One of the best things about Cyprus is being surprised. You could be walking through some run down backstreet and suddenly come across the trendiest bar that you never even knew existed. Or you could possibly be out in the middle of nowhere and a local on the roadside tells you about a hidden eatery that you only wish you knew about before.
And this brings us on to our current subject matter: Tasties cafe!
While the place itself certainly can’t go unnoticed if you’re already in Lefkara – with the brilliant blue hues that characterise the outside of the building calling out to greet visitors – you wouldn’t actually know about the place unless you happen to frequent the village or know of someone who has been before. And that’s another thing about Cyprus: if a place is cool, and worth the visit, word about its glories spreads across the island like the hot fire. Now welcoming crowds from around the island (and so very busy that the owners have to turn people away at the weekend), My Cyprus Insider simply had to go along to check it out.
What’s the story behind it?
Tasties first opened its doors in its present form about a year ago, but its story dates back well before that. “We were here in Cyprus on holiday a good few years ago and we loved this building,” exclaims English-Cypriot Marie Cousins who owns the place with her husband.
The former owners of a London antique shop, the duo began to think about how they would jazz up the place which was in dire need of a good bit of handiwork to say the very least. With the building dating back to 1850, there was much to be done. At first, a small section was cordoned off and began to function as a take away joint until the restaurant was finally up and running.
“It took us about 9 years to restore, and we did it all ourselves,” says Marie proudly, dashing about the place to show me all the hard work that’s been done. Pushing through the crowds that have descended here on this sunny Sunday lunchtime, some are greeted with a warm embrace, while she shouts out to others with a characteristic and booming: “Hello agapi mou!” (directly translated as “Hello my love!”).
“Look at that stained glass,” she says moving close to one of the windows and pointing towards the spectacular bright colours that can’t go unnoticed. “We did it all. In fact, my daughter painted that stained glass at 12 years old. Can you believe that?” With the family now living upstairs, Marie continues to dart around the venue making sure that everyone is happy, clearly proud of her café that is now frequented by visitors from around the country.
What’s on offer?
Home cooked food in rather big portions that could possibly best be described as ‘homemade comfort food’ as a friend pointed out. Don’t expect gourmet cuisine or traditional Cypriot cuisine for that matter, but you can certainly enjoy standard café food that will curb the hunger pangs.
The menu changes frequently but when My Cyprus Insider visited, there were a number of dishes on offer, from veggie lasagne and veggie soup to beef goulash, chicken Kiev and chicken wrapped in bacon. You can accompany any main with chips, mashed potatoes, salad or veggies. Most of us had chips, and although crisp, we would have been happier if they were freshly cut instead of the frozen variety. Do be sure to leave some space for dessert as we found the apple pie to be rather scrumptious, served with lovely vanilla ice cream or custard. Keep in mind that the portion is massive, so you may want to share it.
Why go there?
First and foremost, going to Lefkara makes for a wonderful day out, with old village streets dotted with lace shops, as owners beckon you into their workshops to show you what they’ve made. Awfully proud of the village’s long lacemaking traditions, locals are also mighty proud of their silver, with filigree pieces taking pride of place in shop windows.
With Tasties situated in a central spot in the village, it’s the perfect place to sit for a little respite. You’ll be welcomed by a roaring fire in the winter months, while a gorgeous green leafy courtyard is the perfect spot to kick back and relax in the summer.
What’s the best thing about the space for us? Undoubtedly, the décor and atmosphere. If you love interior design, architecture and all things pretty, you’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself in here. From eclectic antique furniture (with some gorgeous Georgian and Victorian pieces in the mix), you can even pick up an old book to read while you’re waiting for your dish, with some exceptionally weird and wonderful titles in the mix.
The warmth of the owners is also a big plus. It’s a family run place and you can feel it from the moment that you step into the venue. “It’s because we do it all with love. Whatever you do, you have to do it with love and plenty of care,” insists Marie with a beaming smile as she continues to dash around the place to greet people. But where is her hubby? “In the kitchen, as always!” she wildly exclaims.
Tasties Café, Pano Lefkara
Tel: (+357) 24-343411