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Restaurant Review: Atelier, Nicosia

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“By Alexander McCowan, Cyprusmail

We arrive early evening two days after the opening and there was none of the evidence of the premature start; all was calm and orderly. Sensibly spaced tables, comfortable chairs, menu nailed to the wall; the whole card amounts to 14 entries. A cursory examination reveals a couple of stunners I have never seen on a Nicosia menu before: marrow bones on the starter and braised beef cheeks on the main card.

The wine list is even more surprising; it contains only French wines from obscure small wineries and something specially for me: the wines of Languedoc Roussillon, the traditional seat of French rebellion: remember the Cathars? My sister lived in the heart of the region and we did some serious damage to their products. Montpelier was the home of Jules Planchon, who established the phylloxera resistant vines. Back in the sixties the wine was mostly red, cheap and rough, and was drawn from the barrel or the litre sized plastic bottles.

Everything has improved since then and it still remains the best value for money in France; Atelier sells four reds the most expensive at €22. Bring on Jeff Carrel pinot noir.

While we peruse the menu the waiter places a basket of hot fresh bread and a pot of hot blue cheese garnished with radishes. The starter list offers Perfect Egg with Seared Mushrooms; Full Bodied Marrow Beef Bones; Soup of the Day; and Parmesan Crème Brulee with tomato and basil. From this we select the bones for me and the crème brulee for the companion. The main section has six offerings: locally Smoked Trout; Steak Tartare; Lamb Crumble; Braised Beef Cheeks; Roast Sea Bass; and Roast Chicken. All dishes accompanied with special sauces. Beef cheeks for me and crumble for madam the companion.

The wine arrives as close to chambre as possible on a chilly night in Nicosia. Good choice. The bones cut horizontaly and ripe with steaming hot marrow with a drizzle of sauce beside are redolent of war-time childhood when offal reigned. The companion claims her dish is delicious. My cheeks are delivered with a small bowl of buttered carrots, and are perfectly braised, I could have eaten them with a spoon.

Lamb crumble not only contains slivers of lamb, probably shank, but kidneys and tomatoes and aubergine. Both meals could not be faulted. The chef has an extremely light touch; bravo.

From the sweet list we select a Rice Pudding with Salted Butter Caramel that comes in a drizzle pot and I can’t resist the Paris Brest. The pudding was cooked French style, al dente, not creamy as in the Italian method with which my companion is familiar, and my choux pastry was a little to much on the chew side, but after such a superb meal it seems churlish to mention it. It is one of the most enjoyable culinary evenings I can remember.

Yani, the proprietor, is half French and hails from Montpelier, and his chef is Parisien, and I hope they stay. This place will become the ‘talk of the town’ and richly deserves it. Booking is essential as they have only 60 covers. Plenty of car parks in the area.

VITAL STATISTICS
SPECIALTY French cuisine
WHERE Archangel Michael 3, old town Nicosia (site of the late Casa Vieja)
CONTACT 22 262369
PRICE Very reasonable”

Edy A – 30th of December 2016 – TripAdvisor

“Exquisite – unique combination of choices

We’ve visited this gem many times already and have remained with a fondness for both the remaining unchanged high level of haute cuisine and service.
In the heart of the old town this restaurant is a splendid example of how cuisine meets high standards, and with the guarantee that everything is fresh and made on the spot from start, you’ll have to be sure to dine earlier than later as some dishes may not be available at the later evening, as is in French brasseries…

A mix of Mediterranean French and local taste with freshly prepared dishes for all tastes except for vegans, be prepared to wait a short while, as this is not the place to rush in and out of. The menu is limited to 7-8 mains and 5-6 starters (and excellent desserts…) but what it lacks in numbers it makes up in quality.
What’s more, sofisticated staff are always ready to cater any quirks and requests, and the manager/owner is unobtrusive but efficiently meets all our needs every time. The wines are well chosen (be prepared to take a bottle, French style… (Wine by the glass is limited to one or possibly two choices) and the cocktails really superb (and less priced than anywhere else in finer restaurants).
Pricewise it varies depending on one’s choices, but generally it’s average to high. Not to put a dent in it though, so is the clientèle. It’s a haven away from the quotidian local standards for any type of social meet.

Finally, the environment, a restaurant-gallery of very nicely chosen few pieces of fine art changing periodically, amidst a sandstone walled house with inner courtyard in the summer.
The consequentially timeless inner city with its multi layered cultural history, in the face of an aesthetically graceful renovated old house.”

L’ atelier: Ένα φινετσάτο εργαστήριο γεύσης

Η νέα άφιξη στη Λευκωσία μας αρέσει πολύ

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Ένα παλιό αρχοντικό του περασμένου αιώνα το οποίο βρίσκεται σε ένα στενό δρομάκι της Παλιάς Λευκωσίας, μεταμορφώθηκε σε ένα ατμοσφαιρικό εστιατόριο με το γαλλικό όνομα Atelier. Όπως προδίδει, το όνομά του πρόκειται για ένα γαλλικής γαστρονομίας και φιλοσοφίας “εργαστήριο”, με επιρροές από τη διεθνή κουζίνα, που συγκεντρώνει πολλά από τα χαρακτηριστικά των παριζιάνικων bistro και των μικρών ρεστοράν της Κεντρικής Ευρώπης.

Ο εσωτερικός χώρος αποπνέει ζεστασιά ενώ ένα ντιζαϊνάτο ξύλινο μπαρ με ιδιαίτερό φωτισμό θα σου φτιάξει αγαπημένα ποτά. Οι πέτρινοι τοίχοι του, τα ξύλινα τραπεζάκια, οι ντιζαϊνάτες, μεταλλικές καρέκλες και η αύρα του χώρου μας χαλάρωσαν και μας επιβεβαίωσαν για την επιλογή μας. Αν ψάξεις για μενού εδώ δεν θα το βρεις αφού το Atelier είναι ένα εργαστήριο, χρήσης και παρασκευής αποκλειστικά φρέσκων προϊόντων για τις συνταγές τα οποία δεν θα μπουν ποτέ στην κατάψυξη αφού στην κουζίνα του δεν υπάρχει τέτοια. Ένας μαυροπίνακας κρεμασμένος στον πέτρινο τοίχο είχε γραμμένα με κιμωλία τα πιάτα της ημέρας. Το μενού αλλάζει διαρκώς και βασίζεται στα φρέσκα υλικά της ημέρα και τα κέφια του Γάλλου σεφ του.

Για αρχή επιλέξαμε σαλάτα με σπανάκι, ντοματίνια, με σωστά ψημένη πάπια και vinaigrette (€6) μαζί με ένα υπέροχο parmesan crème brule με λαχταριστή κρούστα, ντομάτα και βασιλικό (€6). Για ποτό δεν προτιμήσαμε ένα από τα γαλλικά κρασιά του αλλά επιλέξαμε κάποιο από τα signature cocktail του. Ξεχωρίσαμε το Gin Swizzle που περιέχει Bombay gin, fresh lime και homemade σιρόπι κανέλας. Τα κυρίως πιάτα ήταν αποκάλυψη. Φάγαμε ψητό λαβράκι με σος από βότανα, μοσχαράκι κοκκινιστό με καρότα και υπέροχο κοτόπουλο (€15) βουτηγμένο στη δική του λαχταριστή σάλτσα.

Το τέλος ήταν ακόμα πιο συναρπαστικό με τρία επιδόρπια να κλείνουν την βραδιά μας. Δοκιμάσαμε ρυζόγαλο σερβιρισμένο με αλμυρή καραμέλα και κρέμα από τυρί μασκαρπόνε με καραμελωμένα χαλεπιανά. Εκείνο, όμως, που έκλεψε τις εντυπώσεις μας ήταν το παριζιάνικο γλυκό με το όνομα “The Paris brest” το οποίο αν και μοιάζει με εκλέρ είναι δέκα φορές καλύτερο.

Costa Constanti – 1st of September 2016 – Facebook

“The sandstone walls and period tiled floor that welcome you to dine in an atmosphere of yesteryear are perfect. We had gnocchi and savoury creme brule entree, roast piglet and seared sea bream for main and a cocktail for a drink. Just beautiful. The pork was fresh and flavoured with the perfect amount of herbs and garlic. The sea bream was boneless and easy on the palate. The creme brule was definitely something very pleasantly different with parmesan the dominant flavour rather than the traditional sweet caramel. A lovely venue for a fancy or special dinner.”

The Insider Pick of Romantic Restaurants for the Perfect Date Night in Cyprus

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Bringing a whole new approach to food and wine to the capital, Atelier has quickly made a name for itself as one of the top French restaurants in the city. The stunning old traditional house that this chic little eatery is housed in makes for a very cosy, romantic and stylish surroundings and al fresco dining in the little garden at the back is simply perfect for enjoying the heady autumn nights.

The Chef has worked in many a Michelin starred restaurant and brings his knowledge of refined French cuisine and fine wines to the menu which will surely refuel that flame of romance.

Graham Colville – March 4, 2017 – Facebook

“I had a delicious meal of bone marrow followed by roast piglet, both accompanied by glasses of the house red, which I found excellent with this food on a slightly chilly March evening (the temperature inside was just right, as were lighting, music and service). I look forward to returning with friends to sample other wines, including the champagne. They are clearly chosen with great care and are good value.”

Azar Finy -November 3, 2017 – Facebook

“La cuisine Française au coeur de la vieille ville de Nicosie. Un restaurant magnifique, excellente cuisine, Une ambiance chaleureuse en même temps discret. Très bon choix de vin et n’ oubliez surtout pas le dessert. Nous avons été plusieurs fois et nous avons adoré l’accueil et l’ambiance. Nous recommandons vivement ce joli restaurant.”

Demis Markides -November 12, 2017 – Facebook

“It’s the most complete restaurant that I have ever been in Cyprus!!!! Excellent food, rare bottles of pure French wine, amazing staff!!!”

Christiana Leontiou – January 21 2018 – Facebook

“Loved this restaurant, great food & choices of rare bottles of French wine. Cozy environment, wonderful atmosphere (adore this old house), & so nice staff.”

Elena Golikova – November 15, 2016 – Facebook

“Still feel delighted by eating out at the Atelier one summer night. Everything was just great starting from welcoming charming smile and a cocktail offered. Luxury and at the same time relaxing garden is ideal place for summertime dinners … but what i like the most about the place and its food – whatever is served it comes with a special touch. the place not to be missed!”

Saskia Apollon Constantinou -May 24, 2017 – Facebook

 “There is something special about the ambience created in this magical place..from the first welcome to the service and of course the best food and wine lovingly prepared for each guest.”

Charoulla Neocleous -February 10, 2018 – Facebook

“Wow what can I say? Great service amazing food and atmosphere. Atelier is a little gem hidden in old Nicosia but so worth a visit!”