Home   Ashford   News   Article

Eat My Words: Review of Taste of Cyprus, Ashford High Street


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

.

A Taste of Cyprus sound very inviting - if a little incongruous - in a rainy Ashford town centre on a weekday lunchtime, the steady drizzle serving as a warm-up act to the severe weather warning in place for the following day.

The immediate view of a boarded-up pub next door doesn't exactly scream 'eastern Mediterranean', although we're sure the eastern Mediterranean also has its fair share of boarded-up pubs. They probably just look more attractive because of the weather.

A Taste of Cyprus is located in Ashford's Middle Street
A Taste of Cyprus is located in Ashford's Middle Street

Our team of journalists ventured to the Taste of Cyprus cafe, which opened earlier this year with the promise of the escapism many need in these troubled times and with our troubled weather.

The service inside is certainly sunny, while the food itself offers the sort of thing most of us have never had for lunch before (unless we'd had lunch in Cyprus, obviously).

Despite the name, Taste of Cyprus, on the site of a former estate agents, offers food and drink from around the Mediterranean.

The Cypriotic Breakfast chosen by one member of the party was plentiful - and a delightful insight into what might be served in the morning if visiting the country itself.

The large rectangular plate was filled with variety; fresh tomatoes, cucumber, salami, a boiled egg, and, her personal favourite - delicious black olives.

Accompanying the bread was a selection of traditional dips. These were tahini, petmez and honey, as explained by our very friendly and attentive waitress.

Not forgetting a chunky piece of candied apricot, which again, without enquiring, would probably keep you guessing, sometimes inappropriately.

The Cypriotic Breakfast was served with candied apricot
The Cypriotic Breakfast was served with candied apricot

Altogether, the dish was a refreshing lunchtime pick, packed with flavour and intrigue - which makes for great table chatter among friends.

The variety also makes it ideal for the sort of diner who hovers hopefully over other people's plates, their eyes screaming the question 'do you want that?'

The Cypriotic Breakfast would be plentiful for most lunchtime diners
The Cypriotic Breakfast would be plentiful for most lunchtime diners

From the perspective of a nut allergy suffer, the desserts were quite disappointing with all of the Baklava containing nuts.

However, a traditional coffee, served with a cube of Turkish delight was a happy compromise.

Turkish coffee, served with a cube of Turkish delight
Turkish coffee, served with a cube of Turkish delight

For the main course, another reporter tried a traditional Cypriot pie called a borek, which was like a pasty with minced beef filling.

The alternative is a cheese filling and that main course proved to be solid and sufficiently filling.

Spinach and feta Pita, a traditional Cypriotic pie
Spinach and feta Pita, a traditional Cypriotic pie

For dessert he had a tolumba, a deep fried doughnut soaked in syrup, which was incredibly sweet and won't be appearing on many New Year diet plans.

For a drink he chose a Turkish coffee - strong and a bit gritty, in the traditional way - in a tiny but concentrated cup with the bonus of a Turkish delight sweet.

He noted that tall people like himself need to take care in one way though: The downstairs toilet, and the staircase and corridor leading to it, have incredibly low ceilings for someone of 6ft or over. So, towering figures, duck or grouse.

Although not listed on the menu, another reporter ordered humous and tzatziki with bread for their lunch.

Humous and Tzatziki dip with bread from Taste of Cyprus
Humous and Tzatziki dip with bread from Taste of Cyprus

The bread was warm and fresh, and the dips were tasty and topped with olives too. We also asked for more bread in order to carry on dipping, which was happily provided.

Unable to provide a list of ingredients for the desserts, baklava was off the menu for one of us, and a fizzy watermelon drink was enjoyed instead.

We had attempted to brave the 'chilli drink' which was listed, but alas they had sold out. Taste buds saved there.

The Turkish tea was a big hit on our table too, with several of us wondering how we could get hold of some for the office.

A Turkish tea
A Turkish tea

Through our research we learnt that Turkey has the highest per capita tea consumption in the world. No wonder when it tastes that good.

After mistakenly reading the sesame paste bake as 'pasta bake' - much to the amusement of his colleagues - one member of our team opted for the lahmacun, a flat bread with minced meat, served with salad.

It was rather dry and desperately needed the tzatziki yogurt dip to add a bit of a flavour, but it was a nice lunch that he wouldn't mind having again.

For dessert, the baklava was incredibly filling, with a little too much syrup put on one piece of filo pastry.

Mixed grills and refillable coffees at Wetherspoon are more his thing but he said it was nice to try something different.

The cafe offers a range of Baklava
The cafe offers a range of Baklava

The café has an attractive exterior with plenty of tables on the outside terrace, ideal for the summertime. But being winter, we wisely chose to cower indoors.

Inside, the venue is small and intimate and we had swift, enthusiastic and helpful service.

The decor looked Cypriot enough for our untrained eyes, while even the entertainment was authentically eastern Mediterranean.

The cafe played a music TV channel going by the name Kral Pop, which featured a Turkish flag in the top right corner of the screen along with what looked very much like a picture of President Erdogan.

Presumably the president had given his advanced blessing to the relentlessly cheery and uptempo dance numbers which accompanied our lunch (at a mercifully low volume).

Group photo of the reporters visiting Taste of Cyprus
Group photo of the reporters visiting Taste of Cyprus

Looking out on the boarded-up John Wallis pub, it's clear the Taste of Cyprus doesn't boast Ashford's best view.

But there's nothing the very friendly staff can do about that and, inside, the former Hunters Estate Agents site has been turned into a neat cafe, complemented by an ornate balcony that has to be one of the town centre's finest little details.

It's well worth giving it a try if you're after something different for lunch. And the emphasis on pies and pastries means you don't need the Cypriot weather to enjoy it during the English winter.

Food: **** A slightly baffling but tasty selection, which makes more sense after asking a few questions.

Drink: *** Turkish tea and watermelon drink a big hit, Turkish coffee an acquired taste.

Decor: *** Mainly plain walls, apart from the 'archive' black and white photo of the building propped up at the end of our table (awaiting hanging, presumably).

Staff: ***** Friendly, helpful and accommodating to a table of people who had clearly never eaten in Cyprus before.

Price: *** Pretty good. Lunch worked out less than £10 a head with lunch, drinks and dessert.

For more reviews on places to eat in Kent, click here

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More