Posts Tagged ‘Nicolas Tavern’

Nicolas Tavern

July 2, 2012
Nicolas Tavern

Nicolas Tavern

chicken soup

chicken soup

side salad

side salad

 kleftico

kleftico

dancing to Greek music

dancing to Greek music

Walk along the street in Protaras, a coastal resort in the east of Cyprus, and you will see signs outside restaurants advertising kleftico cooked in an oven.

Of course it is cooked in an oven, but is it a clay oven?

Nicolas Tavern is the only restaurant with a wood-fired clay oven. The oven is fired with logs midday. Kleftico, a traditional Greek-Cypriot lamb dish, is cooked slowly slowly over many hours. It melts off the bone. If you have not eaten kleftico at Nicolas Tavern you have not eaten kleftico, merely a pale imitation.

I ate a couple of times at Nicolas Tavern.

My Russian friend Lena and I went along one evening. We had tasted kleftico the week before when we had had drinks at Nicolas Tavern. It was delicious. We were looking forward to our kleftico.

We asked for the best medium-dry red wine. We were served Status 99.

We then ordered kleftico, only to learn it had proved so popular that night they had sold out.

We decided on fish. I had sea bream, very tasty. Lena a baked fish.

Ideally a white wine to go with the fish. Status 99 is a full-bodied red. Ideal for kleftico.

We were pleased though we had ordered Status 99 as an excellent wine. It comes, as do many of the wines served at Nicolas Tavern, from a small family vineyard, this one Kolios Winery near Paphos. Quality wines to go with the quality food.

We were sufficiently impressed with the Status 99, that we ordered a second bottle which we took away with us when we left.

For starters we had chicken soup. The most delicious chicken soup we had ever tasted. The soup was served in an enormous bowl, plus pita bread.

To go with our main dish we ordered a side salad, which again was very tasty and delicious.

For desert we had strawberries and cream. Cypriot strawberries are not a nice as English strawberries and Lena added not as nice as Russian strawberries. I would have preferred Greek yoghurt to cream. Something I acquired a taste for on Mykonos.

On Mykonos I stayed in a villa belonging to the deputy mayor overlooking the beach. I would climb down the cliff to a nearby taverna on the beach. Here I would have breakfast. My breakfast was strawberries and raspberries and Greek yoghurt.

Ask any locals where to eat and they will tell you without hesitation Nicolas Tavern. It is very popular, with people often making the trip from Nicosia.

A few days later I ate again at Nicolas Tavern, and this time yes, I did get to eat kleftico. It was delicious, melts off the bone.

On that night, one long table with Greek-Cypriots. After my meal I relaxed with a brandy sour, a Cypriot drink. My entertainment was the Greek-Cypriots dancing to Greek music.

If there is one criticism to make it is that the portions are too large.

At times the service is a little slow. But what is the hurry, there is nothing else to do? The evening is relaxing, eating a meal. It is not a fast food outlet. You are there to enjoy a gourmet meal.

When dining out at a place worth eating, you spend the evening enjoying your meal.

Nicolas Tavern is the place to eat in Protaras. Whilst there may be other places to eat, Nicolas Tavern is in a league all of its own.

Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

June 18, 2012
Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

Wines of Cyprus | Status 99

My lovely Russian friend Lena and I had decided we would dine at Nicolas Tavern.

Earlier in the evening we had walked along the coast to a farm, where we picked up two honeydew melons, courtesy of the farmer.

We were tired and hungry, but at least after a shower were feeling refreshed.

We had decided on kleftico, a traditional Greek-Cypriot dish, lamb cooked slowly slowly for many hours in a wood-fired clay oven. We had sampled kleftico the week before when we had a drink at Nicolas Tavern.

The wine was therefore red. Lena wanted sweet. I said no. We compromised on medium dry.

I called the head waiter over: Your best medium dry red please.

He brought over Status 99. Lena tried and said it was good.

But no kleftico, they had run out. We settled on fish. I had sea bream (at least I think that is what it was). I am not sure what Lena had.

For starters we had the most delicious chicken soup, served in enormous bowls, a meal in itself.

For desert strawberries and cream. I would have preferred strawberries with Greek yoghurt, much nicer. On Mykonos I used to have for breakfast at a lovely taverna raspberries and strawberries and Greek yoghurt.

Cypriot strawberries are not as nice as English strawberries. Lena added not as nice as Russian either.

Status 99, a full-bodied red wine, not exactly the ideal choice for fish, we should have had white wine, but we did not know there was no kleftico when we ordered. Fish needs a lighter wine. A full-bodies red like Status 99 ideal for a heavy meat dish like kleftico.

Nevertheless we enjoyed Status 99, an excellent choice, even if it did not quite match the main dish of fish.

Why Status 99? A question I asked Nicolas the next day. The name is from the village, Statos Ayios Fotios. Why 99? Not known.

Status 99 comes from a family vineyard Kolios Winery, high on the hills outside Paphos. The vineyards are owned by the Kolios family, planted by their grandparents on the slopes high above Paphos.

Like many of the wines at Nicolas Tavern, Status 99 comes from a family vineyard, quality wines to go with the quality food.

I asked Lena did she enjoy the wine? She replied yes. When we left I ordered another bottle for her to take home.

Nicolas Tavern is a traditional Greek-Cypriot taverna in Protaras. The restaurant to eat in Protaras. The only one with a traditional wood-fired clay oven. Kleftico to die for!

TripAdvisor, fake reviews and does it matter anyway

May 17, 2012
Nicolas Tavern

Nicolas Tavern

I was stopped tonight nigh on midnight as I passed by Yiamas, one of the better bars in Protaras in Cyprus.

I was stopped by George, the owner of Yiamas, he wanted to tell me Yiamas was No 1 bar on TripAdvisor. What is TripAdvisor he then asked?

He has learnt that Yiamas was No 1 bar from customers who had sought him out.

Strange that, as Trip Advisor has no category for bars! It lists hotels, restaurants, and attractions, but not bars. Yiamas is listed as an attraction!

If nothing else, it shows TripAdvisor works, of a sorts, but also that its categorization is wrong. A bar is not an attraction, not unless you are an alcoholic, a bar is a bar. An attraction would be the Dancing Waters, the boat trips, the water sports.

TripAdvisor has recently been rocked by scandal, fake reviews, reviewers paid to write favourable reviews, rivals dishing rivals.

Fake reviews are fairly easy to spot. They stand out like a sore thumb, be they good or bad.

Nicolas Tavern is a very good place to eat. You can see this from the reviews, and yet there will occasionally be a review that says it is bad.

One illiterate review was so over the top it screamed ‘fake review’.

Go to McDonalds instead!!: If ere was a way of dragging you back out of this restaurant before you stepped in then I wish someone would have do eat to me. As I waited and I waited and I waited and waited and waited to be served, my very British-ly polite boyf wanted to wait to not be rude, but my anger just expanded the longer I was left. Once we did order, and we waited and waited and waited, the surely wife of the owner threw our food at us and grunted in disgust as tho she was doing us a favour. The OLympus is far better across the road and wish that we had gone there for our last nit as that was the best restaurant all holiday! And the Greek ready-meals in tesco are better than this place! The rose was nice though!

Go to McDonalds instead .. waited and I waited and I waited and waited and waited to be served … surely wife of the owner threw our food at us … Greek ready-meals in tesco are better …

To compare McDonald’s with a real restaurant? Nicolas not in the height of the season, therefore not a long time to be served. Wife of Nicolas does not work in taverna. No staff would throw food on table, if they did they would be fired. Olympus does not have the traditional wood-fired clay oven. Ready meals at Tesco!

The same person had reviewed Vangelis Apartments and said they were dirty. They are not. They may have drunk English from the bottom end of the tourist market, there is big problem with noisy bars outside, but Vangelis Apartments is not dirty.

The same person had reviews for 16-17 May of Northampton, London, Protaras and Dubai!

When all the reviews say the same thing, sing from the same song sheet, you know something is wrong, probably told what to say by the owner.

As George had no idea what TripAdvisor was, other than he was No 1, and he only knew that because customers told him, then at least we can assume he has not told the customer what to say.

George asked me how was Nicolas, busy? Yes, I replied. George expected no less.

TripAdvisor has to get its act together and stamp out fake reviews, otherwise it will become one more worthless web resource like wikipedia.

Top Story in The Cyprus Holiday News (Sunday 20 May 2012).

Kleftico at Nicolas Tavern

May 19, 2011

The choice was Cypriot night at the hotel or kleftico at Nicolas Tavern. No choice really, so kleftico at Nicolas Tavern it was.

Traditionally kleftico is cooked slowly slowly in a wood-fired clay oven. This is how it is cooked in the villages and this is how it is cooked at Nicolas Tavern in Protaras, the only Greek-Cypriot taverna in Protras to use a clay oven.

If in Protaras and you wish to try Greek-Cypriot cuisine, then Nicolas Tavern is the place to eat.


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