?

On my way out I out an ice cream. Very poor quality. Far better to be had from patisserie amelie a coffee shop in the centre of Protaras.

Appalling service InterCity Buses

October 13, 2019

Afternoon and early evening Friday 4 October 2019 very poor bus service Intercity Buses to and from Larnaca. Local bus service also leaves much to be desired, too few buses leading to overcrowded buses.

At Ayia Napa I almost missed the InterCity Bus to Larnaca, it looked like a tourist bus. But appearances deceptive, a clapped out tourist bus, broken seats.

Bad driving, driver drives off before passengers had the opportunity to sit down.

Return bus at 1800, peak time, many waiting for bus which turns up late, not everyone able to get on the bus. The bus not much larger than a mini-bus.

I decide to wait for next bus, an hour later.

Annoying, had I known, I would have gone for a walk and caught the next bus an hour later.

The local bus, from Ayia Napa little better. Russians park their buggies in the aisle, sit on the folding seats in the allocated bays for buggies. When asked to move, park their buggies in the bays they refuse. Driver failed to intervene.

Cappuccino and pour over Paul’s Coffee Roasters

October 13, 2019

After several days of bad coffee and at best mediocre coffee, a coffee shop where they serve decent coffee, a rarity in Cyprus.

No Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina. I ask of security post, but they do not know other than to tell me not seen today.

I know of a coffee shop, but only walked from coffee shop through back streets to seafront. I decide to try the other way around, walk along seafront, through back streets, only cannot ask the way, as cannot recall the name.

Amazingly I find Paul’s Coffee Roasters without getting lost.

I order a cappuccino and take into the garden.

Coffee shop not busy, but becomes busy whilst I am there. A steady stream of customers, people of good taste who appreciate good coffee.

I leave two bags of coffee, but first we try Ethiopian from The Missing Bean brewed using a Gina, similar to a V60. Excellent.

Paul’s Coffee Roasters is a rarity in Cyprus, an independent coffee shop, pleasant ambience, lovely little garden, well designed, not made to look like Starbucks, and serves excellent coffee. Well worth finding.

Also try Nick’s Coffee Bike  by the seafront outside the marina.

Fleeting visit Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park

October 13, 2019

With about 10-15 minutes to spare changing from local bus to InterCity bus, and luckily bus dropped off at top entrance, time to walk through the sculpture park.

I notice new exhibits since my last visit.

Afternoon in Larnaca

October 13, 2019

Friday first week of October, hot and sunny day, 29C, but at least had dropped below 30C. When 30C and above too hot to visit Laranaca, at least too hot in burning sun in May and June, now shadows are longer.

En route a fleeting visit to Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park, where alight and change from local bus to Intercity Bus.

New exhibits since my last visit.

Disappointed to find no Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina. A rare location in Cyprus where can obtain decent coffee. I ask security post at Larnaca Marina but they do no know, other than not seen today.

I decide to find a coffee shop hidden in the back streets.

I head into the back streets from the seafront. I have walked from coffee shop to seafront, but not the other way around, and even then I get lost. I cannot ask directions as cannot recall name of the coffee shop.

Amazing, I find without getting lost.

Paul’s Coffee Roasters but no Paul. A guy I do not know, makes me a coffee. I leave two bags of coffee for Nick.

  • – espresso blend from Origin
  • Ethiopian from The Missing Bean

The Origin made the best cappuccino at the Brighton Coffee Festival.

We tried the Ethiopian brewed with a a Gina as a pour over. It was excellent.

It was then head to the seafront the long way around via St Lazarus Church.

I made it in time for InterCity Bus at 1800. A bus not much bigger than a mini-bus. Peak time, too may people waiting for the bus. I decide to wait for the next bus at 1900, an hour to wait. Annoying as I could have gone for a walk.

I change to local bus at Ayia Napa.

Unbelievably stupid Russians on the bus. Instead of tipping up the folding seat in the allocated bay, they sit there and park a buggy blocking the aisle. When asked to stand, lift up the seats and park their buggy in the allocated bay, they refuse.

As late I thought of remaining on the bus, head into Protaras, walk along the seafront and eat in restaurant overlooking the sea, but as late decide not.

Moussaka and salad Nissiotis overlooking Protaras Pier

October 6, 2019

In recent years quality of food served in Protaras has fallen, many restaurants gone under, all in a race to the bottom to compete with all-inclusive hotels.

One of the rare exceptions serving quality without having to go out of Protaras is Nissiotis.

I chose moussaka, served in a clay pot with a second bowl of Greek salad.

Portion size generous, my only criticism too generous, sufficient to share with a friend.

My only other criticism, poor choice of beer. But this is true of everywhere in Protaras.

The restaurant was almost empty. One of many casualties of all-inclusive hotels, which are killing the local economy, killing the tourist economy. And as with everywhere, Nissiotis hit by the collapse of Thomas Cook.

A quiet location overlooking Protaras Pier.

Patisserie Amelie overlooking Vali tou Xadajixeni

October 5, 2019

Cyprus is a country where with a handful of rare exceptions are guaranteed to find bad coffee. Every chain have heard of and many would not wish to hear of. What is equally depressing is the indie coffee shops follow suit and serve bad coffee, bad coffee in takeaway cups.

Several years ago Patisserie Amelie opened in the centre of Protaras. By the abysmal standards of Cyprus a step in the right direction, an improvement, but coffee LavAzza and was never going to be serving great coffee, and always empty but for staff employed in the hotel and the occasional tourist. This year surprisingly busy.

Now a second Patisserie Amelie has opened overlooking a small bay Vali tou Xadajixeni, a little way along the coast from Fig Tree Bay, maybe ten minutes walk.

The design is poor. It is part of Sunrise Jade. It looks as though tacked on as an afterthought.

It could have been adjacent to the bay, not set back

No lessons learnt from Antamoma, a terrace below Gold Coast Hotel overlooking Kalamies Beach.

The coffee LavAzza, the person who made the coffee head waiter from Sunrise Jade. When asked, apart from that it was San Remo, he had no idea the coffee machine and made clear he had no interest in knowing.

The coffee looked disgusting, tasted disgusting. The unpleasant taste of the cheap low quality LavAzza dominated.

There is no excuse these days for not using high quality coffee. A five-star hotel insulting its clientele with this low quality coffee.

What could be, a coffee shop with quality beans, skilled barista, would become a destination as word got around.

Sunrise Jade 5*, superficially looks good, but on close inspection, cheap and tacky, not of the quality of Sunrise Beach. The small lounge, serried rows of seats, has as much ambience as the gate at an airport when waiting to board a flight. It was as though had walked into a Tsokkos hotel. But would caution, initial impressions,  have not stayed or tried the food.

Its big plus, a quiet location, especially if compared with Sunrise Beach where kept awake until early hours of the morning by the bars.

The staff not friendly, clearly bored. Maybe end of season fatigue.

A quiet location and yet the coffee shop has moronic music blaring out.

No beach, not unless class a dirty stretch of sand accessed by a causeway is classed as a beach.

At the opposite end of the bay, steps that do not look safe descend to the sea.

For those who love coffee, it is worth a trip to Larnaca for one of those rare exceptions, Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina. Catch the local bus to the Ayia Napa International Sculpture Park, then Intercity Bus to Larnaca.

Also worth finding Paul’s Coffee Roasters hidden in the backstreets of Larnaca.

Sunset and new moon 35,000 feet over Europe

October 5, 2019

First day of October, stunning sunset and new moon.

After the sun set, blood red glow along the horizon and above that a new moon.

Cappuccino and toastie at Jamie’s Coffee

October 5, 2019

It is easy to see why Jamie’s Italian failed, a talented chef does not a successful chain make.

The same is true of Jamie’s Coffee at Gatwick North Terminal.

What started as a van, now a counter serving coffee, toasted sandwiches and cakes.

The coffee low quality Italian coffee, or was.

Not sure if still cheap Italian coffee as could not see what it was, but not good.

What is depressing is what could be.

Sussex and nearby Brighton no shortage of high quality coffee roasteries. This could be a coffee shop showcasing the best London, Sussex and Surrey has to offer on coffee, different rotation of guest coffee.

And you do not improve by wasting money on PR, improve by focusing on quality, buying speciality coffee, employing skilled baristas.