Right next to the Ledras barricade and crossing point to the ‘Turkish side of the city’, there’s a little cafe bringing some of the most traditional flavours of Greece to Cyprus, Giagia (Grandma) Victoria.
Its beautiful yard is literally right next to the barrels and barbed wire. Fascinating and deeply sad if you are Cypriot or know about Cypriot history.
We made it there on a sunny New Year’s eve, the city centre bursting with music, traditional New Year carols (καλαντα Πρωτοχρονιας) and delicious smells as people in the shops took out their foukou (BBQ), put the meat on the large skewers and waited for their souvla (large pieces of meat cooked on a long skewer over a charcoal barbecue, a Cypriot, largest version of souvlaki), Cyprus national dish, to be grilled. God we love our food in Cyprus and any occasion to make souvla, we take.
The cafe itself looks amazing, with vintage decor, as if it came out of a 50’s Greek movie. It’s known for serving traditional ‘Politika’ (Constantinople) and other treats. There’s something so nostalgic about it I can’t explain.
The food on offer: delicious.
Freshly made bougatsa (Greek breakfast/snack pastry) and pita (pastries not pita bread) with savoury (spinach, cheese, chicken) and sweet fillings (the traditional and infamous sweet and full of cream), other Greek traditional pastries such as tsoureki (sweet bread) and kourou (mini pies) and desserts, many, many desserts from simple cakes to complex chocolate puddings.
We went for spanakopita (spinach filled pastry), kotopita (chicken), tiropita (cheese) and the traditional mpougatsa me krema (sweet cream).
The coffee (Ι went for a Cypriot traditional one and co-incidentally they served the brand my dad has worked for over 30 years, Kafes tou Laikou) is served in the traditional briki (coffee pot) enhancing the already authentic experience.
The service is quick and friendly and the prices, very reasonable for what’s on offer.
Just before we left we got some puddings to have at home. Dessert heaven.
No wonder Paul Hollywood visited a while ago and the owner showed him how he made his delicious treats. How on earth he flips that fylo without breaking? Magic!
If I lived back home, I’d be there every day.
PS Thank you to my little sister Anna for some of the wonderful pictures.